But, also because of that, some of them are caged by fear. Oh, they have things they want to write about. But they’re overwhelmed. They simply don’t do it, OR they begin and settle. I don’t know which is worse. They’re both equally tragic.
If you don’t start – or if you don’t push at it – you lose your opportunity not only for achieving the wonder and reward of blogging, but of leaving a mark!
Fear is good– it’s actually wisdom. It means you know what could go wrong and what’s at stake. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be afraid. But you should certainly triumph over your fears.
The Fear of Being Too Big For Your Boots
I’m just a little guy in a big ocean, and the big fish are already at it.
I’m not the first one out there to offer blogging advice and services. Believe me, I know this first fear well. When I planned this post, this is what came to mind. I remember it vividly. It made me dilly-dally.
“I’m not anybody! Who would listen to me and care what I write about?”
“Maybe I should just do this instead.”
“Maybe I should stay here and do this little thingie.”
“Okay, I’ll do it, but I shouldn’t expect much– I shouldn’t bother doing this step and that step…”
This is toxic. It holds us back from working hard and achieving great results.
Steps to take:
- It’s true, you’re just a little guy, a tiny voice. But that doesn’t mean no one will listen to you and talk to you. You will have friends, you will make connections.
- List the WHY’s and WHAT’s of your blog and goals. That’s your vision and mission: your purpose, your audience, and your unique selling point. Too often, beginner bloggers lose sight of what made them begin in the first place. Don’t. This is your guiding light, your rope when the going gets tough.
The Fear of Not Knowing Enough
you’re on the right track to knowing more than enough to make great progress with your blog! We all start in the world with zero knowledge. But the good news is researching something you love is something to love in itself, isn’t it?
Also another good piece of news: Everything is user-friendly now, and if not, there IS a user-friendly alternative out there, like Photoshop vs. its alternative, Canva.com!
Steps to take:
- List what you perceive as your weaknesses and stumbling blocks.
- Research them to assure yourself with knowledge on how to work on and around them.
You WILL make mistakes, and that’s okay. It’s part of the experience!
What to watch out for:
- Getting so addicted to researching that you don’t actually DO anything! (Ahem, I’m definitely guilty of this one!)
- Studying is good, but you also learn by doing. AND you can only make forward progress by doing, too!
The Fear of What People Will Say and Think
Crippling. Not just for bloggers, but for creators and artists in general. Novelists, painters, musicians, ballerinas– this is what freezes us up. And in blogging, and in today’s world of cyber bullying, it’s terrifying.
Family and friends are mostly supportive, but for some, this could also be an issue. It might be a matter of naysayers, worried you’d quit your job for blogging, or that you’d cancel on nights out to concentrate on setting up what needs to be set up…
And then there’s your audience. What if they hate you? What if they shout you down for tryingand failing? It’s classic and natural.
- Take small steps toward blogging–reading, commenting, sharing– and very soon, people will accept it as part of who you are rather than a drastic addition.
- Comment on blogs. Join in on conversations. You wouldn’t be so terrified if you’re no longer the new kid in the playground, would you? Join them. Introduce yourself and get to know your playmates (a.k.a. Your audience).
- Read a lot. You’ll notice what people like, and what they’re looking for. This isn’t just for idea generation: it’s also a good confidence-booster, that what you’re about to write has an audience that would be grateful for it.
- Write TO your ideal reader. That’s just what Stephen King calls it. His ideal reader is his wife, Tabitha. If a certain blog post is making you sweat, imagine a conversation with a friend, a spouse, a family member… It could be a friendly fellow-blogger, or a friendly someone in the comments or forums you visited. Write to make him/her laugh. Write as if you’re just explaining something to them. Don’t think of it as public speaking. Think of it as a friendly chat. Bonus: Doing this trick gives your writing a great personality. You’re being yourself, you’re real, you’re relatable, you’re funny/sarcastic. Readers will love that.
- You WILL get negative comments. It’s okay! You grow from them (I know this from experience!). Or they tickle you because sometimes they mean your reach is wide enough to catch even trolls.
The Fear of Guest Posting
Connect the above fears– but now including the editors or blogger of the big-fish site you’re eyeing for a guest post.
Some bloggers who mentioned this fear said they were scared to be rejected and getting so down in the dumps from that rejection that it sours their love for blogging. Some said they’re scared of landing the slot but then falling short of the editor’s expectations. Again, rejection.
It’s a bit like a case of romance. Instead of asking someone on a date, you stay on the “friendzone” to not ruin the relationship.
