Monday, February 20, 2012

"Perfect" Blog (My Blog's Birthday)

This one's for my blogger friends! Just about four years ago, I sat down to write my very first blog post while my two year old and newborn were sleeping. Never mind that it would be almost another year before I decided to write again on any semblance of a schedule. You'd think that by now, after three years of regular blogging, I'd have the Perfect Blog...or at least have figured out the basic inner workings of the blogosphere.

The thing is, "perfect" is such a relative term. What is perfect to me might be completely different for you.

I look at my favorite blogs (most of them much larger than mine) and I tell myself "Now that is perfect. Look at her projects, her house, her clothes, her site's stats, her design...why can't I be more like that?!" I bet you've done the same thing. We all play the comparison game.

The longer I blog, the more I learn that comparing your work to others can lead to discouragement!
Why spend time wishing you had ____ (insert large number here) "Followers," or that you came up with that fantastic project that went viral on Pinterest? Instead of lamenting my shortcomings, I'm learning to be inspired and motivated by the achievements of my fellow bloggers. 

Too often, we focus solely on what lies ahead, thinking about what we should be working on for that next milestone. It's important to set goals, but I also think that taking an occasional moment to look back on your achievements can be just as helpful. When I start feeling discouraged, I'm learning to be proud of and grateful for what I have achieved.

And that advice, on this year's "blog birthday," is what I'd like to impart to other bloggers: Be thankful for your accomplishments, no matter how small. Set attainable goals for yourself and don't rush to get there. The blogosphere is not going anywhere!

Did you just start a blog? Congratulations...it's a big step, putting your life out there for the world to see.

Have you had your first feature this week? That's an amazing feeling! Use that energy to plan your next big project.

Are you venturing into sponsorship for the first time? Take pride in the fact that someone thinks you are worth partnering with. 

I do have some plans for this next year. Soon you'll see a new banner design and navigation bar here with some updated pages. I'm still pleased as punch to have the honor of working with Kate as a contributor to Centsational Girl. I also hope that 2012 will bring me more opportunities to work with my favorite brands and new sponsors. Blogging is hard work, and I'm always looking for ways to fund the projects I want to complete and share with you.

Is my blog's design perfect? No. Do I always share the most exciting projects that you immediately want Pin and email to all your friends? No. Have I mastered social media? No. Is there a whole list of things I need to improve on? Yes!

I try not to play the comparison game anymore because, guess what? It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful

Yep, my friend The Nester sums it up so nicely, doesn't she? I don't have to kick myself for not having the "Perfect" blog, impressive stats, or amazing projects to share seven days a week. I can celebrate the fact that I started this site with not a soul reading it....now a couple thousand people stop by every day to check in. Blogging opened a wonderful creative outlet for me; and it has enabled me to connect with and relate to people all over the world. 

Sounds pretty perfect to me.




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59 comments:

Kelli @ RTSM said...

I let having the perfect blog stress me out a little sometimes too. But honestly my best projects are the one that happen naturally when I'm just doing what I love to do...which is create and cook fun stuff with my boys:) I've been SUPER busy with life lately and my blog has been suffering, but I miss it so hopefully I will get back soon! Great post Amanda! Have an amazing Monday!

claudia b said...

Amanda, you have such a wonderful blog - it is so full of kindness and creativity, I look forward to every post - happy blogiversary!!!

The Nester said...

Amanda, do you know that you are one of my favorite bloggers?

"I'm learning to be inspired and motivated by the achievements of my fellow bloggers." amen, you are so wise and this is a HUGE piece of wisdom that makes all the difference.

Love you girl

Gina @ The Shabby Creek Cottage said...

Happy Blogiversary! I'm so glad that we've gotten to be friends via blogging - you are just such a sweet soul ♥

We all compare ourselves to others, I'm totally guilty of wishing that I had *that* sponsor or opportunity - wanting to reach *those* numbers... yada, yada, yada. Remembering why we started this journey always brings me full circle to remember to enjoy the projects and have fun again.

Hugs & Love,
G

Samantha said...

