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A Secret to Sustain Yourself as a Blogger

Today I want to talk about an issue may seem more suited to a ‘self help’ blog than a blog about blogging – but it’s something that I think is pretty important you want to be a successful blogger. It’s something that is so important that it can make or break you.

Sustainable-Blogging
Image by *nathan

However – while it’s crucial to sustaining successful blogs for the long haul – it’s got very little to do with blogging itself.

It’s got nothing to do with writing good content, nothing to do with building readers to your blog, nothing to do with SEO, ad optimization, social media or anything like that.

It has nothing to do with any of that and everything to do with a very personal part of you.

Let me explore it with a question:

Where do you get your personal worth from?

OK – some of you have your cursors hovering over the ‘back’ button in your browser – “this is not going to help me make my blog better” you might be thinking…. but humor me for a moment or two because what I’m exploring here is the reason that I see many bloggers give up blogging.

Let me flesh out the question with a couple more:

  • What makes you feel worthwhile – or not worthwhile?
  • When do you feel like who you are and what you do matters (and doesn’t matter)?

Here’s the thing. When I talk to people about when they feel ‘worthwhile’ or when they feel that they ‘matter’ they generally answer with one of two things.

‘When I achieve something’ or ‘when someone tells me that I am good’.

If you want to put it as an equation:

Personal Worth = What You Achieve + What Others Think of You

ie – we feel like we’re worth something when we do good things and others praise us and we feel worthless when we fail and when others tell us we’re no good.

This is an equation that most of us live by. In fact it’s an equation that we’re bombarded with day in day out through our lives. We see those who achieve and who are praised glorified on TV and are taught from a young age to aspire to be like them. We’re also taught to avoid failure and the ridicule of others at all costs.

The equation of personal worth coming from our achievements and what others think of us is something most of us fall back on automatically in most areas of our lives. Education, Relationships, Socially, Career – and for us as bloggers it is how most of us automatically measure ourselves as bloggers.

Unpacking The Equation for Bloggers

Who are the successful bloggers?

Those who are linked to, those who get loads of great comments, those who get so many subscribers that they can’t fit all the numbers on their RSS feed buttons, those who are praised by others, those who make it to the top of all kinds of ranking lists and who win awards. As a result most of us strive for these types of things and when we have success in these areas we feel warm and fuzzy inside and somehow more worthwhile as a blogger – as a person.

The problem with the equation:

The problem with rating our worth in this way (whether it be in our blogging or any aspect of our life) is that it’s something that is virtually impossible to live up to – whether our blog is ‘successful’ or not. Lets look at the two areas of the equation again:

Achievement – The issue is that all of us at some point or another fail. We have days where we make a mistake, where the luck doesn’t fall our way, where the actions of someone else means we can’t perform, where things outside of anyone’s control mean that it all comes crashing down. There are times in all of our lives when we can’t achieve. As bloggers many of us are familiar with the ‘failures’. If our personal worth is tied to what we do or don’t achieve then we’re going to be set for a roller-coaster of a ride.

The Opinion of Others – Again, as bloggers, most of us know that the opinions of others are always going to be mixed. Other bloggers, readers, writers from other types of media and others don’t really hold back on their opinion of bloggers and while what they see can at times be incredibly positive and uplifting – they can be equally devastating and hurtful. Also for many bloggers the opinions of others are simply absent. As a blogger starting out seeing the ‘comments (0)’ at the bottom of every post can be debilitating. Once again, if our personal worth is tied to the words of others about us then we’re setting ourselves up for a lot of highs and lows.

When I chat to bloggers that tell me that they are finished with blogging they almost always quietly tell me that they are quitting because of a reason that fits with one of the above areas. Feelings of failure, hurt at the critique of others, disappointment at their abilities, the fact that no-one ever responded or that they felt ignored…..

It’s a familiar story for me also.

When I started blogging on a more serious level 3-4 years ago I began to notice that I had real mood swings that seemed to be tied to how my blogs were going. I remember in the lead up to Christmas 2004 when traffic to my biggest blog at the time almost completely disappeared as a result of Google reshuffling it’s index. The week that followed that event took me to a very low place and very close to quitting my blogging (I even went out and go myself a ‘real job’. Correspondingly when the traffic returned 6-7 weeks later the ‘high’ that I was on was higher than I’d felt in a long time.

