Three different friends over the last two days have told me about their fear of creating, a fear of blogging. They each had their own demons to wrestle: perfectionism, failure, self-consciousness. These are difficult to overcome, and I’m not going to pretend that you just have to follow a few steps and you’ll overcome your fear, but I can tell you a few things I know about it all, and see if it’s helpful. Here are a few ideas to help you look past some of your fears.
Keep a Scratch Blog
Whether you’re just starting out, or even just sometimes not sure if something you’re thinking about is right for your blog, consider writing it to some place else. Consider using a Tumblr blog as a “scratch” blog, a place to write stuff that’s not fully formed, or that you’re concerned might be taken wrong. You might not even brand the site, maybe not even make it publicly visible.
Say it Out Loud
One way that you can get a little more confident in your writing is by reading it out loud to yourself. Go over what you’ve typed and read it as if talking to a friend. Does it make sense? Are there parts you want to change? Try a few times.
Read and Read and Read
Not just blogs, but read lots of things. Read magazines. Read books. Read things that make you think, and then understand more than what you read. Understand how they CONVEYED what you read.
Lots of times, we talk about how we’re unsure how to do something, but we don’t do the two parts of the puzzle: figure it out, and then practice.
Start by Commenting Elsewhere
There’s nothing wrong with developing your voice for blogging by commenting on other people’s blogs for a while. Go into blogs that you find interesting, and expand on what someone said in the comments, or disagree, or add your own spin.
But Start Eventually
There’s a lot of ways you can procrastinate and throat clear. One is to use Twitter instead of your blog. Another is to comment and think, and support others instead of doing your own thing. Another still is to read blogs and consume podcasts and tell people what they’re doing right and wrong, but not add something new to the pot. You might worry that you’re going to say something wrong, or offend, or whatever.
Set a real date. Set some time in the next few weeks (or a month at most?) to post something loud and proud and made by you to your blog, and then do it. See what happens. First off, with millions and millions of blogs out there competing for eyeballs, it’ll be a lot less climactic than you think.
And Then, Do More
Once you get rolling, get into the habit, and just start producing, it doesn’t stop. If I were writing full time for a living, I could keep going for quite some time before I hit a wall, but that wasn’t always the case. I used to get blocks all the time. What changed? I practiced more, and more, and more, and more. I wrote ALL the time. I got into the habit of writing no matter what.
Made all the difference in the world.
What do you think? How have you approached your worries or hurdles to blogging or making media? I’d love your thoughts if you’re someone feeling blocked or a bit afraid. You can even comment anonymously, if that helps.
Photo credit Tom@HK