The guest posts I’ve got planned to kick off next week almost didn't happen. That was partly because I didn't know if I was organised enough to manage everything, and partly because I was scared that no one would offer to take part. That no one would want to write a post for my blog.
I forced myself to send out that first tweet about it, because, well life is all about getting out of your comfort zone right? And you know what? I’ve got over thirty people lined up ready to post over the next few months. I’ve actually got more than I originally needed.
Why is this important to you?
Because our negative thoughts can stop us from achieving great things. If I’d have given into my fears, my blog would be quiet for the next fortnight while I’m on holiday. There’d be radio silence. There wouldn't be anything valuable for you to read and there wouldn't be anything for you to learn. I also wouldn't have had those moments of relief and happiness you get when something you feared actually works out better than you planned.
Fear is the enemy. It keeps us from getting to where we want to be. No matter how much we tell ourselves that things will be OK and that we do deserve success, there’s always something stopping us from taking the next step. Something tells us that actually, things might not be OK after all.
This fear is even deeper and bigger when it comes to something you’re really passionate about. You know, like your blog. But it’s no surprise really, considering that for most of us, our blog is a huge part of our lives. That gives fear all the room to grow.
Blogging can be a really scary subject, with the potential to be writing to no one for years, running out of ideas and having to compete with all the thousands of other bloggers out there.
But over the past year, I’ve learnt something. Every blogger has these fears. Even the ones that do this for a living. Even the mega successful ones. No matter how big they are or how good they are at what they do, they all suffer from some sort of fear.
I’ve experienced these fears a lot and today, I wanted to share with you how you can overcome even your biggest blogging fears.
#1 | Fear of no one caring
When I first started blogging, I was all caught up in making sure everything was as perfect as it could possibly be. I was new to the industry, I’d done all my research and I’d planned an editorial calendar that I was really proud of.
Honestly, I thought it’d be plain sailing.
But after a while, I was keeping an eye on my analytics and hardly anyone was reading my posts.
Cue my desire to give up altogether.
I’d been doing everything that I thought was right, so when my reader and follower counts didn't reflect my hard work, I almost couldn't believe it.
But it was there. Plain as day.
I got a horrible feeling that I was doing all this for nothing. I wondered why some people hit thousands of readers in just a few months and I couldn't. I wondered what I’d done wrong. But I didn't know.
Do you know how much I read into this? Too much. Way too much. I read other bloggers content, trying to figure out what made them so successful. I wondered what else they’d done to get to where they were. Basically, I spent far too long looking at the situation rather than trying to do something about it.
My initial reaction was to scrap the whole thing and stop blogging altogether. But instead, I paused. I thought about how I’d feel if I was like one of these bloggers, doing it full-time, having a huge community to talk to and landing loads of brilliant opportunities.
So even though I myself was feeling pretty rubbish at this point, it helped to know that there were people out there (in the virtual world) who were doing really well. And thinking like that made me feel a whole lot better. If they could do it, why not me?
The fear of no one reading or caring is a blogging fear we have to tackle every day. All readers don’t last forever. But I’ve found a way to make this easier to face.
Your action: think differently
The fear that no one will care means that you’ve actually put yourself out there. This means you’re choosing to take a step towards getting to where you want to be, rather than just staying in the same place. If your numbers don’t reflect the work you’re putting in, you can figure out why. And really, that’s not what you should be focusing on. It’s how many people are paying attention that’s the most important thing. Because even if that only goes up once a month, it’s still increasing.
#2 | Fear that you’ll fail
I’m betting you’ve read a blog post or article that has said some blogs never make it and there’s a good chance you’ll never make it either. Right?
I have too. People like to make blunt statements. They like to be different. And it’s true - there’s a lot of negativity about bloggers out there. It’s an industry that’s come out of nowhere and is actually one of the most successful and influential ones out there.
Doesn't it feel good to be a part of that?
But the bloggers we do see out there doing so well and documenting their every move seem so far away, they pretty much take on a celebrity status.
These people weren't made this way. In fact, they started out just like you and me, and probably started blogging for a similar reason too. They just ticked a few more boxes and maybe had better timing. We’ll never know.
Why do we think we’ll never be as good as these people? Why is there a wall separating us from them? I’ll give you a clue...and it was a word in that very sentence.
So how do you battle this fear?
First of all, you need to be really clear about why you’re so scared of failing. What’s the worst thing that could happen? That’s a question my mum always asks me. Be honest with yourself and write it down.
Next, think about what failing would actually look like. Would it mean having everyone laugh at you online? Would it be not having 100K Instagram followers?
Now you need to get personal. What will make you personally, a failure? Why aren’t you as good as other people? What makes you the only one that would fail?
