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Walking your own blog path..Why what we tell our children also applies in blogland…

I will have been blogging seven years this year.Seven. I think that’s almost longer than I’ve held a real job. This girls’ post got my thinking about how things have changed. The rules have even changed, and it seems like they do so constantly! The things I do know is that I think sometimes people treat this whole blogging thing more like a competition, it makes me sad to see it that way because this whole thing, with traffic,brands,advertising,DFP, and pageviews is digital. There is enough room for everyone. You don’t have to step on someone else’s back to get higher. It made me realize the other day as I was asking Oldest for the four-hundreth time why she cares what another person does, is also why we need to all walk our own blog path and why what we tell our children also applies in blogland.

walking our own paths why the things we tell our children apply in blogland

1. You don’t have to like everyone, but you have to be kind to everyone

How many times do you meet someone and they just grate on your nerves, or the very thing they do makes you eye roll. Or you just don’t gel with some one. We’ve all done it, but where is the merit in the gossip,defaming and shunning? none, but kindness pays more than gold.

2.None of us are any better than any one else.No matter what.

We live in a very mixed financial area, and I know sometimes my kid’s view people with more than  us as better. In fact I know so because I’ve heard it coming out of their mouths. I try to explain that just because people have more, doesn’t make them better. or if they have less, worse. We are all the same and problems are problems, and we never know what goes on behind closed doors. It can all look glossy from the outside and be falling part on the inside. On the same note, let’s convert it to blogging because it’s all about perception. Just because I’ve been blogging for 7 years doesn’t make me any better than the person who’s been blogging 6 months. Just as 300,000+ page views doesn’t make the best-est blog either, or working with a certain brand or getting a different opportunity.

It just makes us walking our own path.

And let’s get into the real world.I can guarantee the dude shoving my kid’s Happy Meal at me through the window could care less that I am a blogger, or that I wrote a book, or that I blah, blah blah. He’s more concerned with getting his paycheck and going home the minute the doors lock after that last burger has been thrown in the trash.He doesn’t really care that my new drapes were completely awesome and went viral on Pinterest.

  So it all goes back to rule number one. Be kind.

3.Why do you care what they are doing?

We all walk our own journey.That’s the biggest thing that seems to come up in our house. How many times has your child  come home upset or full of words because someone got something they thought they wanted ? I constantly ask them. “Why, do you even care that so and so is doing? It has no bearing on you. Do your thing. Your journey is different.”

That goes for blogland too. Sometimes it’s hard to watch someone else have this amazing success or have all these things come to them while you feel like you are sitting at home twirling your thumbs.But see, their path is not yours and their life is not yours. If you stick with YOUR thing, and Do YOUR thing, amazing things will come to you that align with YOUR path.

4.. Keep your eyes on your own work, but be inspired by others

Copying is flattering, and many of us put work out there so people can be inspired and try it themselves. But then there are many people who copy work and try to pass it off as their own. Not cool. It’s totally ok to give credit where credit is due. It’s totally okay to say where you got an idea or inspiration. You don’t have to come up with every idea in the whole world by yourself. My friend, Jeanne, just ran an entire e-course on copying Master artists. You can learn and grow by copying others, but not by stealing.

5.Share, and be inclusive not exclusive.

Sharing is important.Including is important. We are all learning and growing. It takes nothing from you to give information whether it’s how something works, a contact or advice. If you are doing your best thing, sharing can’t take anything from you, in fact it will lift you up. And reaching a hand out to someone who looks a little lonely never hurt any one either. I’ve been conferences where I have seen people excluded.I have had friends come back from blog events where they said hey would never go back because it was too clique-y. This isn’t high school and we are all grown-ups.


If someone has the magic secret to get my kids to listen, please share it with me.How many times have I told them something, they ignore me and then are crying later.

One of my biggest downfalls is being dismissive. I know I do it, and I need to work harder not to do it. Someone tells me something and I think that’s not me, I don,t need to know that, or what does she know?…. and BOOM! I get a big bite in the bottom from reality! If I would have just listened with an open mind and think…maybe, maybe that applies to me… it would have saved me soooo much heart ache. Part of not being dismissive is also learning to say “I don’t know.” That is one thing I took to heart while working at the firehouse. It was actually o.k. to say I don’t know and then asking for an answer. If you said you know, and didn’t, and then you killed someone, it was a bad day. To this day I am all for not pretending to know it all.Because the few times I have, it’s come right back to me in a not so good way.

7.Don’t judge others, you don’t know their story.

I really wanted to add this in there because its so easy to make a snap judgement about someone and move on.The grass always looks greener. Blogging has become a business, and it gives many the opportunity to make a  decent income. It also lets mom’s stay home with their kids. I know a lot of people don’t like advertising on blogs,but many need the extra income. I know some people go over board, but some people really need the money, and it actually costs money to write a blog with really god content. Some bloggers look like they have it all and are completely struggling in life in one way or another.

