Why I Have the Worst Personality To Be a Blogger

You may know that in a former life, I was a high school teacher. Much of what made me good at teaching also makes me good at blogging. I am organized, creative, efficient and responsible. However, I have several traits that made teaching a difficult profession for me—traits that likewise make me an unlikely candidate for turning blogging into my business.

I am …

… a worrier

I don’t use the term anxiety lightly; I am an anxious person to the point of needing treatment at various points in my life. I have my generalized anxiety and OCD very well managed thanks to medication (which I still take) and some solid therapy (which I completed prior to having children), but there is no healthy amount of medication that will stop me from being a worrier. It’s no longer a clinical, paralyzing worry, but it can still leave me with that unpleasant pit in my stomach and keep me awake some nights. What do I worry about when it comes to my blog? Well, the fragility of my enterprise, for one. I don’t have an inventory. I don’t make a product that I sell. My blog is completely and entirely dependent on something I cannot even see (the Internet). It’s dependent on people reading what I write. Currently, Facebook is making it extremely stressful for bloggers like me with a Branded Content policy that is difficult to understand and seems to threaten my very existence as a blogger who uses Facebook as one of the main ways to share her work. I worry that I’ll wake up tomorrow and my Facebook page will be deleted. Want to know something funny? Every single time I have a message notification on my Facebook page, for a split second I am convinced it’s bad news. For a split second, I’m sure it’s either Facebook administration telling me they’re taking my page down or a reader who bought something I recommended and hates it. Neither of these things has ever actually happened, by the way. Just know that if you message me to ask about menstrual products or baby carriers or cats, for a brief moment I am convinced your message is a harbinger of doom.

… a people-pleaser

I would love to spend the day in the shoes of someone who legitimately does not GAF about what other people think of her. I have tried. I have tried to be that woman and I have failed. I don’t know if you are aware, but being on social media is one giant invitation to be judged. It’s also a place where people feel really comfortable sharing their harshest judgments with you directly. The thing is, I use social media and my blog to express MY opinions, which I would never tout as unbiased or completely objective. I have beliefs, and people who don’t share my beliefs are certainly welcome to disagree with me. I just feel bad when they disagree with me. Even if they act like petulant children and lash out at me in all-caps that they are un-liking my page, I still get this little feeling like I’m being punched in the stomach. When I “came out” (PUN INTENDED) as pro-marriage equality—a stance on which I shall never waiver—I lost a lot of Facebook fans. The worrier in me feared this could affect my relationships with potential sponsors. The people-pleaser in me felt bad that I’d pissed people off: even if they were people with whom I fundamentally disagreed. On a less controversial note, I just don’t like to disappoint people, even if their disappointment is unfounded or exaggerated. I recently had a commenter tell me that one of my Holiday Gift Guides disappointed her. A slew of justifications and apologies spilled from my fingers. I didn’t even need to engage with the comment, but I just can’t stand disappointing people! (I also feel terrible when I have a giveaway and it’s not open to both Canada and the US, even though that’s always the sponsor’s call and not because I have some vendetta against either my compatriots or my southern neighbours.)

… a sensitive soul

Much to my husband’s dismay, I am brutally sensitive. I can come off as sarcastic and nonchalant about things, but I take everything so freaking personally! I like to be liked. Being disliked is one of my least favourite things. I have seen some appalling comments from Internet trolls (so as to be differentiated from animated trolls voiced by Justin Timberlake) addressed to fellow bloggers, and I am so lucky that I have thus far been spared. Because it would destroy me. I mean, I’d totally laugh it off and share it with my readers to say: “Haha, look at this mean troll!” But on the inside … it wouldn’t be pretty. My fans and readers are overwhelmingly positive and supportive, and I think this is mostly because I am very sincere and very honest in everything I post. Maman Loup isn’t a persona, it’s just me. I am not trying to create a curated Instagram feed or an idealistic Facebook page; I’m just being myself and I’m happy to capitalize on my imperfections. One particularly inconvenient imperfection is that I take it personally whenever my Facebook fan count goes down.  

… a perfectionist

There are many aspects of my life in which I am very happy to be less than perfect. In my housekeeping and my cooking, for example, I know I could do better. Perhaps to the chagrin of some, these are not areas in which I strive for perfection. However, I want my work—in this case, my blog—to be perfect. I am constantly comparing myself to other bloggers. “Her pictures are so much nicer!” “Wow! She gets to work with Dyson?” “I like her site design so much better than mine!” “Her pins get re-pinned so much more than mine!” “She has a professional headshot!” And unlike, say, a novel which has been published and now sits on bookstore shelves, a blog is never “done.” There are always ways to perfect even the most minute details, and fixing or changing one thing can often have a domino effect. I shudder when I look back to my first posts and my first pictures, and I wish I had a whole month to simply redo everything now that I more or less know what I’m doing. I hate that I do not know anything about programming or code, which means I would need to hire someone to make significant changes to my site, and that someone would discover I am a total phony who doesn’t even know what javascript means! (Anxiety and perfectionism are intrinsically linked, n’est-ce pas?)

