Do you have things that are holding you back from starting a blog? If you have ever thought about starting your own blog but fears are getting in the way, this post is for you.
A few months before starting The Curious Frugal, I had been writing blog posts in my free time. Although back then I didn’t know that they were going to be blog posts. I was just writing down my musings about how to make extra money, budgeting and saving money, living a unique life, trying new things, being frugal, living simply.
When I read them over, I realized that my ideas could possibly help other people. This blog wasn’t something that had been brewing around in my head for years. It was a natural culmination of what I was already writing for my own personal use and expression. These were topics I loved and which felt important to me. I wanted a way to share them and to be part of a conversation and a community.
As soon I decided that I would start a blog and share these posts, another part of me piped up in the background and whispered things like:
What if nobody reads my blog?
I don’t have time for this
What if I run out of things to write about?
Even though it’s not as fun to listen to the more negative voices we have inside, I believe in learning from all parts of ourselves and not ignoring them. Since I know that I am not alone in some of my fears about starting a blog, I wanted to turn some of those initial doubts I had into a post. And more importantly, I want to share how to move past them so you don’t let them stop you!
Let’s dive down into our psyches, shall we? 😉
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My topic isn’t unique/it’s all been said before
Out of this whole list, this was probably my number one reason I debated not starting a blog. How could I possibly think of something that was entirely unique to the world, when there are so many websites and blogs on every topic you can think of? I really didn’t want to be redundant. Ultimately, what made me get over this was thinking about art or music or any other creative medium. People create music from the same chords. There are many people that write songs with the guitar. There are many people who use clay as their art form. But they all create different things. We are all different so will all have our own unique voice.
As long as you are writing like yourself and not trying to sound different from who you truly are, it doesn’t matter if your topic is not unique overall. Your take on it will be, because your voice is unique. Even highly skilled, globally known motivational speakers are not saying completely different things than everyone else. But they have confidence in their message and they have their own unique perspective and story. That is what will make you interesting and will make people want to keep reading.
I’m a recovering perfectionist or just a plain old perfectionist
I can’t say that I gravitate towards clothing with sayings or words on them, with the exception of one t-shirt I have. It says “prefectionist” on it and it made me laugh so I bought it. As a recovering perfectionist, I loved the idea of trying to be so perfect and then misspelling that word. Worrying about making sure something is “perfect” is a stalling tactic as there is no such thing as perfect. It’s just fear talking and can lead to procrastination and delay putting yourself out there.
I struggle a bit with this in relation to this blog. There are times I want to write and re-write and edit again a blog post because I think I can make it better. And you know what? It’s possible I could make it better. But the trade-off here is the length of time it can take to put out a single blog post. It’s not worth that much angst. Editing is important and you want to put out quality posts, but try to aim for the good or great post, not the perfect post.
I’m scared about criticism
It’s not easy to put yourself out there and there is a certain amount of bravery involved. You have to take a leap to extend yourself whether it’s through starting a blog, in a relationship, in your career. Life inherently comes with risks and creating also comes with risks. Not everybody will agree with you. Not everybody will like what you write. Most people will disagree respectfully but not everybody will be nice about what you write. For some people, this is no big deal and doesn’t faze them. Other people (myself included) are sensitive souls and are a bit more thin-skinned.
If online criticism is something that concerns you to a great extent, there are ways to manage this while having a blog. As part of my disclaimer page, I wrote a comment policy. It is a short paragraph that discusses my views on keeping The Curious Frugal an open, friendly, and respectful place for everyone who writes or comments. You can read my comment policy here.
If you are particularly sensitive or are writing about a highly contentious topic and just aren’t comfortable with managing comments yet, there is even an option to completely disable any comments on your blog posts. This might be something you want to start with and then remove as you get more comfortable with sharing your voice over time.
Starting a blog as an introvert
I consider myself a very friendly introvert, or an extroverted introvert. Even though I can seem quite social to people who don’t really know me, my core self needs a lot of alone time to relax and recharge. The beauty of blogging is you can interact as little or as much as you want. If it is your blog, you get to decide how much interaction there is. I know some blogs where the owner responds to every single comment they receive. Then there are bloggers who don’t respond at all, but a community and discussion happens anyway at the bottom of their blog posts from their readers. Many bloggers fall somewhere in between these two points.
Although part of the fun in blogging is the community and you will grow your blog faster if you do interact, everyone has their own comfort level corresponding with virtual strangers. You are not obligated to interact with people at all!
As I mentioned in the example above about how to deal with criticism, you have the option of completely disabling comments on your posts. If a reader would like to reach you, they can send you a message instead of a public comment. This might be a comfortable option for the deep introverts out there.
Just because other bloggers are posting videos or offering webinars does not mean you have to follow suit. Your blog should mesh with your personality. If you happen to be introverted, you don’t need to change this for anything, including for a blog. The world needs to hear from introverts as well as extroverts. Books such as Quiet by Susan Cain became #1 bestsellers as they give voice to a huge segment of the population. Although there are more extroverts than introverts (in North America anyways), up to 25-50% people are introverts – that’s still a huge number, people. If you need more inspiration, check out this popular post as it includes many encouraging quotes that speak right to introverts.
What if I run out of ideas or lose momentum
This is a fear that many writers have, bloggers or otherwise. In any type of creative pursuit there will be a time when you will hit a creative block. There are many different techniques to deal with this once it happens because it likely will happen!
