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A Remedy for Blogger Inferiority Complex

Yesterday I wrote about the problem of blogger inferiority complex and how often as bloggers we can limit our potential by defining ourselves negatively.

Today I want to get a little more constructive and suggest a remedy for this common problem. In doing so I want to help those of us who struggle with a negative self view to make a mind-shift in our thinking.

How do you become more positive in the way that you think about yourself and your blog?

Today I want to suggest two starting points in tackling this problem. Tomorrow I’ll wrap up this mini-series with a third.

1. Identify What You Have:

Identify-What-You-Have.jpg There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be something that you’re not, learn something that you don’t know or achieve something that you’ve not achieved before – however sometimes when we’re focusing upon what we don’t have we lose sight of the very thing that could be the key to us going to the next level – what we do have.

When I was in my late teens and early 20′s I spent a lot of time worrying about what I didn’t have and comparing myself to others. As I look back on the way that I lived my life at this time I realized that the motivation for many of the things that I did was that I wanted to be like someone else. The result was a complete mess. I ended up spending so much of my time aspiring to be or have something that those around me were or had that I stopped being Darren.

The realization that I came to was that defining myself by what I didn’t have or by what someone else was wasn’t working. What I did find that worked however was defining myself by who actually was and starting with what I already had.

I went through a process with a small group of friends of rediscovering myself, learning what my strengths were, identifying my passions, reflecting upon the experiences that I had had and looking at what I’d learned. I found that as I began to focus more upon these positive things that I became more positive.

As bloggers I think that many of us need to make this same mind-shift and focus less upon what we don’t have and more upon what we do – and then to build from there.

Are You Focusing More Upon What You’re Not than What You Are as a Blogger?

Firstly, let me say that you’re not alone.

Secondly let me suggest a series of questions that you might like to set aside some time to reflect upon to help you rediscover who you are as a blogger:

1. What has Worked On Your Blog? – Sometimes the key to your success is something that you’ve already done that had a spark of energy to it but which still needs a little more work. Look back over the blog posts that you’ve written and identify those that ‘worked’. It might be those that got linked to by another blog or two, it might be a post that got a few extra comments or it could be something that you enjoyed more than other posts even if no one else noticed. Once you’ve identified some of these posts ask yourself why they worked. Is there a common theme or some identifiable lessons that you can learn that you might emulate again?

2. What do you know about? – A great way to answer this one is to think about the questions that people ask you and seek advice from you on. What knowledge and expertise have you gathered in your life so far?

3. What things do you love to talk about? – What topic do your conversations always turn to? Not sure? Ask a close friend what they think your ‘pet topic’ is. What do conversations keep coming back to you no matter how hard they try to change the topic? These topics are obviously things that you have some passion for – perhaps they are what you should be blogging about.

4. What formative experiences have you had? – Often the things that make us most interesting are the things we’ve done in our past. The places you’ve been, the jobs you’ve had, the study that you’ve done, the people that you’ve met etc. Don’t just think about the positive experiences but some of the hard ones too because sometimes it’s through the most painful times of life that we discover purpose and learn lessons that shape our future.

5. Who do you know? – Don’t focus upon the bloggers you don’t know – start with those you do. What have you studied formally? What have you read about? What have you gathered knowledge on in your work, recreation, friendship groups?

6. What readers do you have? – it’s easy to focus upon the thousands of readers that you don’t have, but what about those that you do? Even if you only have 3 and one of them is your Mother – you’ve got people logging into your blog every day to read what you have to say! Not only that, they each have a network of relationships that they could potentially tell about your blog.

7. What problems do you have? What problems have you overcome? – one of the most powerful things that you can do as a blogger is to help people solve problems. The problems that you are best equipped to solve are those that you have had (or have) that you’re overcoming for yourself.

8. What have you achieved? – achievements are not everything but they can certainly be helpful when you’re blogging because you can draw upon them or the lessons you learned in them in your writing. Don’t just focus on the big achievements either – sometimes the small things we’ve done are most important.

9. What sets you apart? – sometimes we focus upon our differences as negatives – but how could they be used for your own good? We operate in a medium where there are millions of others competing for attention – being different is good. It might be how you look, it might be how you live your life, it could be where you live or some other aspect of your life that you’ve been getting down on yourself about. How can you ‘flip it’ to your advantage?

10. What type of personality do you have? – you are wired a certain way – so identify how that is and learn to work to it’s strengths. If you’re a quiet, introverted and reflective person, let your blogging reflect this with posts that are a little more reflective and thoughtful. If you’re loud, brash and opinionated – go with that too! If you can make people laugh – do that in your blogging! Don’t try to be someone that you’re not – start with who you are.

11. What Resources do you have? – what do you have at your disposal that you can use in your blogging? I started out blogging on a 10 year old PC that crashed after 30 minutes of running and dial-up internet connection… and that’s a lot more than many bloggers have. I know bloggers who would answer this question with the answer that they have a membership in a local library that gives them 30 minutes internet connection every weekday. Rather than looking at what you don’t have in terms of tools and resources – start with what you do have and build from there. It might be a computer, internet connection, video or digital camera, a MP3 recorder… or it could be friendship with people who do.

Identifying some of the things that you DO have can be an uplifting experience. While we might be naturally drawn to answer the above questions with negativity – force yourself to look at the positives for a little bit and make a list of what you have. But it doesn’t end there….

2. Build upon what you have

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Identifying what you do have is a very worthwhile exercise – but it’s not enough if you want to grow to your potential.

The key to the lives of many successful people that I’ve met is that they take what they do have (as meager as that may be) and turn it into something worthwhile by building it.

