To Have and Have Not

My blog is better than your blog.

OK, it probably isn’t, but I had you thinking for a second. Even if it was a “Who does this woman think she is?!” statement. That’s fine. The thing is, not too many people look at the things they create and think, Damn, I am fi-ne (two syllables).

We tend to not speak highly of ourselves except in two situations: 1) We are applying for a job, or 2) someone else gets something we wanted.

Boom! Suddenly we have better recipes, take better photos, have more followers (or “better” followers), write much more eloquently, or have a prettier face for main-stream media. And we’ll be sure to say that within our private groups, grumbling about the haves and sticking ourselves in the have-nots.

Ahhh, jealousy. It makes the world go ‘round.

Let’s face it – jealousy is kind of fun. It gives us both a villain and something to strive for. It makes us cranky when we see someone get what we want, and gives us perspective when we realize that we weren’t really trying to get that thing.

You see, that’s the kicker of jealousy. People who get what they want, be it a cool new job, a fun gig with your favorite brand (how dare they!), a segment on TV, or the holy grail of a book offer – those people work for it. Sure, there are people who are a bit luckier and get a quick ride to the top, but even those people have to figure out how to breathe at the mountain’s peak.

I am inherently lazy. If you know me, this might sound odd, because I started working when I was 14 and, if you include blogging, haven’t stopped. (If you don’t include blogging [or motherhood], I’ve had exactly 7 months not working since 1994.) My life goes in waves of working my ass off coupled with finding that same ass on the sofa, staring at the TV instead of working on my book, working on recipes, or working on blog engagement. Right now I have 10 unfinished posts in WordPress, as well as a queue a mile long of recipes finished, half-finished, or only dreamed of (certainly not photographed). For how long I’ve been blogging about food, my stats are pretty horrendous.

Sure, this might be considered false modesty right here – my friends know how much I hate it when bloggers pretend they suck even when they have the numero uno retweeted post of the year – but the truth is that we’ve all got some level of that. The fact that anyone might be jealous of my blog is mind-boggling, especially when I wish I had some of their talents.

So let’s work on it. If this is what you want, go for it. If you want to write a book, write it. If you want to teach cooking classes, start small with your friends at home and work your way into educational kitchen spaces. Better pictures? Read a book, take a class, take more pictures. If you want to be a better blogger, look at the blogs you love for inspiration and practical take-away, but for the love of bacon, do not copy them. They are they and you are you.

It’s OK to grumble about not getting something, but maybe consider not tweeting it out for affirmation. Congratulate the person who does get it. Don’t complain about someone else’s recipe unless you’ve eaten the product. (And even then, gently offer suggestions in private. If they don’t want your review, that’s their problem, not yours.)

If it’s all too much, turn things off. Trust me when I say that every. single. blogger. has thought about quitting their blog. Or their regular job. I did quit my regular job, got a new job working in food and recipes and blogging (dream!) and still think about quitting my blog. When that happens I get away from the Internet, because jealousy can be overwhelming, and at that point it’s no longer fun. Remember that mountaintop? People do fall down, you know. Not everyone survives.

So take a deep breath, and do what you do, because no one defines your success but you.



13 Responses to To Have and Have Not

  1. Barbara | Creative Culinary October 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    How did someone so young become so wise beyond her years? Great insight, well said and don’t stop. :)


    Megan Reply:

    Thanks Barb… I think it comes from becoming one of those self-sufficient people at an early age.


  2. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) October 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    A-men sister. So well said and needing to be said. Everyone should read this post. I’ve always said the harder you work the luckier you are, right? ;)


  3. Paula October 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Love how you think and that you put it in writing!


  4. Ann Mah October 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I just found your lovely blog via the lovely Mardi and I couldn’t agree more — everyone should read this post!


  5. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies October 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    If there’s one thing about blogging that I will never ever take for granted, it’s the beautiful friendships and people it has brought into my life. I hope you know that I am grateful to have such exquisite writers like you and Shaina as my friends. I learn from you daily. Today is definitely no different.

    Thank you for this post. I needed it. And thank you for being my pal. I truly adore you.


  6. Jeanne @ Cooksister October 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    This post should be required reading for all bloggers. So much of what you’ve said resonates with me – great post!


  7. Shaina October 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Megan. Too often I am grumbling about what I don’t have, but not because I see someone else and want to be them. Instead, I have this ideal of what I should be and get frustrated at the lack of things happening right now. Right. now. That is when I want them; therefore, they should be happening even when I’d rather sit on the couch and read than work towards them. Not that I can’t do both. I just need to be sure not to mope in my reading.


  8. kelly @ kellybakes October 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    I wanted to quote so many snippets from this post in my comment. A great reminder to focus on your own goals to get where you want to be, celebrate your successes, learn from your mistakes, but also celebrate (not begrude) other peoples’ accomplishments too. After all, that’s what community is all about right–celebrating the joys (big or small) and supporting one another?


  9. Lauren @ Gourmet Veggie Mama October 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Thank you for this — such a wonderful reminder. I have been learning and re-learning (and re-re-learning) this lesson over the past few years.


  10. Casey@Good. Food. Stories. October 3, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    I was actually having one of those crisis moments about “where is my site going?” on Monday night – were you in my head?


  11. Colleen (Souffle Bombay) October 3, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Great insight! I love your final line…. “do what you do, because no one defines your success but you.” So true, everyone that began blogging began for a reason…often known only to them. maybe that changed or maybe they lost sight of it. I feel that at the end of the day it just needs to be fun…and sometimes it is easy to lose sight of that.


  12. Erica M October 3, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    We were separated at birth. You may or may not remember me. I was the one screaming all the way down the birth canal. You seemed calm.

    Would you please consider submitting this post to our writing challenge open for submissions until tomorrow? It’s a perfect fit for what our readers love. The link is 77-open


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