Imagine creating a shiny new website, with an empty blog page quivering to be written on…and then abandoning it for 5 years.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Who would do that?
Well, me, actually!
Why would I do that?
*What-if* scenario fears crippled my creative abilities.
I became a master of procrastination. Anything to avoid having to write my first blog post.
Why not just settle for a static author website to promote my anticipated books?
Because self-doubt has also stopped me finishing my two draft novels.
If so, then take heart because if you’re reading this, the 5 steps listed below have helped me.
Try them – they might just help you too!
How to chip away at self-doubt
1. Write down every reason why you want to start a blog.
- Maybe to build an online platform to increase your chances of being accepted by an agent or publisher?
- Maybe you want somewhere to introduce your creative world, characters, and ideas to your readers?
- Maybe you feel isolated as a writer and want to connect with other people interested in your genre?
2. Make a list of reasons why you haven’t already written your 1st blog post.
- Maybe you have young children/other family members to look after?
- Maybe financial hardships or job commitments have got in the way?
- Maybe you suffer from a chronic health condition?
Make no mistake, these are all real, ongoing life challenges.
But beware – if you suffer from self-doubt, they also make great excuses for procrastinating over starting your blog.
- Maybe, like me, you’re afraid you have nothing interesting to say in a blog post?
- Maybe, like me, you’re afraid of disappointing people, e.g., writer friends?
3. Write down what’s the worst that could happen if you did write your post.
- You might get interrupted and lose your train of thought halfway through.
- You might run out of free time before it’s finished.
- You might get too stressed or overtired whilst writing, adversely affecting other areas of your life.
- Maybe no-one would read your post.
- If readers didn’t like it, they might post negative comments.
- If readers did like it, you might not have anything *interesting* left to say for a follow-up post.
4. Think about how you can avert your worst-case scenario(s).
Try this approach for minimising potential stress and overtiredness:
- Don’t try to write your post all at once. Save it in draft versions. So, even if you only have 10 minutes free, once a week, you can still write a few lines.
- Break everything down into a series of small steps – e.g., title, image, headings, paragraphs. Tackle them one at a time.
Celebrate each step you achieve. Use that *feel-good* factor to motivate yourself for the next one.
- Pace yourself.
- Have a notepad handy. Jot down your ideas as they come to you, in case of interruptions.
- Add an image. It gives your post a professional look and makes you feel you’ve achieved something before you even write a word. (That’s how I felt, anyway!)
- Work on a few lines or a single paragraph at a time. Save your draft! Then have a break. Relax your muscles. Recharge your physical and mental energy often.
- Take however long you need.
- Read your completed post aloud to check it all sounds right. Proofread it.
- Have courage – click *Publish*!
To minimise self-doubts:
Write about something that interests, enthuses or concerns you – write from your heart and you will find readers.
- Enable your website’s setting that lets you vet all replies/comments for negative or spamming content before they become public. Reject any of those.
- If you prefer, disable the reply/comment option altogether. (Though this means enthusiastic readers can’t interact with you.)
- Don’t commit yourself to blogging every week. Wait until you have something you want to say. If you’re not stressed about new ideas, they’ll probably bombard you.
5. Join an online writing community on your preferred social media platform/s.
Interact online. You’ll soon discover you’re not alone. Other writers know what you’re going through. You can exchange ideas, experiences, and mutual encouragement in all areas of writing and blogging. It’s also a great way of attracting readers to your blog.
- Popular social media platforms include: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
- A quick online search for ‘supportive writing groups + your social media platform’ will guide you in the right direction. Add your genre to narrow the field.
- If you use Twitter, please say ‘hello’. As @RosettaYorke, I co-host #turtlewriters there, a group for slower-paced writers.
- Follow and interact with other blogs in your areas of interest – there’s a good chance you’ll get a visit in return. Fellow bloggers tend to be friendly and encouraging!
I hope these 5 steps will help you feel more confident about writing your first post. It may take a little time to get noticed amongst all the other bloggers – be patient! It’ll give you chance to get into your stride and find your blogging voice, without feeling too much pressure.
If, after five years, I can do this, so can you! Good luck!
If you have any recommendations for friendly online writers’ groups, comments about my blog post, questions about writing your own post, or if you’d just like to say ‘hello’, please reply via the comments link below my author photo. I’d love to hear from you.