You could slow down the pace of your blogging, or take a big break. If you post three times a week, cut down to one or two posts a week. You could take a blog vacation where you don’t post or do anything blog-related for a couple of weeks. If you regularly post longer articles, consider writing a few shorter notes to shake things up. Relax any self-imposed goals such as “I have to write a minimum of 1500 words per post” or “If I don’t respond to every single comment, my readers will leave”. Goals such as these might be great to have, but if you are feeling less than enthused about your blog, take a break from all that and just write for fun, not for page views, SEO, popularity. Let all that go for a while and let yourself rekindle your love for what you have created.
Another option is if you sign up to start a blog through this link and send me an email (suchot@thecuriousfrugaldotcom) letting me know you did, I will send you a resource I put together that will help: 72 awesome blog post ideas for when you have writer’s block.
I don’t want my family/friends to know this stuff
There are many options for how to deal with privacy and being “known”. Since you will be the author, only write what you are comfortable to have others read. Consider if you would feel comfortable having your mom read your post – if not, maybe reconsider (or maybe not). Even if you don’t directly tell your family or friends about your blog, it is possible that they will stumble upon it or find out about it through someone.
A different way around this is to have an anonymous blog. There are many famous anonymous bloggers. There are also many bloggers who started off anonymous and years later came out with their real identities. In the personal finance blog world, not everyone wants to be known. Some PF bloggers share very personal financial information that most people don’t share with even those closest to them. There might be many reasons you want to remain anonymous and this is a valid option.
Certain bloggers share their first name and that’s it. They don’t tell their family and friends that they have a blog and they remain semi-anonymous that way.
I don’t have time for starting a blog
For this doubt, my main piece of advice would be to pace yourself. If you are not someone who has time to dedicate ten or twenty hours a week blogging, don’t add that pressure. You can absolutely start off small and start slow. There are many bloggers who post five days a week but this is not a requirement in any way. Right now I am posting once a week. This feels like an attainable goal for me in this season of my life. I am a part-time employee and a most-time stay-at-home mom to a toddler. I absolutely love blogging and I’m excited to work on my blog every week. If I tried to increase my posting rate right now to three times a week, I know I would feel stressed instead of enthused and why would that be good? (Answer: it wouldn’t).
If you are super excited and positively brimming with ideas, you can post them all at once at the beginning. Or if you know you won’t have a lot of time to blog each week you can write and then save posts and schedule them for later. That way if you reach a busy patch, you will still have something to post.
Again generally the people who work the most on their blogs can have their blogs grow the fastest. But for most people, these kind of hours are not possible to fit into their lives. There is nothing wrong with writing and posting at your pace, and growing slower. This is not a sprint, it’s more of a marathon. This can fit into your already existing life.
I don’t know what I’m doing
I didn’t either. Though I have a degree in computer science, that was many years ago and I haven’t worked in the field for many years either. Your knowledge gets obsolete quickly if you don’t stay current. So I felt like there was a huge learning curve when I started The Curious Frugal. I had to look up how to do absolutely everything. What the heck was a WordPress theme? I barely knew what WordPress was and knew very little about it.
You can learn as you go. Those people with websites with hundreds and hundreds of posts and the excellent logo and graphics? They did not get there overnight. They started at the beginning too and their blog started off small and grew, likely over years. Most blogs change over time in some aspect: style, content, layout, theme. You don’t have to figure out the exact layout and header and topics right at the beginning. The main thing is to start and you will figure it out.
There are lots of free resources available to bloggers from articles to videos. Since starting up my blog I have come across some things that either didn’t work well for me at first, or I found very confusing. I decided to write posts on these topics to help out other people who are new to blogging or starting up some aspect. Check out:
- How to convert to HTTPS on your WordPress website
- An easy way to do a WordPress backup without plugins or FTP
- Don’t forget this step in MailChimp
- 3 things I learned in the first month of using MailChimp
What if nobody reads my blog?
In this case, you won’t have to worry about a few of the other fears above, such as being scared of criticism or putting yourself out there as an introvert! I’m kidding here. Even those most introverted among us secretly want people to read our blog, otherwise we would simply keep a journal. If you write useful, engaging content, you will find your tribe. It might take time, and there are actions you can take to encourage people over to your blog. Each of these would need an entire post (or more!) in itself so I won’t go into detail here but three major ways to make sure your blog gets read are:
- Let people know that you have one – promote your new blog posts on social media
- SEO – use simple Search Engine Optimization techniques to increase your chances of a user finding your post through an organic search
- Comment on other people’s blogs – which blogs do you regularly read and would like to be part of their community? Start interacting with those discussions.
Many of these flickering doubts can apply to things other than blogging. It can be scary to try a new thing and put ourselves out there. Sometimes there are big life decisions where we just need that extra bit of confidence to go for it.
It is perfectly natural to have doubts and fears before starting a blog. I understand this big time! A lot of the doubts in this post were my doubts too (some still are even after I’ve started). But don’t let that completely hold you back. Life is too short not to try things you’re interested in!
If you are ready I have a quick tutorial right here that will lead you through the very first steps in starting a blog. I really love blogging and would like to help give you that extra bit of motivation if this is something you have been wanting to do!
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