I realized around this time that I was on a roller coaster ride and that it wasn’t really healthy or sustainable for me – either as a blogger of as a human being.

True Personal Worth

The lesson that I continually come back to (and I need to learn and relearn it) is to remember that my worth is not determined by what I do or what others think of me. This isn’t a good place to measure my worth as a blogger or as a human being. Self worth comes from something much deeper that those things and while we’re constantly tempted to judge ourselves this way the reality is that my worth as human beings goes beyond my RSS counter, comment numbers, number of appearances on Digg, Technorati ranking, number of links from A-listers etc.

For me my personal worth comes from a much deeper place (something that is tied to my spirituality). I’m not sure where it comes from for you (and I’m not about to push my views on anybody) but I think it’s an important area to ponder because the alternative is to find yourself on the roller coaster of the achievement/opinons of others equation.

Are your feelings of worth tied to how your blog is going? Do you struggle with this one as much as I have? I’d love to hear how you’ve dealt with the issue.

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. Well said, Darren!

    I’m don’t use (before, yes) elements like what others think about my blog, or RSS readers as parameters of success, simply because I think that such parameters stand on very weak ground(they can lean either way[good or bad]).

    What is more important is my ability to live up to my expectations. If I can deliver what I’ve aimed to deliver, I can safely call myself successful. If I don’t, doesn’t matter, I’ll try again, till I succeed.

    Also, I look at my habits as a blogger. I don’t think about how many people are linking to me. As long as I continue to link out to them(which I consider a good practice), I’m satisfied.

    You know, I’m a little disappointed too when I see ‘comments(0)’ on a hard-worked-upon post. But I then think I’ve done my part by doing a post justice. End of story. The promotion and comments can come later.

    If the content is good, it’ll attract readership on it’s own; if it’s not, it won’t. Primarily, it’s about the content. It’s the content which determines which face the coin of readership, etc lands on

    So, to summarize, I’ll say my personal worth, as a blogger, comes from the stuff I do (as a blogger). :D

  2. Tink *~*~* says:

    Great post, thank you!

    Blogs are not the only means of externalized sense of self-worth. I used to be a stage performer, and it was an epiphany when I realized that I had been defining my own worth by the 10 seconds of applause after each aria or at the curtain call.

    It takes some work, but everyone can eventually get to the point where they can bask in the glow of external approval but not depend upon it wholly as an indicator of their own value.

    Thanks again –

    Tink *~*~*

  3. Egbert says:

    Julia Allison is a good example!

    She can`t act. She can`t sing. She`s not rich.

    She became famous because people started to dislike her! If she had stopped promoting herself because of being criticized, than she would still be a nobody.

    If you don`t know her…
    http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/magazine/16-08/howto_allison

  4. writer dad says:

    Honestly, I find my self worth in only two places: how my wife feels about me and how children see it. If they’re all smiles, I know I’m on the right track.

  5. HR Minion says:

    Great post, it’s very helpful to a new blogger like me. I’ve only been doing this for 4 months or so but I have noticed the roller coaster of emotions I’ve been experiencing. I agree that I need to step back and not let those emotions control how I treat blogging. This could be applied to life in general too. If your value as a person does not depend on how much others praise you, then your value as a blogger shouldn’t depend on the number of comments you get.

  6. For the most part, my feelings of worth are not tied to how my blog is going. The only time that it becomes an issue is when I’m not invited to or I’m not attending major special events that other mom bloggers are blogging about. Then, I have to remind myself that blogging is just a part of my life NOT my life. That helps me to keep it all in perspective.

  7. Keith says:

    Being a brand new blogger myself, I know exactly what you mean. Aside from the stress of trying to “just figure it all out” on-line …. seeing the low traffic numbers (if any) is kind of disappointing.

    Granted the blog has only been up since Monday and I really don’t expect to see much movement at all for the next several months (which in itself is stressful).

    I think this post was something that I needed though I can’t judge my self-worth based upon numbers, but upon value.

    If the information only helps out 1, 5, or 30k people then the only real important thing is that it helped someone. And that is what means the most to me.

    Thanks for the great post and inspiration!

  8. Dominique says:

    I agree with what you have posted.

