I have coached and counseled a lot of people on their blogging efforts and there are some common themes I hear …
How do I find the time?
What do I write about?
How do I attract an audience?
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But when I start digging, I find that none of these are usually the root cause of blogging problems. It’s something much more subtle — confidence.
That’s right. The biggest problem of all is not time, or ideas, or even organizational support. It’s having the courage to just do it.
This is a BIG DEAL. It takes guts to put yourself out there to the world. It’s scary to think that somebody might think that you’re dumb or wrong or mis-informed. For many, blogging can be a terrifying proposition, even though the passionate desire is there.
So I’ve been thinking about this. How can you overcome this trepidation and become a more confident blogger? Here are five ideas to help!
1. Limit the time you work on a post
Repeat after me: “It’s not going to be perfect, and that’s OK.”
I have never, ever pushed the “publish” button and been 100% happy with anything I have written. If I waited around for that I still would not have published my first post. Being an effective blogger means having the courage to be imperfect. In fact, I would argue that is a STRENGTH because it shows you’re human! Hurray for that.
One way to get around this (and also be a better time manager) is to set a limit. Just tell yourself that after two hours (or whatever timeframe you choose), it is what it is. Ideal blog posts for most people are between 500 and 1,000 words. So once you get to that length, you’ve made your point and you’ve run the spell-check … why not hit the publish button?
2. Re-frame the assignment
A lot of people get spooked about the word “blogger” like it is a special designation you need to earn or something. Let’s think of it another way. Can you write one 500-word essay on a topic you are passionate about just once a month? If you can do that, you can blog.
In analog terms, 500 words is one page double-spaced. Heck, you could probably do that 10 minutes before class in your school days. See, it’s not that hard, is it?
3. Write for yourself
I am getting a little fed up with this whole idea of “personas.” For many, it is a best practice to develop detailed profiles of target customers for our content and then write carefully-crafted pieces that are supposed to appeal to that personality. Seems like a lot of pressure to me.
Let’s just get over that,shall we? Your customers want to know YOU and your ideas, not what you think they want to hear. Tell YOUR story, don’t write a script. If you’re going to stand out, you need to be orginal. The only way to be original is to be yourself. Relax, have fun and your readers will find you!
4. Take advantage of personal coaching
You can read, and read, and read about blogging but I find sometimes you still need to just talk to somebody to get that little push to get over the hump. I’m not sure of the psychology behind this, but when I TALK to people about blogging, it seems to have a bigger impact, perhaps a more personal impact, than when they are just reading a post.
You can get a ton of great advice and a boost of confidence in just one hour with a blogging coach. There are tons of people willing to help out there. Look at some of your favorite blogs and consider: “Is this the type of blog I would like to aspire to” and see if they will help you. They probably will and it could be an excellent investment of your time and a little bit of money.
5. Put fear of the negative in context
I’m working on an entire post about strategies to deal with negativity but first, let’s be realistic. It is highly unlikely that you are going to get hate mail over your blog post.
In four years of blogging, I have received more than 25,000 comments from readers. Here is how many I have deleted because they were inappropriate: SIX. That is two hundredths of a percent.
That is not to say I don’t have dissenters, or even some hot debates, but that’s part of the fun, right? The point is, overall your social media connections are going to be helpful, supportive, and kind. Don’t create embarrassments in your mind that are simply never going to materialize. Focus on the overwhelmingly positive potential ahead of you — the chance to meet new friends, learn, hone a new skill, have fun, and perhaps create new business opportunities.
Blogging has changed my life and this is a magical time when ANYBODY can grab this opportunity and publish so your voice has a place in the world. Don’t let fear stop you.
How are you finding the courage to take that big step?
Image courtesy DC Comics. And I can’t wait for the new Superman movie!