Happy Anniversary! I love your blog and I glad you are doing what you do. The good thing about the 'blogworld' is there really is a place for everyone. No one reads just one blog. So each of our sites, no matter how big or how small, are needed. We each have a place, a space, a nitch where we fit. I am glad you have found yours and I look forward to following your journey for years to come!
:) Samantha @ Crafty Texas Girls

Nadir@StitchSense said...

Happy Bloggy Birthday! I'm so happy for you & have enjoyed watching your blog grow so much in the last few years. You really are an inspiration to a tiny blogger like myself. :-) I can't wait to see what Serenity Now has in store for this next year! Blessings to you!

Erin @ How to Nest for Less said...

Happy birthday girl! Keep rockin' the way you do. Just know that your current followers will be there for you thick or thin. Don't compare yourself to others; be true to yourself. Congrats on the Blogiversary!!

Krystle @ Color Transformed Family said...

Happy Blogaversary! I love reading your blog and think your layout is beautiful. You have been very inspiring to me as I began my blogging adventure. I have to remind myself constantly not to compare myself to other blogs or stress about numbers. I started this wanting it to be fun and it should remain that way! Thank you for being such an inspiration.

Jay @ Wilbur Road said...

Amanda,
I fall under the "just starting a blog" category, and truly appreciate you sharing your experience and insight.

My intention is to stay focused on the fun, and try to ignore numbers (but we do so want people to read what we say, don't we? :))

I will remember your words, "be true to yourself."
Thank you, and very Happy Blogiversary!

Shannon MadiganMade said...

Congrats, girl, on another year!

I don't comment enough here... but I love your blog, your voice and your character! You 'shine' through on all that you do and I'm so happy to have you in blogland!

Thanks for the reminders... My blog will never be 'perfect' it is always a work in progress. And - that is OK!

Happy blogiversary!

Alicia said...

You are so right! I used to watch my site stats and feel discouraged if one month was less than the month before, but I'm finally starting to realize that my main joy in blogging comes from having an outlet to write. I used to dream of writing a book one day and I doubt that will ever happen, but I enjoy "putting pen to paper" so to speak. A blog is a way to do that, even if no one else reads it. I'm working on being more open with what I write. Baby steps, baby steps.

PS, thanks for your comment on my blog.

Jayme and Mendi said...

Happy 4th Bday to your blog!! Love that pic that says "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." That goes for everything in life. :-)

Jayme @ Her Late Night Cravings

Kristin said...

Happy Blogoversary Amanda! Congratulations on all that you've accomplished, and thank you for being a constant inspiration to all of us here in blogland. You are my commenting roll-model - thank you for your example :-)

reFresh reStyle said...

Happy Birthday to you! You are an inspiration and you are spot on with comparing ourselves for all the reasons you stated. I'm grateful for your post, my perspective needed to be realigned!
You're the best,
Debbie

Erica {let why lead} said...

Congrats! I think your blog is fantastic. I'm pretty new to an official blog (aside from the family blog for the grandparents that I've had for years). Thanks for the reminder to be proud of what I've done and not COMPARE!

jackielopina said...

Great blogging tips! I love that quote "Don't let comparison steal your joy." Need to remember that one:) (Visiting from The Nester!)

Janet said...

Happy 4th Blogiversary Amanda!!! What an amazing accomplishment! Thanks for all you give through your posts and your heartfelt comments. :)

ChaoticallyCreative said...

Happy Blogiversary Amanda! I am fairly new to blogging, and I think you are right about not comparing and being good enough is good enough. I decided when I started blogging that I couldn't compare my blog to others. I just have to be me after all I don't want to be any one else. I try to focus on visiting other blogs and admiring them and letting them inspire me. Instead of saying gosh I wish I could do exactly what they do, I say how can I use what they've done and translate it into something that is attainable for me, my life and my blog.

Emily said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear today, after spending a good chunk of my weekend trying to come up with the "perfect" header for my blog. You know, one that would be awesome and compare to the likes of all the bigger blogs out there. Today I'm trying to get some perspective...thanks for sharing some of yours!

Heidi Rew said...

Happy Anniversary, Amanda! In your honor, I'm gonna have a cupcake..with lots of icing...and I'm gonna eat it all. It's the least I can do! ;p Thanks for sharing this! I look up to you & your blog as where I'd love to be someday. Thanks for the great content you provide, the link parties & the features! Hope you have a wonderful Anniversary week! <3 Heidi Rew from PartiesforPennies

Something Nice and Pretty said...

