I have this feeling when I get something new: a new car, or a new outfit, or a new journal.... I'm excited because it’s so cool and I have great plans for it, but I'm unsure when to actually start using it (driving it, writing in it, wearing it). I want it to be “just right” and I’m afraid if I screw it up in the beginning (wreck the car, write something awkward on the first page, etc), it’ll be screwed up forever. This – my first blog post – is even more intimidating.
As I thought about starting a blog, several reasons to abandon the idea came to mind:
1) What if I write about something here and later change my mind?
Remember all the flack John Kerry got for voting one way, then another? What if 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, or 10 years from now I come to the realization that what I wrote on here was uninformed/immature/unnecessary? Then my foolishness is forever enshrined on the internet.
2) What if I get the facts wrong?
I’m not just talking about changing my mind about something, but what if I'm wrong about something that's written in stone? It’s one thing to find out you’re wrong during a dinner debate with friends it’s another to put your thoughts out there - permanently - for anyone to read and critique.
3) There’s no filter.
I'm writing a book for professional Christian women. I have a number of reviewers (read: fabulous friends) who read everything I write before it "goes anywhere." These friends have improved my content and stopped me from saying something foolish. But there's no filter on a blog!
Or, blogs are often the perfect platform for over-sharing - like when authors drone on-and-on about something from their life that only they care about. Sometimes blogs are riddled with horrible misspellings which cause me to cringe.
4) Can I keep up with it?
Am I going to be like one of those people who joins the gym in January but only ever shows up about four times? It’s not uncommon to find someone who started blogging seven times per week, and stopped after three months - their latest post is from 2008....
5) Do I have anything to say worth sharing? What if other people don’t think I have anything worth saying?
The fear of rejection is enough to keep me away.
But obviously, you are reading my blog and here are the reasons that won out. If you’re thinking of putting yourself out there in blog form, or undertaking some other risky business, give these responses some consideration:
1) "I reserve the right to change my mind as more information becomes available to me."
I’m not sure who officially coined that term (Google isn’t sure either) but we all change our minds. To expect myself to have it all figured out before I ever put pen-to-paper is absurd. Writing on here will be part of me figuring it out. I don’t have all the answers, that’s for sure. Hopefully, I’ll be humble enough to remember that!
2) Will I be flat out wrong? Well, I don’t think most of what I’ll write about will be black-or-white subjects. But I’ll also remember that even facts change (The earth used to be flat. Bloodletting used to be the cure for almost any medical ailment. And what’s the story with Pluto? Is it a planet or isn’t it?)
3) Will I ramble? I'm going to blog primarily about the intersection of work and faith and the writing process. Hopefully this will keep me on track and keep the blog from being too autobiographical (who wants to read what I had for breakfast anyway?). As for typos - I’ll be enlisting the help of spell-check and occasional pre-readers.
4) Can I keep up with it? When I’m half-way through training for a race, I usually give myself encouragement in the form of a new article of athletic attire - a cute shirt or new running tights. It perks me up. For some reason I seem to like running more when I think I look cuter. My goal is to blog 4-to-6 times per month for six months. I think that’s a goal I can reach, and maybe even beat! I don’t know what the blogging version of a new shirt is, but maybe I’ll try something like that at month three!
Fear of quitting is a silly reason to never try something. That wise old man Mark Twain said: the secret to getting ahead is getting started. If you’re holding back on something you’ve always wanted to do because you’re afraid you won’t finish it – you’re right. You won’t finish it because you’ll never start it.
And If my blog becomes one of the thousands out there with 4-year-old “most recent post” - life will go on.
5) Do I have anything to say? These topics are things my friends and I talk about all the time - and I keep running into more people who want to talk about them too. I’m just going to continue the conversation online.
As for you – if you’re afraid to put yourself out there, consider Seth Godin’s thoughts from his book “Linchpin: Are you Indispensible?”
What we want, what we need, what we must have are indispensable human beings. We need original thinkers, provocateurs and people who care. We need marketers who can lead, salespeople able to risk making a human connection, passionate change makers willing to be shunned if it is necessary for them to make a point. Every organization needs a linchpin –– the one person who can bring it together and make a difference. We need artists.
Let me know what you're doing - I'll cheer for you!