… a rule-follower

To get ahead in the business world, it seems like you have to break (or gently bend) at least a couple of rules. I really, really like to A) know the rules and B) follow the rules and C) let other people know when they are unwittingly breaking the rules. You can see why I was so popular in high school, right? I know there are bloggers out there who earn a lot more money than I do because they are comfortable with ignoring a host of rules ranging from disclosing when you are being sponsored to providing paid-links to companies. It is technically against Facebook’s promotional guidelines to ask giveaway entrants to tag their friends or share your giveaway post, so of course, I never do this. (Although I have yet to see a consequence to flouting this rule.) My giveaways don’t reach as many people because I am a goody two-shoes.

… a guilt magnet

Intrinsically linked to my anxiety and my perfectionism would be my propensity for guilt. Like anxiety and a desire to do things well, guilt serves a useful place in the human existence … but my guilt tends to be disproportionate and misplaced. I wrote a review for a product that I genuinely loved, but it didn’t work well for someone else. #SoMuchGuilt. In an attempt to make sure a recent giveaway winner received the most benefit from her prize, I inquired about her partner (this was a prize that could be used by both parents). While I was inclusive in my language with regards to her partner’s possible gender, I neglected to account for the not-particularly-uncommon reality of being a single parent. I don’t think I offended her, and she knew my heart was in the right place, but I still feel awful! I mean, how annoying must it be to always have people (like me) assume there’s a father in the picture? Couldn’t I have just asked if anyone else in her life might use the product? I am a fundamentally and painfully empathetic person, and this probably makes me a pretty decent friend, but it also gives me #AllTheFeels all the time.

… a finisher

As with my perfectionism, this trait doesn’t apply to everything in my life, as evidenced by the latch-hook rug kit that sat in my closet for five years when I was a kid. But when it comes to school or work, I have a hard time resting until a job is done. When my anxiety was unchecked in university, an impending due date (and by impending, I mean like a month or two away) would riddle me with worry and keep me up all night because I needed the assignment to be done so I could take it off my mind. With blogging, there is always a long to-do list, and it’s unusual to have absolutely every commitment wrapped up with a bow so I can “rest.” Even if I have two weeks before a deadline, I hate having unfinished work looming over me. (And it always feels like it’s looming.) This means I hardly ever allow myself “free time.” If the kids are occupied and the house is in relatively good condition, I can’t just go to bed or read a magazine or watch TV if there’s something for my site that I deem “unfinished.”

… a motor brain

You’ve heard of a motor mouth, right? Well, I’m that, too. But likely the reason I talk so fast is I’m trying to keep up with my brain. I am constantly coming up with ideas for my site. And I mean constantly. I decided to include “motor brain” in this post at 1 AM as I was trying to fall back to sleep last night. In the shower, in the car, at the sink and in my sleep—these are all places where I am mentally composing blog posts or Facebook statuses. As a kid, I remember wishing I could hook up a printer to my brain, so I could just go to sleep and know the amazing idea I was working on would still be there in the morning. Maybe in my lifetime this technology will come to fruition? While it’s awesome to be creative and always have projects on the horizon, I wish I could learn to turn my brain off from time to time so I can actually relax. One thing that helps a lot is jotting down my ideas on my whiteboard or in my agenda so at least I don’t worry about forgetting them.

So why do I still do it?

Well, for one thing, the traits above make it harder for me to be a teacher than to be a blogger. As much as there’s always something I can be working on to perfect my website or my social media, there’s infinitely more to perfect (and with greater ramifications) when it comes to teaching. If I don’t finish a blog post on time (and more often than not, it is a self-imposed deadline), there’s no major consequence. If I don’t get tests marked or a lesson planned on time, I have a classroom of teenagers who are affected. When it comes to wanting to please everyone, I can at least step back and realize that my readers and clients are out there on the interwebs and are not people with whom I interact in person on a daily basis. I would rather deal with an onslaught of displeased comments on a blog post than a classroom full of disgruntled students or their disappointed parents. My blog allows me to explore my creativity and even some aspects of pedagogy, and while it challenges me in many ways, it doesn’t mentally and emotionally exhaust me the way that teaching always did. That was an exhaustion with which I could cope before I had children but one I am grateful to be able to avoid now that I am a mother. I know that many, many men and women out there with the same “Type A” personality traits as me make lifelong careers out of teaching (on top of being parents), and they have my utmost respect.  Realistically, my personality is going to cause me grief no matter what career I choose, and it caused me grief when I wasn’t doing paid work at all. (Motherhood is pretty dicey for someone who likes to please everyone, all the time.) The only way to get past the unpleasant feelings is to face them every day. While pre-anxiety-treatment-Lindsay would’ve never opened her Facebook messages for fear they were negative, post-anxiety-treatment-Lindsay says “screw you” to the knot of foreboding in her gut and opens them anyway.

