You’re obsessed with reading them and follow your favourite bloggers with the same level of fascination that the media follow Miley Cyrus. You refer to them by their first name and feel like they’re your friends (and you’re positive that if you actually met in person, they would be).
And these bloggers are all normal people, people like you. They didn’t have to wait for someone to tell them they could start a blog – they just started one. So it gets you thinking, maybe you should start one too…
And then, almost as soon as you’ve decided you’re going to start a blog, the self-doubt kicks in. And it is relentless.
That excitement you had when you first had the idea to start a blog? That quickly becomes embarrassing. How could you have actually thought that anyone would care what you have to say? And you’re not even that good at writing. And what are you even going to talk about?!
I’ve read a lot of posts about blogging, and very few (if any) talk about the self-doubt that comes up when you decide that you’re going to put yourself out there and start a blog.
Because let’s be real – blogging can (and will) bring up a lot of self-doubt.
And usually we don’t even realise that it’s happening, it just comes up in the form of excuses – we don’t have time, we don’t know how, we don’t know anyone else who does it. And then sometimes, it really feels like self-doubt – we question whether anyone would care or be interested, whether we’re too boring, whether we’re good enough, whether we can stick with it.
So in this post (and it’s gonna be a long one) I’m going to talk about all the different excuses you’ll probably find yourself making about blogging and all of the different ways that self-doubt can manifest itself.
Here’s what I’ll be covering:
- I don’t know how to start a blog
- I don’t have anything new to say (I’m too boring)
- I started a blog and no one reads it
- People will laugh at me
- I don’t have time to blog
- I don’t know anyone else who does it
- There are already too many blogs out there (and I’ll never catch up to the big bloggers)
Let’s get started:
1. I don’t know how to start a blog
I think there are two reasons we use the excuse that we ‘don’t know how to get started’:
- We’re completely overwhelmed by the number of decisions we have to make (and feel like we might screw it all up); or
- We don’t think we’re ‘good enough’ to have a blog (we feel like we have nothing new to say, we’re not good enough at writing, no one will read it and, if they do, that they will laugh at us, we can’t compete with the other blogs out there – and plenty more).
Since I’ll be talking about self-doubt a lot in the rest of the post (it’s something I’ve really struggled with/still struggle wit) I’m going to address the whole decision overwhelm issue here.
We all know there are literally thousands of blog posts on the Internet that tell you exactly how to start a blog (and to be honest, it really isn’t that hard) and yet a lot of people still say they don’t know how to get started.
As I said before, I think one of the reasons people say they ‘don’t know how to get started’ is because they’re so overwhelmed by the number of decisions they have to make to get started.
You have to decide which blogging platform to use (I use WordPress), what to call your blog (it took me a long time to come up with Smart Twenties, and I still don’t love it), what you want it to look like (pretty, with a lot of white space), who to target (people like me), what to write about (things I find completely fascinating), what to say on your ‘about me’ page (still working on this…), which social media platforms to get on (twitter, insta, facebook, pinterest…) and the list goes on.
There is so much information out there about which choices to make and so much of it is conflicting – for every blogger telling you to use WordPress there’s one telling you why you should get on Squarespace instead. For every expert telling you that twitter is the best thing you could do for your blog, there’s another telling you it’s a complete waste of time.
It’s so easy to feel like we might make the wrong decision and screw everything up.
The good news is that there really isn’t a way for you to mess things up too badly. Firstly, barely anyone will read your blog for a least a few months (more on this later – but just telling you now this isn’t a bad thing) so it’s easy to make a lot of changes without anyone noticing. And, not only will no one notice, but things are so easy to change on your blog (it’s not even that hard to change the name of your blog). Nothing is permanent.
If you struggle with perfectionism like I do, wanting everything to be perfect at the outset can really be pretty damn crippling. But I found that once I decided to start thinking of it as more of a ‘work in progress’ than something that’s final, it was easier to take those first few steps and actually get started.
So if you’ve been using this excuse, the solution is to just start making decisions.
