I’ve been trying to write a post, just any post for the last week (read: month). I sit down at my desk, stare at my screen, shut the lid, walk away and repeat. I’m stuck in the ‘check-the-fridge-incase-something-tasty-appears’ phase, that I know ohhhh so well.
I’ll be honest, I never knew what I wanted to be when it came to being a blogger. I didn’t know many bloggers when I did start and didn’t plan on ever becoming one myself – it just sort of happened. Blogging gave me this voice when nowhere else was able too. It gave me a place to be able to grow, be creative and learn on my own terms and I quickly fell in love with everything about it. From the ability to control every aspect and build something from nothing to the community you became a part of. It helped me out of some very sticky situations and helped me create even sticker ones, but I never thought, after four years of blogging I would still feel like an outsider. I feel like I’m just starting out and the years of experience I have mean nothing – I almost feel like I’m an imposter just trying to tip-toe my way around the elusive blogging world without making waves in fear of being caught out for the fraud that I am.
Ironically as I’m writing this, unsure if I’m ever going to post it, a friend messages me asking for advice on starting her own blog, something, again, I’m oh so familiar with. I guess I have gotten so good at hiding behind my own blog that I’m able to fool the world into thinking I have this blogger thing nailed down… confession: I really don’t.
It’s hard. Everyone wants their blog to be successful, and every bodies success means something different. For some it means working with big well-known brands and travelling the world, others it means making the difference to one person or hitting publish on something they would never dream of doing. Regardless of the situation and the person’s motivation, no-one ever sets out to be average and blogging is no different.
In a world where we are told ‘to do you boo’; where we are finally able to showcase who we are, it’s almost disrespectful to not use that to ‘brand ourselves’ and show that to our advantage, especially when it comes to something as personable and creative as blogging. And I have finally worked out that that is where my imposter syndrome stems from. I’m unable to fit neatly into a niche and this unstable and constant jumping in and out of pools has created an unsteady and slippery foundation for my blog to grow upon. The struggle surrounding the ability to showcase who I am and find my own space in the world is so difficult because I am so many different people. I was so fortunate to have grown up with this wonderful freeing ability to highlight and explore different personalities and likes with my finger dipped into different buckets, in order to shape and mould who I am as a person. But the problem for me is I like so many of my different identities that I’m unable to hone down which one is now the ‘real me’ and the one I want to share with the online world and that is exactly why I feel like an imblogster. I can’t just be a food blogger or just discuss my fitness faux pas – I’m a multitude of different likes and interests, and although the blogging community tries to deem itself ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘opening to all’ it’s still decades behind where it says it should be and the category for ‘just being you’ just doesn’t exist. It’s why Instagram created ‘filters’ and Facebook has ‘a wall’ – because after you have created this ‘perfect’ version of yourself online, you need something to hide behind – so no-one can see the ‘real you’.
So in order to not fail, because I knew I couldn’t fit in anywhere, I just stopped trying. I just stopped blogging and I just silently crept around the blog world with my branded face on hoping no one would see through my facade. Has anyone else experienced this? How did you get past it?
Speaking online through different channels about this topic the majority of people I spoke to said we read what we read because we like the author; the tone and language they use; the stories and poetry they create but that doesn’t mean we read every single article they produce. It, of course, depends on the subject they are discussing, right? Because you wouldn’t go to a butcher for hair removal tips or a doctor for the best pancake recipe – and this is where my problem gets messy. Blogging is such a versatile and innovative form of expression, information, expertise and knowledge – there are no rules or job specification for it. Blogging started as a means for real-life, honesty-led commentary on a wide variety of points, but slowly has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry-driven profession, and with it, comes the realistically negative side of any ‘career’ – the fear and doubt of not progressing rather than the creative outlet and relief it once gave. So, why should a reader come to me rather than a Jamie Oliver cookbook if the latest post that pops up is discussing the time I farted during a yoga class? Or should I be allowed to discuss my crazy new love for a Becca highlighter when my last five posts have been about vegan desserts?
Creating a consistent brand in any industry, blogging included is not only key to growth but also arguably paramount to the level of success – but my life has never and will never be consistent, so the question I want to ask both you as my reader and friend and myself is this… Does the final outcome of my blog ride on whether I stop doing what I know and love and define my brand on something more solid than just my life in order to succeed?!