If you are not a blogger then you may find this post tedious. Sorry, normal service will resume tomorrow.
I’m a perfectionist.
There you go, I said it.
You might not believe that of me. You might have noticed the odd errant apostrophe so you might say that I can hardly claim to be a perfectionist. But I am.
When I started out in my teaching career I was determined to be the best. In my second year of teaching I was made Head of Department. I was now responsible for managing a disillusioned department, for analysing GCSE results, for writing department improvement plans and an endless list of other tasks and responsibilities. In my second year of teaching with no help or support, I burnt out.
Being a perfectionist can be a bugger.
I ignore my body. I ignore it when it is screaming for me to slow down, to sleep, to look after myself. I ignore it because I have to carry on, I have to do well. I want to be perfect. However, I got fed-up of the endless cycle of trying to do it all. Trying to be perfect can be exhausting. I walked away from my career because I realised that I couldn’t be the perfect teacher and mother.
What does perfectionism mean for our blogs?
It means that recently I have become frustrated. I found myself in the cycle again of trying to be perfect. Life is too short to be perfect. When I started this blog I just wanted to write. I needed to write. Then I started learning about SEO, DA and monetization. Then I started earning money from my blog and I had to register as self-employed. For some people this then means that blogging can become serious, it’s not fun anymore. We all need to remember why we started our blog. Blogging should never be a chore. We also need to ensure that we are happy with what we are putting on our blog.
When you are blogging you have to let go of being a perfectionist. It can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t get a plug-in to work, or your theme has a glitch. Blogging is a steep learning curve. If we are not careful we can find ourselves chasing the impossible. Our blog could always look better, our posts could always be written better and our stats could always be more. We need to let it go. We can always look to improve but we shouldn’t aim for the impossible. We will never be perfect.
“One who makes no mistakes makes nothing.” – Giacomo Casanova
Being ranked and being a perfectionist
Now the perfectionist in me used to care a great deal about my rankings. I was in the top 100 for Hibs100 and hovering just outside the 250 for Tots100. There are 8,000 plus blogs in the Tots100 chart so to get to just outside 250 is pretty good going. I do like the charts for finding new blogs and I believe that they can be a useful measure of how well a blog is doing. However, I have also come to realise that being in the top 100 isn’t the be all and end all. Perhaps if I were someone who was relying on my blog to earn money I would feel differently.
I have the utmost respect for everyone in the top 100 of the charts because I realise just how much work goes into hitting that top 100. You have to think about DA, Instagram, Twitter, Klout, links, page views etc. I am sure I have missed something out there. What I have also realised is that being in the top 100 isn’t just a reflection of your writing; I’m not sure how I feel about that. A part of me can see that this is absolutely right. How can we measure and rank a blog on writing alone? Writing is very subjective, what someone thinks is good another person will think is rubbish. Also, blogging has evolved; it’s now not just about your blog, you have to be all over social media. You have to be the Jack of all trades now. However, that niggles too. I wonder if this means that we are in danger of becoming the master of none.
Blogger’s black cloud
You see that blogger’s black cloud hovers over me and I wonder if I am now spreading myself too thinly, trying to do it all again. Due to Tots100 and Hibs100 changing I have been locked out of both charts and as a result I am currently unranked. It has been strangely liberating. I haven’t checked my page views once.* I’m now just writing for the pleasure of writing, just like when I started back in January. I need to go back to that. While the charts are useful we also need to remember that we are more than just a number. Tim from Slouching Thatcham wrote a really interesting piece about Tots100 and why he is leaving the charts. It is well worth a read. I am still very much torn and, for now, if I can get back in I will be remaining in the charts. However, it is important to remember that they don’t reflect the whole picture. Aiming to be the so called perfect number 1 is a waste of time. Instead we should concentrate on producing good content and then the stats and hopefully the rankings will follow.
Being perfect is over-rated
What I have come to realise is that every blogger out there has a little bit of that black cloud where we feel torn by blogging or overwhelmed by trying to do it all. It seems that blogging has become very focussed on making money and, as a result, I am now seeing that it can be incredibly competitive. Before I joined Facebook I was completely unaware of just how competitive it was. That is the crux of it, with all this social media at our finger-tips we now know a lot more, too much. We realise that being perfect in the blogging world isn’t just about our writing. It is impossible to be perfect in the blogging world. My perfection bubble has been well and truly popped.
We need to remember
I know that there is no such thing as being perfect. No one is perfect. Not even the bloggers in the top 100, not even the lifestyle bloggers on Instagram who seems to have the dream life. We shouldn’t exhaust ourselves by trying to do it all. Perfection is also boring. Sometimes there will be typos: sometimes a paragraph could flow better. That’s ok. We are only human. It is these imperfections that make us human.
We need to remember why we started blogging. We should focus on how for many of us blogging has given us the freedom to work from home, how for some of us blogging has helped us out of a dark place, we should remember how blogging has connected us. We need to remember what makes blogging brilliant.
Blogging is about the writing. The rest is just noise.
*I checked how one post was doing on Sunday. However, I still don’t have a clue how my blog has done overall this month. FREEDOM 😉 *