being an authentically flawed blogger

I’ve been thinking a lot about the buzz around two popular blogging topics: authenticity and blogging etiquette.

Last week I read Tam Style’s awesome post, Blogging Now. She summed up a lot of things that happen within the blogging community and called it like it (often) is. I was really impressed with her fearless truth-telling.

But then, in all honestly, I started looking inward. I started examining my own blogging habits.

How do I treat people online?

Do I treat people with special importance?

Am I exclusive?

These were not comfortable topics to look at. I felt immediately guilty or worried that I in some ways fell short of my ideals.

And then the idea of authenticity started popping in my head. This new buzzword has been flowing around the blogosphere like green beer will be on Thursday. Though the word authentic really means “not false or copied, genuine, real ” I have taken the word and warped it in my head to mean “being the perfect person online and offline in all circumstances.”

It’s time that I accept that if I am really to be genuinely me  – and authentically human – I will never be the perfect person (or blogger). It simply is not possible.

Juggling a busy schedule filled with MML, Jess LC, and my personal life, also impedes on perfection. It is good for me to have ideals around blogging and work towards them, but I need to be real about what I can do.

So it’s time to come clean.

  • Though I’d like to answer all comments in emails or in the comment section, I don’t.
  • Though I’d like to think that I answer all requests, emails, and comments perfectly, I don’t.
  • Though I’d like to go to every blogging event that happens or I’m invited to, I don’t.
  • Though I’d like to become good friends with everyone who reaches out in emails or in person via MML, I don’t.
  • Though I’d like to comment more often on other blogs, I don’t.

I simply do the best I can.

  • I do try to help people design lives with intention via MML.
  • I do read and appreciate every comment I receive.
  • I do answer every personal email via MML and Jess LC that I receive.
  • (I do sometimes take a few days to answer those emails.)
  • I do try to be my best self online and offline.

So thank you for listening as I finally learn and accept what it means to be authentically “me.” I hope that by being honest about my short-comings with blogging etiquette I can soothe other worried bloggers out there who also project perfection on authenticity.

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  1. Cathy

    Amen! I definitely fall into the “comment and email when I have time” camp. Before I started blogging, I couldn’t understand why people didn’t respond to my questions or comments right away. (A little vain, right?) It wasn’t until I started blogging (and didn’t have time to write insightful posts plus comment and email) that I started to cut others a little slack. I’m not perfect and realize that other bloggers aren’t perfect either.

  2. Jadyn

    Love this Jess! I am glad you’re being authentically you both on-line and off. So often trying to be “perfect” can keep us from doing anything. You accomplish so much and it’s a real inspiration – your reach goes much further this way than if you tried to do everything perfectly. Also, writing this helps all of us realize that it’s okay when we, too, find our own balance rather than try to live up to an ideal. xx

  3. Carla

    This comes at such a perfect time! Inspired by being a part of your March DIY DYL, I decided to post my intentions for other areas of my life. I started with blogging =) Like with all things that take up a good portion of your time, I think it’s incredibly helpful to declare your goals, your intentions – the why you’re doing it. It was a great process writing out why I blog. I love how you wrote down the things you don’t/won’t do – they’re just as if not more important than the other stuff.

    Here’s my post on blogging with intention: http://allofmenow.com/2011/03/blogging-with-intention/

  4. Jess

    Cathy, Jadyn, and Carla: Thank you so much for your comments and for letting me know I’m not the only one who has thought about these things before themselves.

    Cathy: I agree that it is easier to cut people slack as we ourselves get busier, I find myself doing just that in my own life!

    Jadyn: Thank you! I’m happy to hear by being honest about my short-comings will help others do the same.

    Carla: Nice! I’m so happy to hear how the DYL has helped you with your other intentions for life. Though I’d *like* to always do the things I wrote out above, it’s just not something that is realistic for me… but I try to work on it and accept when it doesn’t happen :).

  5. Jess…HIGH FIVE. I felt this post to my core. You are right. We all do the best we can, and if our best is not good enough then OH WELL. We had tried. I am happy to read your truth, because its sort of freeing in a way right? New follower…..Tam

  6. Maddie

    I really respect that you’ve set reasonable boundaries for yourself when it comes to blogging. With only 24 hours in one day, we don’t have time to get everything done, so it’s smart to prioritize the things that truly matter and not beat yourself up for not being “perfect” on the things that don’t.