    To be focused and providing a unique voice which others can relate to is hard work. To some successful blogging comes easier while others it takes time. ( I fall into the later category)
    No doubt I do feel disappointed at time with the low RSS subscribers and minimal comments but I am certain that things will improve in the months to come.

  9. Natalie says:

    As a writer and a songwriter, I know that I have to dig down inside me to find self worth, as rejections are commonplace in my line of work.

    For songwriters, if self worth was dependent on #1 hits, then 99.99% of songwriters would feel unworthy!

    I’ve been reading Steve Pavlina blog for a year or so and this has helped me a lot figuring out my sense of self worth and purpose in life. While I disagree with him on some points, I found his post “living congruently” was very helpful.

  10. It’s hard not to ride those ups and downs.

    My only major “up” in my blogging career was being listed on Lifehack.com last week as a productivity blog worth visiting. It was totally exciting, yes!

    However, I get so much pleasure when I hear from readers (often in email, not comments) about how much they enjoy my blog. I really love the community of blogging, and that keeps me going as much as anything else.

    I’m hoping to launch another blog this year, and although it will be highly personal, I do hope to make a bit of money there, at least to pay for the hosting, etc. My approach to that blog will be different; I’m planning it as a small business, and I wonder how this will affect my blogging moods!

  11. Ryan says:

    Darren,

    First, wow… great post. Not your traditional stuff, but a really cool breath of fresh air.

    Second, I think this goes back to the beginning days of blogging… remember the days when people argued if you should even put ads on blogs?

    In those days blogging was much more about the medium than making money. Our moods didn’t swing as much when traffic dipped because it wasn’t tied to our wallets. Now days highs and lows are about money.

    This has been a battle that I’ve faced this year as the blog I’ve poured countless hours into has yet to see a day over 300 visitors or break the 125 mark for RSS subscribers… much less actually make any money.

    While I try to learn from sites like problogger and apply what I learn to my blog, the numbers and money have never materialized. When this gets me down I have to ask myself, “if you’ll never make a dime on this blog, will you still write?”

    I always come back with a yes… because I love blogging and I love what my blog is about. I think, if you are blog for any other reason you’re going to have the ups and downs you discussed… but that’s just my 2 cents.

    Thanks again for the great post.

  12. Mike Nichols says:

    This may sound cheesy, but so be it: I had a serious illness several years back from which I’m still recovering. It forced me to look at my concept of self-worth and where it came from. For a long time I could do hardly anything, and I had very little contact with people outside my family. I could no longer depend on what I did and what others thought of me for my self-concept.

    I learned that I had a basic worth as a human being, that who I was depended on myself and the gifts that have been given me, and yes, on my spirituality.

    My blog is my way of giving back to all the people who have helped me through the years. I feel it is my responsibility to write the best posts I can and let the chips fall where they may. I have a lot of posts that have comments (0), but I know that people are reading them from the stats.

    But comments, RSS and all the rest are not important to my sense of self-worth. What is important is that I am discharging my responsibility to the best of my ability on a consistent basis. If I do that, my self-worth is reinforced. When I don’t do that, I retrench and work toward that goal.

    What others think of me and my writing matters to me on some level. But it’s not important to my sense of self-worth. And I’ve found that praise from others gets in the way of doing what I’m really supposed to be doing in life.

    In summation, I believe that self-worth comes from within yourself and from your spirituality. All the “success” in the world, and all the high praise from others cannot change that. If you depend on what you do and what others think of you for your sense of self-worth, then you are building your house on sand.

  13. Wow, what a great uplifting post! Personally, I like positive thinking – self help stuff. My blog is too young to base my self-worth on it. :) I know how hard I work at it and how much time I put in to it. And that is what I base my self-worth on. But I have based my self-worth on other “jobs” be it business owner, mom, wife, etc. and I do have to take notice every so often and re-align my self-worth to SELF with a good stern talking to! Many great points!

    “You are what you think about – all day long”
    – author unknown

  14. Richard says:

    Perhaps the easiest way for anyone to get out of this is to step out of the context of ‘worthiness’ in the first place.
    Why does it matter what you’re ‘worth’? You only have worth to others and only in certain contexts? Why feel bad if you’re not worth something to some person in some context? Or indeed for any person in any context?
    Happiness should have nothing to do with worthiness.