You don’t need to do any more research – seriously, just make decisions. And if you have no idea what to do, you can use the decisions I made as a guideline (I listed some of them above but if you want a more in-depth look at my blogging ‘journey’, I’m going to be sending a detailed post to my email subscribers so sign up below if you’re interested in that).
2. I don’t have anything new to say (I’m too boring)
This is definitely the self-doubt talking. And I have this doubt all the time.
For any topic I want to talk about, I feel like I can easily find at least 20 bloggers who are talking about exactly the same thing and have something way more interesting or helpful to say about it.
When I first started my blog, I didn’t say anything new. And if you go back to my very first posts you will see solid proof of that – I would just post a link to a video or article that I liked and write two or three sentences about why I liked it. I had so much doubt about whether I had anything new to say that I just didn’t say anything new.
But I kept at it. And over time, instead of writing two or three sentences I would write a paragraph. Which then became two paragraphs. And then I finally felt like I could write a whole post without having to centre it around something someone else had said.
This doubt about not having anything new to say is especially hard to deal with when you’re just starting your blog.
When no one’s reading your blog (more on this soon) you have no proof that anyone is interested in what you’re saying. Plus it feels like there are already hundreds of bloggers that are way better than you who are talking about the same thing. But almost all of these bloggers felt exactly the same way when they started. They felt like they had nothing new to say. They felt like their life was too boring and too normal. But they started anyway, and they discovered they did have something important to say.
The point is – you have something important to say too and almost everyone who starts a blog experiences doubt about this.
If, at the moment, you have no idea what to say then just start by sharing things you love (the ‘links I love’ style of post is great for this). Write about the things you’d talk to your friends about. You will figure out that you have something important to say that no one else is saying.
3. I started a blog and no one reads it
Since this post is about being honest, I’m going to be honest about this too – no one will read your blog when you first start it.
For months and months I literally had single digit pageviews on my blog (and that was on a good day). It felt like I was talking to a brick wall, and I practically was.
I’ll be honest, talking to a wall for a few months can be really disheartening. And it’s in these first few months of blogging that so many talented people give up. But once you realise that every new blog has no readers for the first few months, it’s a lot easier to push through and I think there are actually quite a few things that are good about it:
Firstly, I think that if you want to have a blog then you need to be blogging for you. It’s a lot harder to stick with something when there’s no reward (yet). But if you can make it through those first few lonely months then it’s probably a pretty good sign you’re blogging for the right reasons (not just the promised glamour that comes with it).
Secondly (and I’m sorry to say this) but your first blog posts are probably not going to be amazing. It takes a while to find your voice and to figure out what you want to talk about. When I started my blog I had no idea what I should sound like in my posts and the result was that I really just didn’t sound like myself at all – I was saying what I think I should say, not what I’d actually say. You can use those first few months of solitude to your advantage and play around with the way you write (my trick is to pretend I’m writing an email to a friend – that way I actually say things I’d say in real life and keep an informal, friendly kind of tone).
And thirdly, you can really play around with how your blog looks, how often you post, what kind of topics you talk about and all of that. You can definitely play around with these things at any stage of your blogging journey but right at the outset is an especially great time to do it because you won’t feel limited by what you’ve done in your past.
The fact that no one is going to read your blog for at least a few months can be a good thing or a bad thing – the choice is yours.
It can be an opportunity to develop your voice and your blog and to really play around and experiment with things, or it can be so disheartening that you’ll just give up. And the choice is yours. If you started a blog and then stopped in the first few months, give it another go – it seriously doesn’t matter that you haven’t posted anything in ages!
4. People will laugh at me
I seriously still struggle with this so much that I’m not even sure I can really write anything helpful about it – I just try not to think about what other people will think and am working really hard on learning how to give other’s permission not to like me.
But I will say, as I’ve told more and more of my friends about this blog I’ve been so surprised by the fact that their reactions were nothing like what I’d imagined and feared they would be.
Before I told anyone (which took me about a year), I thought it was so embarrassing and that my friends would be embarrassed to hang out with me. I thought people would think I’m a loser for thinking that I have something important to say. But instead, my friends have been so positive about it and quite a few have said that they want to start their own blogs too.
