How to Overcome the Fear of Putting Yourself Out There Online
If you aren’t blogging yet, what’s your excuse?
Are you waiting until you’re ready? Or, what is it?
I’ve heard it all:
“I don’t know how to name my blog.”
“I need to learn more about blogging.”
“I need a website.”
“I need to figure out my niche.”
“I need a logo.”
“I can’t decide between WordPress and Squarespace.”
“I don’t know where to start.”
“I’m a non-native speaker and my English isn’t ‘there’ yet.”
“I don’t have time.”
You know what? You don’t need anything to start putting yourself out there online today. The reason you haven’t started yet isn’t any of the reasons mentioned above, or whatever you think it is. The real reason is – dramatic pause – fear.
How do I know? Well, I know it because I was stuck in the “getting ready” mode, too.
Today, one year into blogging, I still don’t feel ready. But I’m glad I took the leap and got started, anyway.
Blogging can change your life. Connect you with your soulmates all around the world. Help you find your Mr. Darcy client. Become friends with people you admire and look up to. Bring you creative confidence, professional opportunities, and financial freedom.
But none of it is going to happen if you let your fear call the shots.
Today, I want you to say goodbye to your excuses.
Here’s the thing: You don’t need your own blog to start putting your words out there. You don’t need a logo, a tagline, a niche, and you don’t need anyone’s permission. You don’t even need time. You can get started right now and figure things out as you go.
Here is how.
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Start Blogging Today, Even If You Aren’t Ready Yet
Although I’m totally a fan of “owning your ground” – meaning that I think you should build your own blog and brand – I know that all the noise you have to cut through can be paralyzing.
That’s why you should start blogging today, even if you have no platform and no idea what you’re doing. Doing will get you much further much faster than thinking and research.
Writing and sharing are the only things that can help you move past your fear.
A platform doesn’t have to be your own blog. A platform is anything that makes your voice heard. And, frankly, when you start blogging on your own blog with no followers, how many people will hear you? You know what they say about the tree falling in a forest where there’s no one around…
So, yes, build your own platform, but don’t wait until it’s ready and start putting yourself out there online right now.
There are many options, but I’ve chosen the ones that have the following features:
✦ the audience is already there, so you don’t have to talk “into the dark,”
✦ you can set up your platform in under five minutes and start talking before your fear grows and your inner critic talks you out of it,
✦ they are good places for microblogging.
In case you have never heard the term, microblogs “allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links” (Andreas M. Kaplan). In other words, a blog post doesn’t always need 1k+ words.
Microblogging enables you to start small, slowly build the “putting yourself out there” muscle, and find people who want to hear what you have to say. Then, once you launch your own blog, you will already have an audience.
And if you already do have a blog, you can repurpose your content and use microblogging to reach more people.
Microblogging on Twitter and Instagram
Both on Twitter and Instagram, you can quickly build a little (or even large, if you want) following and start talking to your people.
You can do it simply by following people and interacting with them. No need to introduce yourself or send a personalized invitation – this ain’t LinkedIn!
Just be kind and be yourself. “Like” other people’s updates, answer their questions, comment on their posts, share their articles (Twitter), and soon you’ll see your number of followers growing.
Are you afraid of making mistakes? On Twitter, you only have 140 characters, which means less space for errors. And because Twitter is busy, your tweet will get buried in no time, so you don’t have to worry that much about it.
On Instagram, you can tell stories using pictures. You don’t even have to be a visual person – Canva makes it easy for anyone to create beautiful social media graphics.
But you don’t have to let the pictures do all the talking. You can use the “description” section for your micro blog posts, which can be up to 2,200 characters long.
The community on Instagram is extremely supportive, so it’s a good place to boost your confidence.
Microblogging on Medium
Medium is a publishing platform where anyone can share their stories. Medium gives you no restrictions as for the length of your posts, so you can start small, even with 100 words long posts.
In fact, there’s a publication on Medium called 100 Naked Words. Its contributors write and publish 100 words a day for 100 days. And you can be one of them. The advantage of writing for a publication on Medium (it doesn’t have to be this one) is that they will put you in front of their audience.
But if you’re a lonely wolf, you can (micro)blog on Medium without a publication. Write your 100, 250, or 500 words, it doesn’t matter. Just write.
By the way, Medium has just launched a new feature called “series” – instead of writing the whole story, you add little pieces over time. The pieces may be both text and images. Imagine the microblogging possibilities!
Imagine using this kind of platform for teaching online. For inspiration, see how Matt Ragland teaches sketchnoting. Feel inspired?
Anyway, here are even more platforms where you can start blogging today:
✦ Soundcloud (if you prefer speaking to writing)
And many more.
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Will the Fear Ever Go Away?
By putting yourself out there online, little by little, day by day, your fear will get weaker. But will it ever go away?
I don’t know. But I believe that “overcoming” the fear is not the point.
The point is to never stop creating and sharing, not in spite of your fear, but WITH it. Instead of trying to get rid of your fear, set boundaries. I mean, literally. Take a piece of paper and write a contract – something like “Terms & Conditions” for your fear.
Here’s how Liz Gilbert does it (in her case, it’s not T&C, but roadtrip rules):
“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. (…) There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
And as always, here’s what to do now
✯ Write T&C for your fear/your inner critic.
✯ From the microblogging platforms, where does your Dream Client hang out? Choose this one. (If you’re just getting started, one platform is enough.)
✯ Create an account and start talking to people. Don’t overthink it, don’t expect too much. It’s just training.
✯ Check out my #blog2teach online course where we’ll help each other put our fear where it belongs – into the back seat.
✯ How do you get over your fear of putting yourself out there? What are your strategies? Let me know in the comments.
✯ If you found the tips helpful, would you mind sharing the article on your favorite social media? It only takes a sec and helps me a lot. Thank you!