  15. Kirk Warren says:

    The dreaded Comments (0) is the worst thing a new blogger can see, especially after writing up something they thought was one of their best or most interesting posts.

    Another is the analytics bug and seeing traffic stuff at the single or low double digits where only you, your mom and a few spiders are crawling your blog.

    It’s hard to tell someone to keep with it, but people need to remember that they are blogging for themselves and the creative outlet that blogging provides – not to bask in the adulation of millions.

    While you may achieve those accolades in the future, it’s not the goal of your writing to have 30 or 40 ocmments on every post. It’s like finding a dollar while walking down the street. It’s great to find free money, but you’re life shouldn’t depend on finding it either. Don’t let comments or traffic numbers or other “pointless” stats distract you from the reason you started writing in the first place.

  16. Vicki says:

    Darren, thank you for posting this. Blogger self worth is something I’ve been struggling with lately. It’s funny, I don’t compare my kids to other kids, but I sure do compare my blog and its success with others that I read. It hasn’t made me want to quit, but it has taken some wind out of my sails. I need to see my blog as its own entity, especially since I’m mainly blogging for fun.

  17. Todd says:

    I’m a cancer survivor so my perspective on what other folks think of me is completely different. I enjoy my blog, I don’t stress about it, I find my worth but enjoying each day that I’m able to enjoy with family and friends. My past experience has actually helped me focus on the things most important in my life…and not stress..which in turn helps me be a more productive blogger in my opinion.

  18. Bruce says:

    Good post, Darren.

    Even though my blog is Christian in its orientation and I’m a Christian, I still struggle with those “outside” things you talked about, as you have even though you’re “spiritually oriented.”

    Thanks for reminding us, spiritually oriented or not, of “perspective.”

  19. FDr says:

    As a relatively new blogger, I find I also tend to have mood swings depending on the lack of readers or comments. I notice other bloggers chugging away at writing new posts and wonder if it is worth it if they don’t get the audience reaction. I used to write for a couple newspapers where people would often talk to me in the street about something I wrote. In contrast, the blogging world often tends to boil down to words on a screen or not, and the feeling that one is basically maintaining a vanity press for one’s ego. Your post explores the problem well.

  20. You just lightened up my day Darren, thanks. :)

  21. Syed Balkhi says:

    Very well said Darren.

  22. L-Jay says:

    As a dance coach I learnt something from the Australian Institute of Sport that also applies to blogging-

    A while back the Australian Institute of Sport did a lot of study into the depression a competitor feels after a ‘meet’ – especially if they didn’t win. Today every potential Olympic athlete gets special training in how to cope with such depression. One thing that they teach is balancing the value you put on things in your life. Athletes might need to focus all their energy on their sport especially when a comp is coming up but they can focus their heart on other things in their life too. This doesn’t mean that they lower the value of their sport but instead raise the value of the other things in their life eg. family, a hobby, studying etc. In fact the Australian Institute of Sport teaches how important it is for an athlete to have other hobbies and interests and even qualifications in a different field. They also help athletes to plan for after a meet and even for a future after the Olympics.

    And since blogging sometimes feels like a sport (to me anyway – as we are all competeing to be winners in our feild). So…
    As bloggers we are always working towards the ‘up time’ in blogging but maybe we also need to have a game plan for the ‘down time’ too. A game plan for the ‘down times’ would be the best to curve negative thoughts before they happen – so you can be in control. Also raising the value of other things in your life will soften the blow for when the ‘down times’ come.

  23. Steph says:

    Congrats for the courage to write this post, Darren, and thank you for sharing.

    Self worth (I think) is the basis for all addiction, whether it’s emotional, smoking cigarettes or even blogging! When you feel fulfilled in your life, you have self worth and therefore do not need “things” to make you feel good about yourself.

    If you’re interested in curing addictions, check out my latest post on my total health blog, Live Lighter.

    Thanks again for this unusual (for Problogger) post, Darren!

