I had a bit of a blogger’s wobble the other day. And I am not referring to the awful moment when I ran past a shop window and saw myself huffing and puffing my way along one of my training runs. No: I checked my most recent Tots 100 ranking and I had plummeted about 400 places.
It bothered me. I mean really, irrationally bothered me. It was partly that I thought the ranking drop couldn’t be right. My stats were pretty much the same as the month before and my Klout score (although I still don’t understand Klout, I have to admit) was higher than ever. I asked the lovely folks at Tots100 to check to see if my score was correct. And after I did that, I just kept asking myself why I had made such a fuss. What did it matter?
I don’t blog for stats. I enjoy reading lots of other blogs and bloggers are a big part of my life and support network now. But I don’t set out to compete with them at all. I don’t think I could if I wanted to.
So why did I care so much? I didn’t know, so I did the only thing I could think of: I tweeted my confusion, hoping that tweeps could knock some common sense into me. And they did.
Lots of lovely folks responded to my ridiculous perplexity saying not to worry about stats. If I’d stopped enjoying blogging for its own sake I was doing it for the wrong reasons. And they were right, of course. But I knew I really wasn’t bothered about where I was in the rankings relative to everyone else (even if I’m not sure everyone believed me). That wasn’t it. It was all a bit confusing. Why was I bothered then, someone sensibly asked me.
I tweeted the answer before I’d really admitted it to myself. The rankings fall bothered me, not because it suggested the blog was less read than many hundreds of others, deservedly popular blogs. Like I say, I’m not competitive like that. No: it bothered me because it suggested that my blog was less good than it had been the previous month. Does that make sense?
The rankings fall bothered me, I realised, because it suggested that I wasn’t blogging – something I have come to care a great deal about in the past year – as well as I had done before. I felt – and I know this sounds idiotic even as I type it – as if I had let myself down and worse than that, that I had let Boo down (it’s his blog as much as mine, after all, although I still don’t know if I’ll ever tell him or his sister that it exists).
And within a fraction of second, I realised how nuts that was. I realised that the blog was turning into yet another stick to beat myself with.
In case you haven’t realised already, I’m an endless disappointment to myself. I know I mean well and have good intentions and push myself hard. (Too hard.) But I never feel I have done quite enough or achieved what I set out to do in any aspect of my life. It’s how I’ve been since a child, and I can put myself on the metaphorical couch and see why I’m wired that way. I am also extremely determined that neither of my kids are ever made to feel like I did as a child and do.
I don’t aspire to be (and know I never will be) the best blogger in the world. I don’t covet thousands of views a day and don’t have the energy or talent that really great bloggers have. But I do try to make this blog useful and as professional as I can given that I write most of my posts in secret on my phone under the duvet (like this one). I want people to see I care about Premmeditations and the people reading it. I feel I owe them an awful lot.
But then I realised that taking the blog seriously means not taking it so seriously that it becomes another thing I can fail at. I blog for therapy and to connect with others who might be going or have been through similar things. I blog for a bit of head space, to find a voice, to say the things I think but don’t offer say in real life. These are valuable things to me and impossible to quantify and measure.
So I decided to take a blogging mini-break to work out if the blog was turning into an albatross. Within 2 days I found I really missed it. I started reading and writing and enjoying it again. And then I got an email to say that the ranking drop that prompted all this nonsense had been a mistake and in fact my monthly rankings had gone up.
I had got in a flap about nothing. Not for the first time, I hear you say. But it was a useful lesson. It reminded me why I do this and why I need it. And how I can be my own worst enemy.