Just found you from the Nester's and I wanted to thank you for the reminder that we are all different but not perfect either or our blogs, comparing does take the joy out of it!
Love your blog so I'm following you on Linky Follower.

Rondell

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Happy Blog Birthday! Your blog is one of my must-reads.

Jessica Bruno said...

Happy Blog birthday Amanda! I like how you said be thankful and happy for accomplishments, big or small. That is so true.

Megan said...

It is so hard not to compare! Especially when you work so hard. Lately Google analytics has me way bummed. My page numbers have been so low this month. I decided today to just stop looking. Gonna keep on doing what I do and hope for the best. Happy Blog Birthday! If people don't do it, they really don't realize how much work it is. I too, love how there was nothing and now Balancing Home exists with hundreds of posts, tons of projects, printables and a small community! All out of nothing, and I did that! I totally get what you mean about celebrating what you have done. I need to focus on that. I am much smaller than you. I guess we all have the same feelings in the end :) Thanks for sharing.

Xazmin said...

I don't stress about followers and stats too much, but what does get me down is that before, when I was blogging regularly, I'd average a good 20-30 comments on a post and now that I'm back it's hard to break 10. Even though I'm blogging and trying to visit around a lot more regularly than I have in a long time.

However, I just remind myself that when I first started blogging, it took me a while to build up to getting that many comments, and it's kind of like I'm starting from scratch.

Centsational Girl said...

This is such a wonderful reflection on blogging my friend, congratulations on your Big Day! Your one of the sweetest, smartest and bestest bloggers I know.
"I'm learning to be proud of and grateful for what I have achieved." Well said! 2012 will be bright, Happy Blogiversary!!!!
Kate

Kassi Mortensen said...

Happy Four Years Amanda!!! Thanks for the blogging tips! All things we all need to remember! :) LOVE your blog, so glad I found it!

Jennifer S. said...

Happy bloggy birthday!!! I love your blog! I try not to compare too much because my purpose for blogging is mainly for my kids and myself. I have enjoyed making friends too! This community can be so encouraging!
Keep up the great work!
xo
Jen
beautyinbloom.typepad.com

Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground said...

Happy blog birthday, Amanda!! And a big 'Amen' to your words of wisdom.
Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground

Colleen Jorgensen said...

Happy Bloggiversary, Amanda! Thanks so much for writing this and reminding me to be grateful for what I have right now. This post just got bookmarked into my "Inspirational Posts" :D

Erin @ His and Hers said...

Happy bloggy birthday! I love your blog, your humor, and your positive attitude. It makes your posts so enjoyable! Keep doing what you're doing! :)

Laura@Elegant Nest said...

Happy Blogiversary!!
And thanks for such great words of wisdom...so valuable to newer bloggers like myself. That is one of the best things about blogging...the community and support is inspiring!
Have a great day ~ Laura

Amy Anderson said...

Happy Blog Birthday Amanda! This post says a lot about how awesome and thoughtful and just well, great, you are :D

thistlewoodfarm said...

I think that quote is so powerful! Don't let comparison steal your joy! What an incredible statement!

I truly love your blog and can't wait to read more. I am following you on linky because I have a wordpress blog!

blessings,
karianne

Kim Wilson said...

Happy Blogibirthday Amanda! You're growing every day and I'm glad to join you along the way in this journey as a reader, fellow blogger, and friend. :)
HUGS! ~ Kim @ Sand & Sisal

Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista said...

Thanks for putting yourself out there for the rest of us to see. I love that the blogosphere is generally so supportive and encouraging. We can never be perfect as mothers, wives, homemakers, employees, why would we think we could be perfect as bloggers?

Amanda Jones said...

Congrats on another year my friend! I totally understand where you are coming from and I love you!! Good luck this year - I can't wait to see what you have in store for us!

Elyse said...

Reading this made me smile because I read your blog and always think, maybe someday my blog will be as good as hers. I am new in the blog world and it sure is a struggle. You have given me inspiration almost on a daily basis. Thank you:)

http://shabbysweettea.com

Andi @ udandi said...

