If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, there’s a chance you partook in the Indiana Jones franchise. And when Indy wasn’t uncovering rare artifacts or coming face to face with myths and legends, he was smirking. And when he wasn’t smirking, he was cowering in fear of one thing and one thing alone: snakes.
“Why’d it have to be snakes?” our beleaguered hero asks. I watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark again recently and got to thinking about my biggest fears. In real life, those fears include good old standbys like illness, death, and spiders. But in terms of my career as a blogger for hire? Failing would have to be pretty high up on the list.
When it comes to maintaining a blog, a lot can go wrong. A lot can go right, too, but I know that in order to see the good, sometimes you have to wade through the bad. So today I’m going to talk about some of my biggest blogging fears and why you should never let a silly old thing like fear hold you back from attacking and achieving your dreams. I mean, if Indy could stare a snake in the face, you can certainly commit to a blogging schedule, right?
It can be really scary to put yourself out there in the blogging world. You’re definitely taking a plunge. And while you can easily feel isolated when first venturing out, it’s important to remember that you’re not actually alone. A ton of other people have walked along this path before you (and will after you).
Indiana Jones was terrified of snakes but he faced his fear (or was forced to, rather) and saved the day as a result. He took a deep breath and went for it. And while you don’t have to know everything before opening your blog’s virtual doors, you do need to come at it from an informed position.
This means doing your research, of course, and learning from the mistakes of others. You are surrounded by blogs. So read them. Study them. Fill your mental arsenal with information. You’ll soon find that you feel more confident each time you hit Publish and the whole venture will be a lot less scary.
Note: The “fear” never goes away 100%. This is normal. Without a little bit of fear, the prospect of becoming a blog rockstar isn’t that exciting. Nothing to lose, nothing to gain and all that.
Call the Fraud Police
A part of being a blogger is being an authority. And it can be really intimidating to think of yourself as an such. You might be afraid that someone will call you out on your claims. That you’re a big faking faker who fakes. Oh, and how dare you call yourself an expert. Don’t you know there’s an organized body out there just waiting to uncover your fakery? They’re watching and waiting!
Amanda Palmer was the commencement speaker for The New England Institute of Art in 2011. In her speech, she talked about this imaginary body, “The Fraud Police,” and how there is no one actually out there waiting to discredit you and your creative works. You should watch it. It’s highly inspiring for people in all creative fields:
So, unless you’re actually lying about your experience, I can guarantee that you’re not a faker and you’re not a fraud. You’re a regular person with a goal and a part of that goal involves reaching out to other people with the information you’ve discovered along your journey. It’s information other people know, sure, but filtered through your unique lens; your unique spin on life. That alone is interesting and worth sharing.
It’s a Risk
You may not be a fraud, but there is always a chance that you’ll make a claim and be wrong. And that sucks. I know I’m afraid every day that I’ll say something here or on Twitter or some other public online space that’s incorrect. Talk about embarrassing! All you can do is try to be thorough in your research and careful in what you put out there.
But being a blogger is a risk. You won’t get it right every time. The odds are stacked against you. But it’s important to take moments like that as lessons. Handle them with grace and your audience might just grow to love you even more for it because you dared to be human.
There’s a chance people won’t like what you have to say. And boy howdy, if people are displeased with your work, you can bet on the fact the Internet is the place for the airing of grievances. I can handle criticism pretty well but all out attacks are another thing altogether. Respond to respectful criticism with care. Be open and honest. And ignore people that bash or demean. It can be difficult to scroll past trolls–the tempt to rage reply can be overwhelming at times!–but it’s in the best interest of your blogging business to take the high road.
Indiana Jones wasn’t a blogger but he was pretty awesome. Sure, he was afraid of snakes but he handled his fear and didn’t let it stop him from achieving his goals. You know, like surviving and stuff. So the next time you’re sitting around doubting yourself and feeling overwhelmed, don your proverbial fedora and crack the whip in the face of your blogging fears. After all, you’ve got snakes to vanquish!