I know there will be some people who think it’s stupid or don’t like me – I’m not for everyone. But I know there are some people who love the blog and who do like me, and by not sharing who I really am then I’m depriving myself of the chance to connect with the people I really have a lot in common with.
If you struggle with this too, you have to listen to this podcast episode by Brooke Castillo about other people’s opinions. It is the most helpful thing I’ve ever listened to for how to overcome the ‘fear’ of what other people think – seriously, you need to listen to it if you struggle with this (I’ve listened to it at least 5 times).
5. I don’t have time to blog
This excuse always seems to get me. I’m apparently ‘too busy to blog’, but not too busy to be up-to-date on all my favourite TV shows (not to mention the hours I spend scrolling through my insta feed and watching Youtube videos).
Whenever I think I don’t have time to blog, it’s actually just me procrastinating because I don’t know what to write about (or I don’t think anyone will care about what I have to say).
I’ve already written about the ‘too busy’ excuse a lot on this blog, so if you struggle with this too then I definitely have a few posts for you:
6. I don’t know anyone else who does it
Don’t let the fact that you don’t know any bloggers stop you from starting a blog yourself – I didn’t know anyone else with a blog when I started. And while it would have been amazing to know someone (because a lot of questions come up when you start a blog) I didn’t need to – blogging is an incredible way to meet new people.
It is seriously so easy to meet people that love the same things you love through blogging.
And in the mean time, podcasts are an excellent way to ‘surround’ yourself with other bloggers. A few of my favourites are:
- Being Boss with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon
- Make It Happen with Jen Carrington (if you want to hear interviews with bloggers who are only a couple of years in, check this podcast out)
- The Lively Show with Jess Lively
7. There are already too many blogs out there (and I’ll never catch up to the big bloggers)
There are a lot of people who will tell you that if you haven’t already started to blog by now then you’ve missed the boat – but I don’t think that’s true at all.
If anything, the rising popularity of blogs just goes to show how powerful they are and why you should start one.
And while it may feel like you’ll never ‘catch up’ to the big bloggers, the truth is that you don’t need to – there are some things you can offer your readers that big bloggers can’t( like a more personal connection between you and your readers).
I really believe that it’s never too late to start something. And blogging is an amazing self-development tool (because you have to learn to deal with all the self-doubt that comes up) so even if no one ever reads your blog, there is still so much you can learn from blogging.
Do you want to start a blog? Let me know!
If you want to start a blog (but still haven’t taken the steps to start it), I’d love to hear why you think that might be and whether you can relate to any of the self-doubt and excuses I’ve talked about in this post!
And if you’re already a blogger – did you experience any of this when you started? I’ve been blogging for two years now and I still deal with almost all of this at least once a week.
Let me know in the comments below! (or send me an email – email@example.com).
Promote Your Blog Workshop
If you came here for blogging inspiration, you’ve found this blog post at the best possible time! I just want to quickly share something that’s going to give you the exact steps get the attention you deserve.
Due to the success of my previous blogging workshops, I’m teaching a two hour live workshop on how to promote your blog including how to overcome the procrastination, fear of judgement and self-doubt that’s been stopping you!
This isn’t one of those fake ‘live’ workshops btw. On 22 July 2018, I’ll be sitting in front of my Macbook and sharing everything you need to know to start getting noticed online. And giving you the motivation, mindset and confidence you’ll need to do it!
You’ll also be able to get my personal coaching and guidance on your blog ideas, a workbook to help you apply everything and you’ll become part of a community of like-minded bloggers.
If you’ve been struggling to get your blog noticed (or you completely abandoned it), now is the time to change that! Blogging isn’t new anymore and the longer you get in your own way, the more competition there will be and the harder it will be to get noticed. You already know you’re more than capable and I’m going to give you the exact steps you need to follow.
To learn my social media secrets and join a like-minded community of up and coming bloggers who finally getting out of their own way, click here to find out more and sign up for my Promote Your Blog Workshop!