It was something that I loved to fantasize about; I would think about all the things I wanted to blog about, what parts of my life I wanted to share with my adoring readers and what designerd things we would connect on. I wasn’t thinking about all the hard work that bloggers were putting in on top of their 9 to 5 grind, or what benefits they were receiving from maintaining their blogs.
It wasn’t actually until I started public speaking in October 2016 that I began to realize that those blogs I was idolizing were being written with me in mind, explaining exactly what I wanted to learn. The writers of these blogs weren’t writing for their own satisfaction so much as they were writing to share knowledge with me, their audience. With this in mind, I spent an afternoon listing all the things that had kept me from starting a blog before, and what I could do to finally overcome them.
1. What do I write about in a blog?
Every time I sat down to actually start blogging, I had no idea what to write about. I mean, I’m a graphic designer with a focus on digital marketing, so I would do extensive research into what blog posts performed the best on Pinterest and Facebook, but they were usually topics I didn’t have any interest in blogging about. My problem, in the end, wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, but that I didn’t know who I was writing it for.If you don't know who you're blogging for, you won't know what to write about. Click To Tweet
If you don’t know who you want to be reading your blog, you won’t know what to write about. Blogging is about what your audience wants to read, and what value your personal opinion can add to help them overcome their challenges, or move them along toward their goals. When you really nail down who you’re talking to, your online presence will become more like a conversation, rather than someone yelling in a room with the hope of someone listening.
2. Will anyone want to read my blog?
I sabotaged myself with this thought every time I started to write out a new blog post. I was constantly doubting myself, thinking no one would want to read what I had to write or that I didn’t have anything of value to add to the conversation already happening on Twitter/Facebook/you-name-it.
Then I joined a few blogger groups on Facebook and noticed that I was posting lengthy explanations of essential marketing strategies every day. The same questions, over and over. There was a moment when I realized that every time a friend wanted to know about marketing on Social Media, Canva for graphics, or any number of questions about branding; these were the same kind of people who would read my blog.
If you can’t think of a single person on your Facebook account that would want to read your blog, remember that there are other places online where you will find the people who want to learn what you have to offer.
3. How am I going to come up with enough content to start a blog?
I can’t be the first person who put off creating a blog because they couldn’t stay focused enough to write quality content. For some people, it’s having young children at home or being too tired from their 9 to 5 grind. For me, it was my job, my friends messaging me on Facebook, and a constant stream of new emails hitting my inbox. I had so much going on around me that there was no way to focus on writing.
I finally ended up looking into the types of apps I could use to keep myself focused during specific times that I scheduled just for writing. My favourite discovery is an app called SelfControl which does exactly as the name suggests. SelfControl imports a list of distracting websites and blocks them for a set amount of time. Because it can only be forced to stop by restarting your computer, it makes an effective shield against distractions.
I also support the app by leaving my phone outside the room so that I wouldn’t be thrown off by my notifications buzzing on my desk. Where it only controls your computer, it’s up to you to remove other distractions that are in the room while you’re trying to write.
4. I end up editing while I’m writing, so I never finish anything.
I have about 25 posts that I’ve written in the last year that I have done nothing with because I couldn’t stop editing as I wrote. During the last BlogJam Halifax, I attended a presentation by a good friend and content creator named Mike Tanner. One of his talking points was that the majority of content creation is in the editing. His technique for consistently putting out new content was sitting down with Netflix on in the background and banging out as many posts in one sitting as possible. So when he’s ready to post, he has a backlog of posts ready to edit and schedule.
While his method doesn’t work exactly the same for a beginner like me, I have found it immensely helpful to write out the blog title at the very least, and include talking points in an outline. I create a few of these at once so when I come back to do the writing later, the ideas are already written out, and I just need to turn them into long-form content.
5. What are people going to think when I start blogging?
When I sat down and listed all the reasons that I didn’t start a blog until now, the one that kept me from taking action above all others was the fear that someone was going to read it and roll their eyes.
It wasn’t even the idea of putting myself and my thoughts out there in front of strangers – No, the people I was the most afraid of seeing my writing were the people I know on Facebook and around my city. The ones who have watched me grow up from scrappy little designer wanna-be to public speaker & business owner.
When it comes right down to it, if you are afraid to talk to an audience, they are not the people you want to be speaking to. Like I said before, you want to have a clear idea of who it is you’re talking to when you start a blog. Let me be the first to say that the people you think are going to roll their eyes at your efforts don’t belong in that category, so don’t waste your time writing for them.If you are afraid to talk to an audience, they are not the people you want to be blogging for. Click To Tweet
However, if you decide to never start a blog, you won’t ever find the audience you were meant to be talking to. You won’t find the people who hustle like you, who are workaholics like you, or who are busy business moms like you. If blogging is something you want to do for any reason, it would be a shame not to move forward because of what others might think.
So what has been keeping you from getting started? What in your life is standing in the way? Take some time to list out the 5 excuses that have been keeping you from succeeding in your blogging efforts, and figure out how you can work around them.
Who knows, maybe that’ll be the start of your first blog post too.