Jesus Blogger Day 7 – Don’t Be a Blog-Clone

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If you want to start from the beginning of my 31-day challenge click here.

Staying true to your message

Don’t you HATE going to the book store lately? (Or the Amazon “book” store on your Kindle, if you are like me!)

Every single book looks like Hunger Games.

Don’t believe me, check these book covers out…(click the cover to see them on Amazon* – I’m actually tempted to read all of these…especially Strikers since it’s about Texas!)

Hunger Games 199x300 2037169 Testing 208x300 7633371 Legend 204x300 2416934
Infinite 198x300 6782799 Divergent 198x300 7813028 Strikers 199x300 3892803

I know dystopian fiction is not a “new” thing…we all remember reading Geoge Orwell’s 1984 in high school, right?

But the amount of “riding the wave” dystopian fiction writers is at an all time high.

I also understand that MANY people probably wrote a dystopian book before the whole Hunger Games triology, but BECAUSE of Hunger Games, they finally got published. Publishing companies (despite the wishes of many would-be writers) are in the business TO MAKE MONEY.

Also, having a similar “look’ allows customers an easy way to recognize the genre they are looking for while browsing their favorite book store.

I get it.

But, at what point does “looking” like every one else make your message look like just another copy of so-and-so’s blog?

Pumpkinlong 194x300I recently created a Pinterest-friendly image about pumpkin carving. It was a “new” take on an old post image.

But honestly, I felt like a sellout.

You see, I had studied a post image from a super famous blogger and thought “her post images are so crisp and clean” and “she uses that super popular font that everyone seems to like”…and I copied her. Not totally…but kinda.

But somewhere in the process, I lost me.

You see I’m BOLD. I don’t do “a wisp of turquoise” (this is how my sister describes the color she wants for her kitchen cabinets).

I love dark colors. I like to paint all four walls deep garnet. My furniture is antique. My rugs always have golden scrolls.

It’s like I can’t get away from it. I’ll set out to do the “Martha Stewart” look…but when I’m at the checkout counter at Ross, the things in my hands are always dark and bold. (“Do you love it? I love it! I got it at Ross!”)

After designing the aforementioned pumpkin image, I asked my sister what she thought. You know what she said? She liked my regular pins! At a blog conference I went to, I signed up to have a professional Pinterester from Ahalogy look over my pinnable blog pins and asked what she thought. And again, she liked my regular pins! (She did made a recommendation they I elongate them…which I will be doing).

The branding I had done was working. The tweaking it needed was minimal. I didn’t need to copy someone else!

Bloggingtip Day7 665x1024 1871041 You can always learn from others. Study what they do — what works and what doesn’t. It’s a great way to learn. Like I said in Day 5 – When Your Blog Changes Direction, I learned A TON of my graphic design skills from being able to look into the Photoshop files of people who were WAY better than I was!

But in the end, we have to be who God created us to be.

There’s a famous quote you’ve all seen. “You were born an original. Don’t die a copy” – John Mason

It’s true for blogging. It’s true for life.

In Matthew 3, JTB (that’s John the Baptist for those people who didn’t read yesterday’s post) preached the same message of repentance that many had preached before him. The Pharisees came out to see him in action.

But when he saw them he yelled “copycats!” Okay, he didn’t really. But he did yell at them! He said,

“Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance!”

The Pharisees and Sadducees looked and acted like they were truly repentant — just like John. They had their robes and their long prayers. But deep down they were posers! (See my blog post, “I am Such a Poser!)

They weren’t the real deal…they were fakes! The Pharisees and Sadducees love the notoriety of looking holy. But they were just pretending to be holy. Pretending to be original, when really they were just copying what everyone else in the temple was doing and saying. Maybe at one point they loved God. But now they just enjoyed “looking” like they loved God.

And John the Baptist knew it! Worse still…God knew it.

The thing about copying other people’s blogs is that you think you are being sly. Maybe you are fooling a couple of people. But other bloggers will know you are just a blog-clone. Even if they don’t, you know…and God knows.

It’s hard not to copy sometimes. You want to be popular…to sit at the “cool” kids table.  If you see a certain font that is gone viral on Pinterest, the tendency is to use it because, like the Pharisees, you want to “look” like you are one of those sought-after bloggers!

The font on my “Jesus Blogger” pin is a popular one. It’s called Jenna Sue. But I started using it before I realized it was popular. (I’m sure it was already popular…I just didn’t know that when I downloaded it!) My affinity to use it came out of a natural appreciation of it, not out of a place of copying.

Of course you can use popular fonts! That’s is not what this post is about. The point of this blog series IS NOT what to use or not use…it’s the heart of the matter.

As a blogger, your heart is what God is after. Not a list of dos and do nots!

He looked at the hearts of the Pharisees and Sadducees and didn’t like what he saw. When I looked at my copycat heart after creating my pumpkin carving pin, I didn’t like what I saw.

I want my images, my content, my everything to be genuine. Genuinely me!

JTB gives us a warning in these verses. He says that Jesus is coming with a winnowing fan. This fan will blow away the “chaff’ (aka fake stuff) and burn it in the fire. OUCH!

Let’s stop cloning and start being a true follower of what God has empowered us to accomplish through his Spirit.

If you’ve been a “Blog Clone” DO NOT:

  • Stop blogging
  • Take down all the stuff you feel you’ve “copied”
  • Beat yourself up for being unoriginal
  • Send an apology letter to the blogger you’ve cloned
  • Stop looking at other people for inspiration

If you’ve been a “Blog Clone” DO:

  • Pray and reassess your blog
  • Starting today, design/write stuff that is uniquely you!
  • Realize that blogging is a learning process, mistakes included!
  • Take a short break from any blogger you’ve majorly “cloned/blog stalked” to “reset” your inner genuineness!
  • Find one thing you like about something you’ve been inspired by and incorporate it in a new and fresh way, but not in a blog clone-y way!
Elaine Mingus

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