8. Be your own best you

Which kind of wraps up number one through 5. Many of us old school bloggers have said this over and over because we know. We have seen blogs come and go by the hundreds and some of them all run together. No kidding. What has made people truly stand out is when they do their thing and become their own brand and find their own way. You might  be meant to be huge, or you  might never be meant to be a huge blog, your thing might be your loyal readers and that’s fine. But the only way to find that out is to shine in your own spotlight, not some one else’s, to be your own truth.


I know, after working through this list, I can recall many times I’ve fallen short from doing any of these things, and it’s made me not such a nice person. I know I am  a work in progress. Every day. But I also hope I can be a really good example for my girls.

For more inspiration and supportive courage, you can pop over here.

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  1. Great post Jenn. You speak the truth for sure. This is what I tell my girls too. I should listen to myself more often as well – thanks for telling me what I tell them.

  2. well said, I always wondered why gals add all those advertising things to their blogs? In the 5 years I have been blogging I have never bought anything that was advertised on a blog? from an advertisement

    I like to just see what they are up to what they have found at a flea market what they are working on. And I know some of the gals have $$$$$ thousand dollar cameras to have fabulous pictures which they do, I just use my little sony point and click camera for my pictures.


  3. Well said, I am disappointed in the direction of blogging, I really hate all the “advertising: going up with pop-up windows, scrolls popping down, sometimes I can’t even read the post. I gravitate to smaller blogs, they seem to be why I started reading blogs and finding out about them. If I want professional photos and “perfect” home I’ll buy a magazine and read it. I also find blogging to be very “clicky” like in high school, there’s the popular girls and others trying to be. I just want to be me, and hopefully someone will enjoy “meeting” me and what I share!

    1. Hi, I have ADBLOCK (FREE). I use Google Chrome – I don’t know if it is just for Chrome, but ever browser should have an ad-blocker or pop-up blocker. I just want to let you know, Cathy, that I never ever, never, see a pop-up or ad. That would ruin the entire Internet experience.

  4. I really identify with #7. I’m here where I want to be. Sure, I would love more readers, like an actor in a play wants a larger audience. All that work!! It took a long time blogging (5 years) to understand that there were different “brands” of blogging”, and I hope I have the meaning of that correct. I felt terrible going to the same popular blogs over and over only to feel like I wasn’t good enough because those people never came by my blog. Now I understand we all focus on various interests and forums. I still love to look…it’s a BIG world after all (ha!), but I no longer wish to run with the popular crowd. I don’t think they would “get” my jumping from decorating to books I’ve read, from gardening and then to cooking. I don’t have anything to sell, I’m not climbing any sort of ladder or mountain. I sort of feel sorry for those who do.


  5. Wow, what a great and timely post:-) I can so relate to all of these things. I have been blogging for almost five years and have seen so many things change in my peer group. It’s just the last year or so that I found what it is I do and have tried to stick with it regardless — then not be discouraged. It certainly can be “cliquey” but realizing one’s individuality and uniqueness helps get past that.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Jenn – I really needed this now. After 5 years blogging, I think I should be in a certain “place” that I see others and then I get discouraged. But I have some great readers and they are loyal and give me nice feedback, so I have to remember that! Give them value, keep the content great, and lift others up – love it. 🙂

  7. Hi Jen,

    I have not commented on one of your blog posts in awhile but today I felt like I had to. Your blog post was very well put Jen. As some one who does not have a blog, a lurker by somes definition, I see what you are talking about all the time. A few years back there were so many blogs that I loved that there didn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to follow them all, now it is dwindled down to about an hours worth. Having followed you from the first time I discovered blogging exposed to me a amazing world of design and creativity. You have never let me down, just the opposite, because you are the real thing………Take care sweetie.


  8. Love this post, Jen! A good reminder when the competition feels way too important. My goal is the same as yours, to be kind. Kindness never hurt anyone, regardless of whether someone deserves it or not. In our digital world it’s way too easy to press send, on a text, an email or a blog post and it’s there somewhere forever. I try to warn my kids about this, too, but I better model it first. Great conversations to have with your kids!

  9. Great post and link
    You’ve brought up very important points.
    I’ve been blogging since 2008. Into my 3rd generation of blog evolving as I change.
    I have seen some of the competition you post about. Modeling after a favorite blog is good. Cloning/Lookalike isn’t. Once a reader discovers a post that should have been credited, then trust in your blog is lost. After reading a blog for months, and sometimes leaving comments or not, and there’s no courtesy comment left on your blog, then it is time to move on because there are a tremendous amount of fantastic blogs to read. That is how I found your blog. I enjoy promoting blogs I find interesting. I don’t receive a lot of extra traffic from it, and don’t expect to. I just like sharing the good blogs.
    There are times when tutorials and subjects are similar, but that’s normal for creative people to have like ideas. Sometimes, I find a blog with something similar, and link to that blog because it helps expand the blogging in positive ways. Sometimes, I do my own thing and don’t search for a similar to link to. That’s the nature of blogging. For example, the blog links post is used by a lot of bloggers. I tried it, but after low visitor counts, I rarely post them. Instead, I use photography, posting a favorite picture of the week.
    Counts don’t give a clear picture because not all visitors show up on statistics.
    I posted about blog etiquette last year.