  24. Wakish says:

    One word: Wonderful

    *Wishes from Wakish*

  25. alex says:

    Good timing, Darren. I was about to go and hide under the duvet after a bad day. My blog is work related, but I’ve placed a lot of emphasis on its success, just as I have with previous jobs and ‘goals’ (writing that novel, for example… the blog post roller-coaster amplified up). My blog is also climate change related (I’m a journalism lecturer researching media/climate change) and sometimes when I’ve put a hell of a lot of research into a piece which I think is critical to how we look at and treat the issue, and get small views or reviews (I’m only starting out) then I get the same kind of sink. So thanks for linking the issue of self-worth to blogging, because to blog with commitment takes effort, and it can knock you, and taking a step back to put blogging into perspective (like Todd says: less stress = more productive anyway) was an important thing for me to read today.

  26. Shanel Yang says:

    I blog to help others. The part that’s for me is that I get to do, at least in part, by sharing my own life experiences. But, if that was not useful to others, I’d leave that part out and only share useful information. Since I started this blog not as a personal outlet but primarily to help others in need of more in-depth personal growth and self-help advice on how to succeed in life (especially for women, minorities, and immigrants in the U.S.), the success of my blog is definitely tied to my personal goals in life.

    Helping others (whether through my blog or future books and TV show) IS my personal worth. If my blog is ultimately not successful, then I’ll find another way to make my dreams come true. But, so far, so good! : )

  27. This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Very thought provoking indeed. More often than not, I am a slave to my numbers……..

    However, my blog is my happy place……I don’t use it to complain about all the crappy things that are going on or how I am feeling at odds with certain aspects of my life……..I want people to come visit and leave on a positive note………and maybe, if I’m lucky, they will even be inspired by what I have to offer.

    I don’t get worked up about who is and who isn’t looking at my blog, or who does and doesn’t comment on a post…….I have been working toward placing more focus on my work as a photographer with hopes that everything else will fall into place. I do gain inspiration from the nice comments and kind gestures, and I find myself wanting to give back…….It’s definitely a work in progress……..

  28. Anita says:

    Wonderful post Darren. You’re like a blogger buddhavista, all philosophical.

    Oddly enough, when I was reading this post, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” came up on my ITunes.

    I guess for me, I blog about something that I think is important, and I set my first public blog up as a way to follow a self-challenge, so the greatest worth comes from my own actions, and a bonus comes from encouraging others to try the challenges.

    That having been said, quality comments really make my day. I feel like my efforts are being multiplied. I am still at the beginning, so I have some “0 comment” posts, but that’s ok.

    As I go forward, I will keep your thoughts on this in mind. thanks!
    ~a

  29. This was certainly a thought provoking post!

    Personally, I never tied down my personal self-worth to the success – or failure – of my blog. I see my blog as more of an extension of who I am; I write because I feel I have something worthwhile to say to other people. As long as I still have something to say, I’ll continue blogging.

    While I do strive for high traffic traffic and I work on this daily, my focus always is on writing high quality, incredibly valuable content. Since I have a personal development blog, this is often a bit harder than most people realize, but it’s so worth it in the end. I’d still blog about this stuff even if only one other person in the world would read it!

    Markers of success are totally subjective anyways (e.g., the amount of people who visit your blog) and should only be used for what you consciously choose they should be used for. Do you see success of your blog as how many people visit your site on a daily basis? They pay attention to that statistic, otherwise throw it out the window! It’s one less thing to worry about, and a little more mental space you can apply to something more important.

  30. Good reminder.

    I’ve noticed there are times when I’m really just bummed when I think of how much farther I have to go to really earn a decent profit from my blog. But then I’m on cloud nine when I focus on how far my blog has come in just a few months. Go figure.

    But you’re so right – my identity is not in my blog, nor is it in anything performance-related. It’s very much tied in to my spirituality as well.

    Thanks, Darren.

  31. caroline says:

    Darren-

    I love this post. Thank you for writing this. Just the issue I have been wrestling with just back from BlogHer 08 where I feel simultaneously that I want to be nothing but authentic on my site, but at the same time feel this urge to twitter, stumble, digg and link every utterance I make on it. Craziness, but a real struggle for someone writing in this medium. I shall link to it as it articulates so well the dilemma. Thank you for being transparent and sharing your process with us!

  32. Larry Eiss says:

    Comparison is no arbiter of value. There is only One standard and reconciliation with Him is the only thing that matters. The great thing is that the reconciliation is free and not given because of any kind of performance on my part. It feels great to be completely free!