Is your personality well-suited to your profession?

17 responses to “Why I Have the Worst Personality To Be a Blogger”

  1. Amie M

    I am a Business Analyst and Project Manager in an IT development shop at an agricultural non-profit, and I hate people. My job is entirely to work with people in communicating plans and getting requirements from stakeholders so we can build solutions for them, and I have no patience for people. I hate talking on the phone, I’d much rather meet face-to-face or via email.

    I am even worse with the public.

    1. Lindsay

      I HATE TALKING ON THE PHONE! The advent of texting and emails has made my life so much better!

  2. Tara Betterley

    Very good read. I can relate to you on so many levels..

  3. De

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing!
    I’ve always enjoyed your blog and your frankness (I’m sorry I really don’t know if that’s the correct spelling ?). Your writing/blog has always seemed genuine and open and not like you’re putting on a persona. And while we may not agree exactly on every issue, I don’t believe people have to agree all the time. …as long as someone doesn’t believe something horrendous of course lol. Unfortunately, in this anonymous internet age, people have the “courage” to say things and behave ways they wouldn’t have the boldness to in person. I hope Maman Loup’s grows and does well and that you’re able to avoid trolls Internet or otherwise.

    1. Lindsay

      Haha! I love that you are apologizing to me about spelling. You have, in fact, spelled it correctly! I agree, people don’t need to agree all the time. (Except agreeing that my blog is awesome, of course.) I like to get into respectful disagreements and learn from people, but this is hard on the internet, as you say.

      1. De

        Of course! If someone doesn’t think it’s awesome then we need to reconsider our friendship or association lol. I kid. But yes there can be respectful disagreements and when people remember respect it makes all the difference. I find it interesting when people only like to talk with someone who agrees exactly with them or they get aggressive or dismissive. I like to have the opportunity to learn what others think, possibly change my mind because I’m not always right, be just be challenged to know why I feel/believe something or even sometimes change others mind. You won’t get that from always agreeing.
        Haha sorry I wasn’t trying to go on and on. People just… amaze me we’ll go with that. And I wanted to be sure someone who maybe does not feel 100% the same 100% of the time let’s you know they’re here and not going anywhere ;).

  4. Alana

    I love your honesty and enjoy reading everything you write! I can relate to alot of these things.
    I was a painfully shy child, and a ‘loner’ in school. I am not a “people person”. However, before having a child, I worked in retail for several years. It was tough for me to deal with customers and I always felt like I was acting because I would rather run and hide than talk to new people.

  5. Maegan K

    We might actually be the same person. You’ve done such a perfect job of defining some very complex feelings.

    1. Lindsay

      That would explain how our daughters look so much alike.

  6. Melissa O

    Wow can I ever relate to this! Add in there that I used to be a procrastinator while STILL worrying obsessively about the looming deadline and you have summed up my entire education experience. I’m still learning that even if everyone doesn’t love or even like me, THAT’S OKAY because lots of people DO! And screw Facebook. Deactivating was one of my best decisions. Now I get your newsletter directly in my inbox and don’t get distracted by all the other sh** on there trying to gobble up my time and take me away from my kid. Keep on being you Lindsay because YOU SO TOTALLY ROCK! 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      I am so relieved that even though you left Facebook, you still see my posts! That’s one of my big anxieties: losing my readership if Facebook ever were to shut me down. The fact is that the lion’s share of my blog traffic DOES get referred by Facebook! Procrastination + looming deadline worry is an awful combo!

  7. I can definately relate! Every time I ship an item I have sewed for someone I have similar anxieties! Accepting that no matter what you do you will never please everyone is harder than it really should be.
    I think people see the honesty in your work and have a lot of respect for that and it keeps them coming back.
    Keep up the great work!

    1. Lindsay

      Thank you Jackie!! I think my honesty (and inability to lie) is a definite asset for review blogging … or it could be an impediment … depending on how you look at it?!

  8. Melanie

    Thank you so much for this post especially with the New Year here. It resonated with me on such a personal level…I always thought it was just me that felt like no matter what career I chose I would never succeed because of my personality and the way I think. Being a mom is the perfect job for me although by no means am I perfect at it. Thank you for sharing and for your honesty…I love following your blog!

    1. Lindsay

      Thank you for your kind words! Somethings my perfectionism makes being a Mom hard … but thankfully, motherhood has also taught me to let a lot of things go!

  9. Cynthia

    Thank you for your honest and thoughtful blog post Linds! There are so many of us type “A”, control freak, perfectionistic, anxious people (and teachers) out there, it is refreshing to know that we are not alone. I appreciate how “real” your pictures, posts, and problems are and that you’re so willing to “risk” in sharing it with the masses.
    Your blog readers need to know, however, what a BRILLIANT teacher you are and how lucky we all are that you’ve chosen another venue in which to teach. We miss you!!

    1. Lindsay

      *all the feels*

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Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

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