Yesterday I participated on a panel about mommy blogging as part of Social Media Week. Technically, the panel was about how you can use your blog to gain success, with success being defined as book deals, corporate sponsorships, etc.
My co-panelists, Nicole Knepper of Moms Who Drink and Swear, and Katy Maher of I Want A Dumpster Baby, are charismatic, good-hearted women. This is the third panel I’ve done with Nikki, and she is always authentic and funny, and it was the first panel I’ve done with Katy, and you can now count me among her many fans.
During the panel, we were asked the usual questions -- How do you deal with trolls? (“Boom, motherf*cker, you’re off my blog! The power of the ban!” Nicole chanted, and with a Facebook fan page of over 330,000 fans, she has clearly found plenty of people who are worthy of staying!); How much do you reveal of your children on your blog? (“My husband and I decided together that I would call our baby twins Hall & Oates on the blog, instead of using their real names,” Katy explained); How do you balance managing your blog and work and motherhood? (“I suck at it,” I responded. “I’m trying to put my phone in a basket from 4-8 pm so I can really BE with my kids instead of trying to answer messages while spending time with them.”)
And so it went, question after question, with Nikki, Katy and I sharing our experiences. But there was one question that has stayed with me more than any other. What is the most important piece of advice you would give to others who are starting a blog?
I am so glad we were asked that question. Glad enough that I have decided to expand my answer into a written blog post. So here goes:
Women do NOT need to one-up each other in order to have success. We do not need to step on each other as we climb to the top. No matter what your industry is, you can be sure that there are already other women out there working to establish themselves in the same field. Some of those women will be more successful than you; others will be less successful.
Identify the other women in your area of expertise, and instead of trying to negate their work, praise it. Recognize their achievements, and ask for them to support your work. Collaborate instead of crush. Competition does not have to be ugly. Life is not a reality-based TV show; it is a behind-the-scenes, in-the-spotlight, public-and-private collection of moments strung together that determine who you are and how you want to live your life. You can be successful and also choose to live with honor.
Without a doubt, some high-achieving women will reject you as they try to race alone to the top. It happens in every field. It will hurt, and it will anger you. Forget them, and move on. Look to the others -- the ones who will take your hand and pull you up along with them -- and focus on your growth.
There is room for more than one star. Just as we hold in our hearts the ability to love more than one child or parent or friend or lover, your industry has room to hold in esteem more than one woman.
May it happen for you, and when it does, remember that you are standing on the shoulders of those who came before you, and you are providing a base for those who come after you. And let your star shine.
This column was written by Carrie Goldman, the award-winning author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.
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