  • It might be taking a simple skill and doing it until they’re blue in the face
  • It might be taking a passion and hunch and following it to see where it leads
  • It might be taking a simple resource and using it for all it’s worth

For me as a blogger is was like this:

I started out with:

  • a dodgy computer and dialup internet access
  • an interest and a little knowledge in photography (I’d studied it as a 16 year old for a semester)
  • some spare time in the evenings when I wasn’t working one of my 3 part time jobs or studying
  • a little experience in communicating
  • half a degree in Marketing (I quit half way – my only other training was in Theology)
  • a little experience of blogging on a personal blog

I took that muddled collection of things and began to blog about digital cameras. I made a lot of mistakes but I became more and more determined to take what I did have and to build upon it. As a result things began to grow.

The Story Continues – But First…. Some Homework

As I said above – tomorrow I’m going to finish this series with one more tip for overcoming Blogger Inferiority Complex. I was going to include it in this post but I think that before getting to the last suggestion it’d be well worth pondering the first two steps.

While you wait for the last part in the series take a little time out today to work through them – particularly the series of 11 questions that I suggested and pondering how you can build on them. I’d love to hear what you discover!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Samsara says:

    “There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be something that you’re not, learn something that you don’t know or achieve something that you’ve not achieved before – however sometimes when we’re focusing upon what we don’t have we lose sight of the very thing that could be the key to us going to the next level – what we do have.”

    Well that it just beautifully stated!

    When I first started writing, I started out on a popular subdomain blog hosting platform and then moved it to my own subdomain. =p

    I did this because I had not gotten comfortable with “all eyes on me.” I did not want a domain because I still have problems with *being looked at* but wanted to share what I had learned and continue to learn with the world.

    My students and clients – one on one – I am flawless. [This is my strength.] But knowing that many people – and an unfaced and unnamed *audience* at that and on the big world wide web just seemed too much so I *hid* behind my subdomain.

    Silly I know.

    Well. I secured a domain last year and have been threatening to move my sub to it. Thanks to your article, this is going to be my goal this week! This will be my *overcoming my fear* and just doing it.

    Thank you for your inspiration Darren.

    What’s the worse that can happen? [Yes, "physician heal thyself" to be sure!]

    -Samsara

  2. In my opinion the biggest factor for blogger’s inferiority complex is low income from the blog. It de-motivates the blogger to write new articles.

  3. sikantis says:

    Great post! It’s always better to write and think about the positive side. I’d say, identify yourself always with yourself, your inner, not with your actions or your body. Your self-esteem is leading you to bring esteem also to the others.

  4. Sangeeth says:

    Thanks darren, it really does help. Sometimes I too feel the same way and go to the verge of quitting but then I come back with hope….It happens and it is a great topic to a lot of bloggers out there like me.

  5. I started a blog about a year ago with the reader in mind- then I hated it. I abandoned it- resumed it- abandoned it- monetized it- resumed it- and finally abandoned it once and for all- now I just revisit it to harvest what I liked about it. It’s a learning experience.

    Now I write for myself on an unrelated blog and I really don’t worry about the reader as in “writing for them.” The only things that cross my mind regarding the reader is making sure I am not offensive, making my self accesible and not just a “site”, and participating in visitors blogs as well. Other then that- the blog I am currently working on is prety much written for me- not for critical acclaim or a big old technorati rating and I really do enjoy it so much more.

  6. Moopiechops says:

    Great information here. I’ve struggled a lot with “thats not good enough, no one will want to read it” this is probably true for some of the stuff i write, but not all, and it is about the long run, its about the big picture. I believe that i might not have a perfect portfolio of posts now, but in a year or two i will look back and see that what i have is something i can be proud of- and to undue all the above confidence i will end with – I hope….

  7. E says:

    Insightful, humorous and real. i liked this post. i think there is a lot of truth in what you are saying and I like how you kept it real about your own “humble beginnings” as a blogger :)

  8. hmm good article but i do not agree with all the things there. Overall good article.

  9. Lisa says:

    I had no idea blogging was such a serious topic. Here I have been bumming along with mine for a little over a year really with no real thought to it, let alone inferiority complex over it!

    There are some great tips here and at the other pages of your blog I have visited so far that I will take away.

    Thanks

  10. These are great tips. As a first time reader, this is the best blog.

  11. Melanie K says:

    I’ve been through this and I’ve only been blogging for two months: “my layout is a Blogger template, it looks like a thousand others…” my topics are too narrow”…”there are no comments…is anyone out there?” …”OMG I’m not using any of the top 3000 search words in Technocrati!!” (still can’t figure out how to fit the words ‘big booty’ into my site and make it sound normal….)

    But I’ve become philosphical about it – and Darren’s point about using your life experience is a good one – that is what my blog is based on and it really helps me to reflect and think about about things I’ve done and read and people I’ve talked to. It also makes me think about my own goals.

    If others relate to it, then that’s a bonus!

  12. Neeraj Jha says:

    Good one, Darren!

    The whole idea is look inside rather than outside…

    Keep writing

    Cheers!

    Neeraj

  13. This is a great post for a new blogger like me. Thanks for the insights.

  14. nancy says:

    I know I often feel this way, but I’ll try to focus on the positive and build on that from now on. Thanks for the article!

  15. I agree with many of you who say that it’s only contributing to the blogger inferiority complex when you compare your young blog to bigger, more established blogs.

    What I’ve done to this point is focus on my blog, and not obsessing over others’ blogs. If I focus on my daily processes I don’t even have time to worry about other blogs(always on the periphery, however).