I'm a blogging coach.
I love what I do. Because I get to help people discover who they are, who they need to help in this world and how they can do that with their blog.
But sometimes it's a little hard to get through all the muck. And when you finally figure out your blog's purpose, your content niche, your post categories, still those mean-tempered little trolls poke at you as you write:
What makes you think you can write?
Why would anyone be remotely interested in what you have to say?
Didn't you know that there are no interesting things left to write about?
Most writers come to learn that the first step to killing our fears is to admit them. When we say them out loud, when we name them, they lose some of their power over us.
Today we go head to head with five of the most common fears of bloggers. We'll take them one by one and vaporize them.
5 evil blogging fears and how to vaporize them
1. I can't find my niche.
If you haven't niched your business, you might think it's impossible to narrow down the content and focus of your blog. But that's not true.
If you think a little about what you are interested in—even passionate about— what your target clients care about, the thing you are the best at doing and a topic that has enough content, you are on your way to finding your blogging niche.
When your clients think of you, what do they think of first? What do you have both tons of expertise and interest in? Make a short list and work from there.
2. I won't be able to think of any good post ideas.
Stephen King, in his classic book On Writing, calls all those great ideas The Boys in the Basement.
They are there. You just need to let them out. To release them before they go poof.
Pay attention to where they are when they come to you. Some people get their best ideas in the shower. Others tell me it's when they're scrubbing the sink. Or driving. Or watching commercials or movies.
Me? I keep a little spiral notebook on the nightstand because often they pop up right before I fall asleep.
They'll also come to you if you listen to your clients' questions. Read other blogs in your industry. Watch and listen when you are grocery shopping or at the bank.
You'll be surprised the things you can turn into a blog post. But do keep a list.
3. I'm afraid my topics are 'too big.'
Once you have all those ideas, what do you do with them? You break them down into manageable pieces. And, yes, it can be scary looking at that big idea.
When I was a teacher, I helped my students sort, organize and refine their ideas with a tool called a mind map. Now there is sophisticated software for mind mapping, but I prefer the sweeping motion of a pen on paper. For me, it seems to release the Boys in the Basement.
To mind map, take one big idea and place it in the center of your paper. You can draw a circle around it if you'd like. Then, draw a line from that idea and write a sub-idea, which is part of the main idea, a smaller piece of it. Continue breaking the idea down until you have something manageable to blog about.
Example: My big idea is how to become a more productive blogger. So I put that in the center. That makes me think of developing lots of unique ideas. A part of coming up with ideas for me is keeping a journal for free writing.
Finally, I am down to something I can write about in a single blog post, and I did: 5 steps to becoming a better blogger by keeping a journal.
4. I'll never finish a post because I noodle with every freaking word.
I really get this one, being a perfectionist myself. All I can say is that the best way to get over it is to give yourself permission to write poorly.
Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, calls them shitty first drafts. Just let it all come out. Even if you think you have focused your topic, your first draft will probably end up way too long, with ideas that spread out and wander, like those spidery weeds on your lawn.
You'll have a few poorly-constructed sentences and half-baked thoughts (okay, maybe a lot), but you'll also find in that rambling first draft some good, unique and interesting stuff.
Get it all down. Uncensored. Let it sit in the compost pile overnight. When you go back to it with fresh eyes, you'll see where to cut, where to add, how to shape it into a post that doesn't wander from your main idea.
But save what you have cut because, though it might not fit this topic, you may be able to create a cool new post with it.
5. I don't know how to blog about my business without sounding like an OxiClean infomercial.
This one is huge. How do you go from the content marketing thing—providing tons of helpful information and advice—to getting your readers to take the next step: to hire you?
You can include a call to action in your blog post without screaming, "Buy now!"
One way to do it: If you are blogging on how to solve a problem your customer has, in your closing paragraph, link to a page on your blog or website with a service your readers can purchase that solves the problem more completely. And here are five other strategies.
What is your biggest blogging fear? Tell us in the comments and help us out by sharing what you've done to get over it.
6. I am afraid it will give me a skin disease.
This is just crazy thinking, but actually I read that one guy got a skin disease named molluscum contagiosum (here are some pictures) just because staying on a unhygienic chair when typing.
This is that last thing that you should think of.