Some fear the resulting traffic to their little blog. It’s a bit like a case of agoraphobia. So you stay inside your own space.
Steps to take:
- Take the right steps toward a successful guest post. Again, knowledge is power. If you know what you’re doing, you increase your chances of getting a YES.
- If you get a NO, that’s okay. Keep moving forward! Don’t take it personally. This is business, and in business, you would hear your share of NO as much as YES.
- Make your blog presentable, with which you can be proudly welcome the new visitors you’d collect from your guest post!
Getting a rejection doesn’t mean you ruin something. You don’t ruin your blog, you don’t ruin your established rapport with a fellow blogger… Instead, you’re moving closer to nailing it.
The Fear of Taking a Stand
Another regular, this one. I’ve seen so many blogs with content that stays on the fence, just so it wouldn’t offend anyone. Even when an issue or a piece of disruptive news is currently huge in their niche, they don’t ride it. They “stay out of it.” Why?! That’s your chance to be seen! You don’t have to “join a war” but you do have an opinion, don’t you? Even just a simple quip illustrated in a graphic can snowball into a hundred thousand shares!
On the flipside, there’s also that fear of not taking a stand AND consequently having a boring blog.
Steps to take:
- Be true to yourself. Remember your ideal reader. They would appreciate your opinion.
- Taking a stand is an important aspect of writing with personality. Remember that readers love passion. Even if they disagree with you, you do engage them. Bonus: You’d get a lively comment section!
- Learn how to ride the news. This is a clever technique of going viral.
What to watch out for:
- Becoming argumentative just for the sake of it. Readers will detect this and won’t like it.
The Fear of Products and Sales
Yes– right? You’ve befriended your audience, why would you sell to your friends, and why would you ask for money for doing something you love? And what about that love: your blog– if you do products and sales, the blog content will suffer… This mindset could even stop you from letting the ads in– even if you could make a killing from them.
It’s not noble, it’s blindness to potential and your chance to serve. Lead magnets are parts of products and sales. Affiliates, reviews– even if you don’t create or produce your own product, what you do create and provide in your blog–text posts, guides, slideshows, videos, graphics– are all products you can sell.
What you take as payment won’t always be money: it could be emails, social media sharing, etc. But don’t be afraid to provide something in exchange for cash!
Steps to take:
- Make it a goal to make money from your blog. I’m not saying it’s THE goal– more often than not, it’s a bonus of working hard to build your audience! But make it one of your goals. This way, you’re not distracted from it, and your brain includes it in the planning sessions.
- Make a list of what you provide. So many bloggers are entrepreneurs. If you’re not one, you can be.
- Layout a blogging plan like you would a real business plan, except you’re planning with your blog in mind. Look at what others are doing, and do it better.
- Don’t be embarrassed about it. The fact is it takes money just to run a blog. Your fellow bloggers know this. You may have seen some who have DONATE buttons. You could have one, too, especially when you’ve established a readership who love going for a visit, and you don’t let ads in.
- Let advertisers in. Look into affiliates. Do both NOT wincing with your eyes closed, but with eyes wide open. Filter and choose well. And hey, promotion begets promotion. Promote others’ products now, and they just may promote yours down the road.
The Fear of Networking
“I’m a loner. I’m not cut out for the socializing requirements of blogging.”
“I wouldn’t know how to talk to people!”
“I’d like to blog but I’d have to network, right? No thanks.”
I know a lot of people who still have this misconception that blogging means networking– as in, collecting emails and cold-mailing people your blog posts, or flitting around other people’s blogs commenting so you’d lead that blogger and those readers to your blog.
That’s exhausting. And spammy!
More than a decade ago, this was true for the more intrepid and daring, but not any more. Social media has made it so easy (and non-spammy) to reach out and become a contributing member of the community you want to join.
Steps to take:
- Follow people and pages you like so you can share and comment (thoughtfully!) on their posts. That’s it! You’re networking! People love it, and they’ll return the favor, sharing yours too.
- Look up hashtags in Twitter and Instagram for existing conversations and communities you can hop on. Simply attaching those hashtags to your posts could open hundreds of doors for you.
The Fear of The Enormity of It All
Saved the biggest for last, the reason so many people haven’t even started yet.
“I don’t have time.”
“I have kids.”
“I’m busy with my job as it is.”
We’ve all said this when we began. It’s just all so huge, isn’t it? Especially when you read up on all aspects of it. You do learn a lot, but wow, that’s a lot to do!