The next thing? Create a solution to the three things listed above. So if you said, “I’m going to fail because I don’t know anyone online”, write next to it - ‘reach out to someone new every single day’.
Fear of failing can be used as an excuse for us not to do so many things, when actually - it can take us even closer to where we want to be.
#3 | Fear that people will always be better than you
Why do we always want more? To do more, to be more - to be better? What is this feeling that we get when we’re disappointed and sometimes angry, if someone receives praise for something we want to be better at?
I spoke yesterday about how we’re a generation that always wants “more” - and the truth is, we’re only human.
But someone will always be doing better than us. Someone will always be doing more than us. It’s really difficult to get to a point where we know everything about a subject. Actually, I’d go as far to saying it’s impossible. There is always more to learn.But what if this fear is stopping you from moving forward?
Before you can get past the fear, you’ve got to understand that there will always be someone better - and you’ve got to be OK with that. You’ll get a sense of peace and understanding once you accept this.
Next you need to think carefully about who you are. What has got you to this point? Your knowledge and experience. Say you see someone ask a question on Twitter and they’re looking for people to write about their experiences of being a first-time buyer during a difficult time in their life. Now, there might be tonnes of other bloggers who say they want to guest post, who think they can fluff up a post and have a bigger social community than you. But they don’t have the same experience as you. They don’t have the knowledge. And that’s what makes us different. That’s what makes us the right person, even if not the best person. They say every idea has been taken but I disagree. There’s always your story to bring to the table.
#4 | Fear of wondering where to begin
Have you ever had a vision of something that seemed so unreachable, you just couldn't even see it in your mind? I get like this when I think about starting my own business. It seriously freaks me out, because I’d just have absolutely no idea where to begin.
Blogging is the same when you’re starting out for the first time. It can seem like there are so many possibilities, tips, methods and clashing opinions out there that there seems to be no unique way to approach it anymore.
You’re allowed to feel this fear. Starting anything new, whether it be our first day at school or our first day at a new job can be completely overwhelming, especially when we’re new to the experience.
This is a fear I’ve really struggled with but it can actually be simple to get it under control. You've just got to think differently.
Your action: think in small doses
Chop everything up and think baby steps. Instead of writing down everything you’ve got to do this week, pick three main priorities. Looking at things on a weekly basis is enough time to get things done, without feeling like you’ve got too much time to fill.
So get the days of the week on your wall calendar or in your diary and write down one thing on each day that you can do to take a step forward with your blog.
It could be anything like, “research content ideas”, “take some post photos”, or “tweet out my latest article”. These might seem like small tasks, but when you combine them with the others over a week, you’ll be able to see that you actually accomplished loads!
If you carried on with those little tasks above, think how many blog post ideas you’d have to look at. Think about the catalogue of blog photos you’d have. Think about how many people will have seen the link to your latest post.
Not so bad, right?
And if you do the same every week for a month, that’s around thirty tasks done, each of which is putting yourself out there and growing your blog and personal brand. Before you know it, you’ve landed your first email subscriber and you’re no longer afraid - because believe it or not, you actually started a long time ago.
#5 | Fear of things changing
It takes a lot of effort for us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We like feeling comfortable and being consistent. Change isn't all that welcome. So it’s really no wonder that being a blogger is a scary thought, because of how much change can come with it.
Suddenly we've got this thing to manage that takes up a huge chunk of our lives. We have to use our spare time to work on it and do all these different things to make sure it’s not only running right, but growing too.
This is a big adjustment - if you don’t believe me, try and think what life would be like without your blog. It can be really scary diving into this new world, especially if it’s something new that’s going to affect our lives. But this is also a fear you can overcome.
I go on about this all the time on this blog, but it’s the thing that will save you. You need to understand WHY you want to start blogging in the first place. And we all have our own individual reasons.
Then, you’ve got to make the transition as easy as possible for yourself. Don’t jump in all at once posting seven days a week. Start off slow and build up as you go along.
Lastly - and this is a piece of advice I’m taking directly from you, my readers - don’t be so hard on yourself. Change is difficult for anyone, it doesn’t matter how much you want it. But it takes time to adjust, so allow yourself the time that you need.
A final note
These blogging fears are very real for many of us out there. I was fighting with a lot of these when I first started as a blogger - and some I still am.
They don’t make you weak. They’re completely understandable and normal too. But that’s why they’re even easier to beat.
Overcoming these fears won’t happen overnight, just like being a successful blogger won’t. It takes time and work. If you’re willing to face your fears and push through them? Well, I’d say you’re on your way to becoming a brilliant blogger.
Let's chat in the comments - what blogging fears do you struggle with on a daily basis? Have you figured out any ways to overcome them?