Happy Blog Birthday! Great post about recognizing the goodness in you!

Tanya Grimsley said...

Happy Birthday to you for your wonderful blog!!! You are a incredible lady with TONS of talent and I love your blog & follow you on all social networks! Keep up the good work!!!

Paula said...

Happy birthday to your blog! I think you do an incredible job with your blog and enjoy it very much.

Mimi said...

Thanks. I needed that!

SueAnn said...

Happy Blogaversary!!! Good for you....I love your blog and I love mine too!!
Ha
Hugs
SUeAnn

Nook and Cranny said...

Congrats on your bloggy birthday...
You have said it so perfectly.
Thanks for sharing.
Michele

Linens and Laurel said...

Congratulations on your 3 year anniversary!

Glad to see this posted. After yet another redo, redirect, re re re...I have decided this is me, I give it my best and it is enough.

Shasta @ intheoldroad said...

Great post. I'm going to 'pin' it so I can reread when the green eyed bloggy monster comes to visit me :)

{Hi Sugarplum!} said...

This is a great post, Amanda! Happy blog birthday...Im so glad you started blogging!!

Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista said...

Such a wonderful post Amanda! And can I just say, the Nester said you were one of her favorite bloggers. Print and frame that comment! lol! Just goes to show how some authenticity and kindness can go a long way. Your sweet spirit soars across your blog and the internet world!

Richella said...

Hey girl!

I've been out of town and without internet access for several days. I'm doing a little catching up on some of my favorite blogs, and I'm so glad to see this post of yours!

I am so proud of you. You have built an excellent blog by doing so many things right. You are a shining example of what a blogger can be. I have a feeling that lots and lots of bloggers feel about you just as I do--that we're grateful to know you in the blogging world and we wish we could spend more time with you in real life!

It's funny that we get so hung up on wanting to be perfect, when in reality we don't really want to hang out with someone who is perfect--we'd end up feeling so bad in comparison!

I think your blog is absolutely wonderful, just like its owner. I am so very glad to know you.

Amy @ Positively Splendid said...

Amanda, you are truly THE most genuine voice in the blogging world. Hands down! Congratulations and hugs for this achievement! So many wonderful things lie ahead for you!

Donata @ DK's Craft Cafe said...

Happy Anniversary, Amanda, and many thanks for such an encouraging post!
All the best!

Hannah said...

I am in love with all of these finds! Now if only I could find some thrifty stores with great finds in them like yours! I will keep searching!

xoxo,
Double the Decor

Michelle @ Ten June said...

Ah! I missed it... well happy late blog birthday, friend! Cheers to a FABULOUS 2012 : )

Dawn said...

Happy Belated Blog Birthday!!! Congtrats on 4 years and thanks for a great post-good reminder for real life to-it's so easy to compare yourself to others and get weighed down-here's to lots more great years!

ARod said...

congrats on your blogavesery

Good EnoughMom said...

Well, you sure made my day! My blog has only "been live" for two weeks and I have had anxiety about learning more and more each day, gaining traffic, etc. And I have a full time job teaching....I need to take your advice...take my own advice..."Good Enough" is okay. My blog is about saying goodbye to perfect. Best wishes to you!

It's A Southern Way of Life! said...

Congradulations! Found you on Pintrest! I am new to blogging and always figured I wouldn't have anything to bring to the blogging world you know? But I love writting and makeing new friends! So here's hopeing I'll make it as long as you have!

Abby Adams said...

Thanks for posting this lovely message about blogging. I have been blogging for about six months writing about my Far From Normal family at www.farfromnormal.net. Please let me know what you think.

Kim said...

Found you via Pinterest. Happy bloggy birthday!

I can so relate to the comparison game. Sometimes when I start doing it I think "My blog needs to look like that so I can get X number more followers" or "If I do this I will finally get my fan page to X number of likers."

It's a hard thing to deal with because we all want to be noticed and liked. I certainly do. I've been blogging for close to three years now with at least four blogs, including my current one! Thankfully, with this blog I'm starting to feel like I am coming into my own as a writer/blogger. Funny how all it took was just making it myname.com instead of the names I came up with for other blogs.

I wish you the best of luck in all your blog endeavors! It's a lot of hard work as you know but oh so worth it.

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