  33. I firmly believe that one’s success must first come from within.

    It’s possible to be utterly brilliant and yet not generate a huge increase in readership – very maddening indeed it is!

    I cannot control who chooses to benefit from my blog…but I know firsthand how useful it is to all the readers. *That’s* how my ego gets involved; the value delivered (and not anything I personally cannot control).

    Data points, Barbara

  34. Glenn Palmer says:

    Right on, Darren, and thanks. You reminded me of a couple of things I was in danger of losing track of.

  35. lancifer says:

    THIS POST SUCKS!
    just kidding. I know exactly of what you speak. One negative comment seems to overshadow a hundred positive. It certainly was not something I expected when I started blogging. Why I thought the blogging world would be different from regular real life socializing, I do not know, but the truth is there are many people out there who live to critique and complain. (usually they are bitter uncreative souls) I think any and all creative endeavors are worthwhile regardless of how they are viewed by others. Someone writing something, somewhere, even if it is read by no one, is a creator and I think creating rather than destroying is the way to go. In fact, I just want to thank anyone out there who creates anything but especially those who work against the opinions (or lack of) of others to do so.
    Thanks for reminding me
    and really…GREAT POST!!!!!!!!

  36. Miss Britt says:

    Excellent post.

    I think what happens is you start to see some success on your blog, and THEN you start hooking it up with your personal worth/success/whatever before you even realize what’s happening.

    So – yes. Yes I do that.

  37. Chip says:

    I’m currently not respecting everything I believe in about blogging. However, I tend to blog from my heart, and write my honest opinions. Time will tell whether my blog had an impact on my readers or not.

  38. Robyn says:

    For some reason, when you put the value parameters into an equation, it became clearer and made more of an impact on me. I think most of us growing up associated our value in much the same way: what we achieve (grades, sports, etc.) and what others think of us (friends, parents, authority). In our college and young adult years, we’re often too busy chasing diplomas or jobs or each other to take the time to reflect on this and ask ourselves whether we still evaluate our worth using the same equation. Those that are able to do so at a relatively young age may find their course changed.

    I really appreciated this post and the comments. Those by Keith particularly resonated with me. Thanks for writing it.

  39. Ari Koinuma says:

    Darren,

    This is very timely — nice synchronicity — as I just wrote about the very issue you address here:

    http://ourbestversion.com/2008/07/path-over-destination-a-little-known-secret-to-satisfying-life/

    (I hope it’s not against some policy about self promotion)

    When I started that blog, my test was to see if it was indeed a sustainable activity. And I quickly found out it is. For I am enjoying the everyday process of writing and reading and working on my blog. Some of the posts I’ve written, I feel so proud about — writing them was an ecstatic experience. I knew I enjoyed blogging, but I never knew how much until I started my blog. Now my music needs to worry about holding onto the #1 spot in my life!

    I would say, never start doing anything if all you’re interested in the end result of your action. Do it if doing so by itself is a reward.

    ari

  40. Diane says:

    This post of yours was wonderful to read. A friend of my husband’s sent it to me. I began to blog only about one and a half months ago and I admit that I entered into it with the determination that I was going to at least make a couple of hundered dollars a month and that my posts would be interesting to most people and that, yes, I would receive at least some comments! My husband tells me my site looks great and he and his friend are always giving me pep talks. I really do understand that it will take quite some time for traffic to find my site, if it ever does. And I really do understand that it will take quite some time to make some money, if I ever do. But I had such high hopes that maybe I could at least start out with a few dollars a day or a week and that maybe at least a few people would post comments on my site.
    So, all in all your post hit me just where I am right at this moment; Wondering if I keep going, will I eventually make my site successful, (the way that I see success, that is).
    Thanks for the up lift.

    Diane

  41. All I can say is…amen. Been guilty of — and am working on never again.

  42. Ades says:

    I had blogged something related to this topic here few days back. As a religious person like yourself Darren, I am sure you will appreciate the post?

  43. John says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    I am relatively new to blogging and go through these feelings often.

    However, I try to draw on my experiences as a consultant going back 20 plus years. I remember as a consultant starting off being very stressed about my income. As it continues to do even today, my clients and their money came in ebbs and flows and my mood followed.