    Personally, my own struggle for blogging authenticity comes in writing content; I often second-guess myself (“Is this interesting enough? original enough?”). Thanks for reminding me that authenticity is way more important than perfection!

  7. Suzanne

    Hi Jess! Don’t know how I found you (from a blog, most likely) We’re all so flawed in real life, it’s impossible not to be that way too in the blogosphere! Unless, we’re lying, in that case, we have bigger problems…

    We can’t do it all (although I’ve tried!) so I wouldn’t worry about it. Live your life and let that authenticity flow into your blog! 🙂

    Just my opinion (mother of 3, blogger for almost 3 years!)

  8. CB

    You are always “authentic” according to the true definition of the word, whether it’s on your blog or in real life. This is why you are relatable and inspirational and everyone loves you. It’s a bonus that you’re not perfect – otherwise, how could we truly connect with you? The important thing is that you strive toward the ideals, which is what we all should do. I just love you!

  9. Helena

    I think we are all our own worst critic. While I’m new to your site, you’ve already made me feel quite welcome and acknowledged.

  10. Sarah

    Hi, Jess.
    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve been really motivated by your blog as I design my own life around the things that are authentically me. I actually posted a little about it on my own blog today(http://thesillyenglishkaniggit.blogspot.com/2011/03/starting-over.html), and then I was reading in “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk just now, and I thought of this post when I read what he had to say about authenticity:

    “You’ll crush it as long as you concentrate on being yourself. Besides, you can’t be like me. I like wines that you don’t. I like White Castle and the New York Knicks, and you probably don’t. I’d rather drink a V8 than any fruit juice, and I hoover my veggies. All of those quirks and preferences have shaped my brand. Your brand will be unique and interesting because you are unique and interesting.”

    I think there is always something within each of us that is afraid to show our full selves, because we’re afraid that the things we criticize in ourselves (and hide from everyone else) will be full-on deal breakers for those around us. But really, dropping “the act” and becoming your full, authentic self to everyone is an incredibly freeing choice. It’s true that some people WILL take issue with some aspects of your personality or opinions you express, but when you give yourself permission to really be you, then you know that the people surrounding you really love/appreciate/support YOU, not the projected/facade/edited version of you.

    Wow, I didn’t mean for this to be a novella, but it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about, so I wanted to just share those thoughts. 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your day!

  11. Dimi

    Hi! I’m a quite new blogger and all I can say up to now is that blogging is like real life for me. Some people come out in the open and they’re true to their feelings and some people can’t/don’t/won’t. It’s very easy to understand that,through reading someone’s blog. Not all of us are social and extroverted and with perfect manners!
    If someone isn’t replying to his/her comments, like in real life, they’re probably: A)shy, B)busy or C)plain rude! 2 out of 3 are acceptable and show authenticity if you ask me! You have nothing to feel sorry about as long as you explain “your” reasons and treat others kindly! And that’s a word of advice coming from the most inconsistent blogger ever! Have a lovely week!!

  12. Piper

    Love this Jess! I’ve been feeling the same way and reading your list of “coming clean” items was like reading my own! So true and so honest. You’re right – being authentic is the only thing that matters!

  13. Jess

    @ Everyone: Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your reassurance! I feel like I got a much needed hug from you all! And I’m happy to know that others have felt the same way, and may also be cutting themselves some slack as well!

  14. Jess, I just came across Jess LC and this blog this morning (off of Plush Palate) and I am so impressed about what you’ve accomplished with your business and this blog, that I quickly passed along both url’s before I came back to dig deeper here. I recently started blogging and researched blogging ethics and copying/crediting/permissions prior to my first post because I couldn’t understand how many bloggers can just “scan” from magazines – but via Design*Sponge, I found answers to many of my questions. And now that I’m here, I have to say that “business with intention” just resonated to my core – and I’m excited to read on! I just finished Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way e-course and can say that she echoes the “authenticity” mantra – and is why she and Decor8 are as successful as they are. I can see that you are on that same path.

  15. Jess, as a anew blogger I feel the same sentiments that many new bloggers feel – nonetheless appreciate your honesty and I do understand you.

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