😨 Overcoming the fear of starting a blog

🀨 Why haven't I started a blog already?

The idea of starting a blog has been in my head for some time. A place to share and explore ideas, maybe even learn something. A space to improve my writing and reintroduce some creativity into my life. But I've always held off. Why? The thinking goes that writing about my ideas, opinions or life, is self-centered - perhaps even too difficult. And regardless, who would want to read it anyway?

Recently I came across Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. It's an amazing book that I will cover soon. Mainly because it's pushed me start writing, which I'll do with the following post - convincing myself why this is a great idea.

The 3 main obstacles preventing me from writing online are:

  1. Who cares what I have to say?
  2. I don't know what to write about
  3. I'm nervous about sharing my opinions/thoughts online

Show Your Work! has strongly influenced me to share my thoughts and ideas. Perhaps you're in the same position. You have something to share, but for a certain reason you haven't done it yet. Hopefully this post can help.

1) 🀷🏻 Who cares what I have to say?

This of course stems from a fear that I'm sure many people share. Why should anyone pay attention? Who cares? Here's a hypothetical situation to illustrate the point:

You're having dinner with some mates. You go to speak, but you think nobody will want to hear what you have to say, so you stay silent. After all, what is there to say?

This is a big obstacle. But Kleon has a better way of looking at it. A blog doesn't need to be for someone/anyone in particular. Instead, a person writing online is:

[A regular person] who gets obsessed by something and spends a ton of time thinking out loud about it.

It isn't about the who, it's about the what. The who['s reading] will follow later.

Alternatively, many would suggest one should write for themselves, and forget whether or not others read it. Ultimately though, this isn't what will drive me to write. As long as I feel that this post will help or be interesting to at least one person, I think it has merit and should be shared.

It's not a massive stretch to believe that there'll be someone also looking to set up a blog, with the same obstacles as me. Hopefully, this post, and potentially plenty more, can help that person.

2) πŸ€” I don't know what to write about

Initially this concern comes from worrying that nobody will read about the things I want to write about. But this of course ignores the idea that ultimately, this blog is for me to write about anything and everything that I find interesting. And I am confident that it will be useful to at least one person.

This worry also comes from the point of view that I am not an authority on the things I am interested in. I lack the required expertise to share my thoughts or even give advice on the matter.

It's this explanation by Kleon that swiftly puts aside this concern -

Amateurs know that contributing something is better than contributing nothing. Amateurs might lack formal training, but they're all lifelong learners, and they make a point of learning in the open, so that others can learn from their failures and successes.

It's fine to be an amateur. What do I know - I might learn something! The world is changing so quickly that eventually everybody will be an amateur. Now's the time to learn, and what better way than writing about my interests.

3) 🀨 I'm nervous about sharing my opinions/thoughts online

This is the big one. Mainly, it comes from worrying about coming across self-centred. The thing is, as we're all often reminded - nobody pays attention to you. Everybody is busy living their own lives. They have their own worries. Me starting a blog will be very close to the bottom of that list.

I read plenty of blogs/newsletters/articles and watch more than my fair share of YouTube. I have never thought of the person as self centred. And regardless - who cares what people think?

🏁 Time to start

Here we are! I've gone through the 3 main obstacles preventing me from writing online. It's been a great exercise - I'm sure others will feel the same if they try it out. I've not really touched on the many benefits of writing online, nor my own reasons for starting. I think it'll be interesting to discuss these later down the line (when I actually know what I'm doing).

As I've mentioned, if you're interested in sharing your ideas or workflows or processes, give Show Your Work! a go. It's really short and a fun read, with brilliant graphics and pointers throughout. Hopefully it'll have the same effect on you!

Finally, a nod to the excellent Ali Abdaal. This post has lent heavily from his first on his own blog and gave me a lot of inspiration to start myself.

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