    Over the years, I realized that this ebb and flow would always be part of my work life and more importantly, I would always figure something out. I did. I realized that I had to take it on faith that I would succeed, otherwise I would be completely mad by now.

    I think your points parallel my experience and it is helpful to be reminded that things can work out if you maintain some semblance and perseverence in oneself.

    Thanks.

  44. erinn says:

    Thanks for this. I am actually in the middle of a ‘summer blogging break’ until sometime in September. There are many reasons for this, mainly personal and family stuff that I needed to concentrate on and I knew that I would be stressed about keeping up with my blog and content could suffer. But during this time I am thinking about why I am blogging, reevaluating the content and direction and just getting some good separation from the rollercoaster. I read many places that I should not do what I am doing (taking a break) because my readership and visitor ratings will suffer. My approach is that I feel that I have a good albeit small core of readers that are supportive and they will be there when I get back. I have always felt that I want my blog most of all to be authentic and grow organically. I do look at my site meter statistics but mainly to that other bloggers or sites for reading my blog or mentioning me. Once in awhile I do jump on the rollercoaster but eventually jump back off. It is a constant struggle in blogging and in life on how to measure my worth. I do find that it is something within myself and my spirituality. When I stay grounded in that the world is a better place for me.

  45. Patricia says:

    I come to blogging because of a commitment I made to myself last year which addresses this post and makes me feel better about my choice – affirmed. I decided before I turn 60 I wanted to accomplish some specific goals for me which are 1. to be the healthiest I have ever been in my life and 2.to find a way to inspire others to be the best they could be in their living and 3. to earn more than $2,000 a month income. I love to write and express myself in that arena. My first two months have been very fun and learning so many new things is building me and finally sharing with folks and finding a release for all this information I have stored inside me is fabulous. My Webmaster is so skilled and helpful and I am still rather dependent on her but it will come – I know it will come. Being ready to achieve my peak of creativity (around age 65 for women) is more exciting to me than anything else and the blog world assists me in learning and growing so much faster.
    I think I bring new skills and wisdom to this world of blogging and I hope I can model some great behaviors for others, but I believe that I am expressing my worth in a very productive way right now and just being able to write everyday and say it on paper is the most exciting success definition I can imagine. Today I got word that I am cancer free – working on that one big time; now I just need to figure out how to earn the money – a woman of independent means! Thank you for this post; it is affirming of my choices

  46. Michele says:

    Terrific post and terrifically timed as well. I was just ruminating yesterday over this very issue of, “my worth is not determined by what I do or what others think of me.”
    The principle is so much easier to say than to put into practice especially in this metric-, comparison-, and success-driven web-world where your hits per day, comments per day, etc. seem to define your success as a blogger.

    Thanks for the bit of “self-help” advice…it’s a good reminder to return to where my worth is really maintained (spiritual for me too).

  47. Tracey says:

    You have made my day! I am a new blogger and was beginning to think I was not up for the task! I am so happy to see others have ups and downs. Inspiration comes in many forms and you have written a truly great article!

  48. Andre says:

    I really needed to read this post. I’ve been trying to run two blogs for the last year and a half. As a result I’ve let one almost completely fall by the wayside while the other enjoys the roller coaster that you spoke of that takes me along for the ride. I’ve finally come to grips that I needed to be happy with what I was writing about and not worry about what others think – that if I’m passionate enough about it that others would enjoy reading my thoughts as a result.

    I still wasn’t sure if that was the way others dealt with it. But I’m happy to learn that it’s the case.

  49. nissy says:

    Hi Darren & Everyone, I really appreciate the heart felt words to this post. I see realism and passion in everything you wrote and I was relieved just by reading what was on your hearts. It touched me in a way that I will never be the same again. It was like an intense personal meaning for me. In other words it was something that I needed to experience….Thank you very much for these spectacular postings! Great job Darren.

  50. Kristen says:

    Great post — You can tell you have struck a chord by the number of thoughtful comments…

    I remember my first negative comment and how my sister was so much more upset than I was. I told her that I love my blog, (really, really love it), but that a criticism of it isn’t a criticism of who I am. In fact, it’s probably valuable feedback!

    But, as with any writing, we do invest ourselves and can’t help but feel up — or down — when we’re not received as we would like…

    Blogging is such a journey!!