  10. Very good post. You have to remember that some people are stunted emotionally and never got over that mean girl syndrome that they got in high school that made them feel they could never be happy for anyone. Instead of being happy about someone else’s success they take it as a sign of their failure. Keep of the good work.

  11. Great idea to compare blogging to the advice we give to our kids, because it works. When I was a little girl mad about someone or something, my dad always said “you can’t have people the way you want them, you have to take them as they are”. Practiced that one bit of advice my whole life and offered it up to my kids along with most of the ones you have mentioned. The proof is in the pudding.

  12. Jennifer this post is so well said. Thank you for taking the time to write it and encourage other bloggers. I have two tweens and a teen and my fervent wish for them is to follow their own path – go at it with a vengeance, be committed, be ambitious, but follow their own path. I have to remind myself of this all the time with my little blog. It was good to read your words and be reminded that it’s okay to do your own thing.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this Jen! I have been feeling so much like a very small fish who was from a small pond (I began blogging in 2007) and was thrown into the ocean when I started up full force again these past few months. Your post and the one from The Inspired Room helped me so much.

  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts concerning Blogland living. It is true that at times the grass only looks greener next door or for us loving life in Blogland by way of visits to a popular blog! Hugs:-)))

  15. can i get an amen? best blog post I’ve read in forever. I found blogs probably about the time you started yours. back when they seemed more “real” as in people sharing DIY and decor ideas just for the sake of inspiring others. now with some blogs I often wonder whether they really love a product they found or if they’re just trying to make money with their links like through “rstyleme” etc. I get that companies realize the reach of bloggers and how big business is driving bloggers to use their “affiliate programs” to entice bloggers to write sponsored posts with affiliate links. Like you said in number 3 though – I let them do their thing, I just don’t read those types of blogs anymore and I admit that I hover over links in posts and refuse to click through unless they list a disclaimer that it is an affiliate link. i’m all for entrepreneurship and finding your passion then finding a way to make money at it but geez there is such a thing as overkill. i hope more honest posts like yours will help the current state of blog land find a better balance between blogging as a business and what it used to be.

  16. Very well said. However, I find that I am reading fewer and fewer blogs these days. Have they begun to run their course? Is there really anything new to say anymore? It’s just that I feel so saturated with blogs that I just want to run away from them! I have wasted too much time reading and keeping up over the years. I’m not reading enough books I believe that bloggers themselves are feeling this way too. Many are posting less and less on their blogs and checking in on Facebook and Instagram now.

    Also, I am less and less interested in seeing bloggers constantly pushing their “brand” and sponsored products on readers. I have seen favorite blogs morph into virtual advertisements. I think one of my favorite blogs is “Dreamy Whites.” Maria is a perfect example of how to do it right. Her photos are gorgeous, she doesn’t push her “brand,” she seems to post when it is right for her and her family obligations, she does not seem competitive etc. She is one of the successful bloggers who seems to stay out of the “big dog cliques.” Her true talent carries her forward.

    My other observation is that the big name blogs do so much to promote EACH OTHER that it is ridiculously transparent. We all know that this is about SEO (search engine optimization) and completely self-serving. I don’t have a blog and was never interested in one, but my present reading list is about ten blogs now. I predict that in five years, blogs will begin to fade very much.

  17. So true! I do know that although we’ve never met in person, I commented one time on one of your posts that I was in your area and loved seeing your things in a local shop. You were so kind and tried to set up a time to meet! It didn’t work out that time, but I was so touched that that is the type of person you are!
    Of course the next time we’re there to visit the in-laws, I will do my best to connect with you in person. 🙂

    Have a great week!

  18. Great post – great points. Amen.
    I also have to remind myself that the success someone else has that looks like it happened overnight actually has a LOT of hard work and lots of hours behind it!

  19. I am not a blogger. I read them. I have sensed, as I read about events etc, that cliques exist. So high school. So unattractive. So do not want to be apart of or read about it. Thank you for getting the discussion started. Excellent insight and food for thought.

  20. Jen, I saved this post to reread when I need it. I’m so glad that you brought up the subject. It is an important one because we all get caught up in what others think which defeats our whole purpose, I think, in being born and living. We are meant to be exactly who we are and, yet, we so often feel like it isn’t good enough. We all need to be reminded that it is marvelous for each of us to be our own work of art.

  21. “Do your thing. Your journey is different.”
    This really resonates with me. I think I should print it out and paste it over where I write. It’s way too easy to worry about everyone else and lose your own destination. Thanks for sharing this wonderful advice!

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