Blogging takes courage. It requires confidence. It requires you to put your thoughts and ideas out there for everyone to read. It requires that you be open to feedback, open to change, and open to exposing the sometimes messy process of your learning to the world.
I’ve been blogging in earnest for the past three years and I’m constantly learning in the process. I frequently hear from new bloggers (as well as from some experienced ones) that they struggle with being confident. This struggle is often due to a few reasons:
- Bloggers may question if what they have to say has value.
- Bloggers may be afraid of exposing themselves to criticism or negative feedback.
- Bloggers may wonder if they can keep up the commitment to writing regularly.
- Bloggers may question their writing ability.
The truth is, we all struggle with confidence in some aspect of our lives sometimes. This is actually a very healthy emotion. It means you are questioning and reflecting on yourself and your actions. When it becomes unhealthy is when you internalize it and it paralyzes you from taking action.
My source of confidence in blogging comes from the fact that I do it first and foremost for myself. Do I want people to read it? Like it? Absolutely. Blogging for myself doesn’t mean I don’t aim to build an audience or write to them, but if they were to disappear, it still gives me something valuable.
I try not to get “caught up in the stats” or “hits” my blog receives. Instead, I try to focus on the connections it enables. Blogging has introduced me to new friends and colleagues that have opened doors to me. This is what matters most. As these experiences compound over time, so does your confidence.
Do I receive negative feedback on occasion? Yes. I have. I have even discovered individuals discussing one on my posts critically online without engaging me in conversation. I’ve learned over time that the best way to handle this feedback is to be open to receiving it. If I run across someone discussing my work, I’ll engage with them. Sometimes it freaks them out a bit a first, but it almost always ends in a place that is more constructive. (That’s not to say you won’t find an occasional crazy every now and then. This is the internet after all. You just have to take it and move on.)
The best mantra to repeat to yourself is “just do it.” Roll with it. Learn with it. Don’t over-analyze it. The truth of the matter is that however many people may read your blog, it’s likely that you’re still a small fish in a very large pond. Don’t diminish your contributions, but don’t over-inflate them either.
Write when you want to. Write when you’re moved to. Don’t force it. You’ve got this.
Mark Schaefer uploaded this EXCELLENTLY designed slide deck to SlideShare that gives you 5 tips for being a more confident blogger. Great advice! Take a look: