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Have fears? Overcome them now

I’ve been reading all the comments here, and many of your posts. I’ve seen some of the same fears and concerns come up. Here are some answers.

  • I’m afraid to publish: Most bloggers quickly discover the opposite feeling: they desire to have more people reading what they’re writing. For most bloggers, there aren’t that many people reading what they publish. It’s not like the entire web is sitting around, waiting for you to push the button, just so they can criticize. Publishing is the easiest way to get useful feedback and to get used to managing your own fears, something every writer and creator has to do.  If you find a typo (oh the horror) you can easily go back in and edit to fix. If it’s a new blog, keep your first few posts short until you gain some momentum. No one will mind, we promise.
  • But how can I be creative every single day? You don’t have to be super creative. Often being honest, observant, generous and concise makes for the best writing (and photography). And the topics we post here should give you a boost of energy: they’re often questions, and all you have to do is respond. If once a day is too much, go for once a week. If once a week is too much, go for 3 or 4 times a month (you won’t be part of our official challenges, but that’s cool – we’re happy to have you here and following along).
  • I want to go for quality, not quantity.  That’s noble of you, but the only way a writer or creator finds their way to quality is by writing – a lot of writing. Some say 10,000 hours of it. Certainly you don’t have to publish your writing to get better at it, but publishing creates the opportunity for feedback, which can only accelerate your progress. No matter how you slice it, you only get better at something by doing it more often.
  • I’m not sure I can keep up. There are many tricks to this, and we’re sharing them all here. A good one is to have a surplus of draft posts. On days you have the energy, start a few different posts. Then on a low morale day, you can finish an existing post off. You can also schedule posts in advance, post by voice or break longer ideas into multiple posts.

Hope that helps.

What are other fears or concerns you have? Challenges you didn’t expect? Speak up in the comments – I’m sure some of your comrades might have good advice to help you out (right guys? :).

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  1. I love the bit about not being super-creative every single day. Sometimes verbal diarrhea, in written form, of course, is the best way to stave off the inertia! 🙂

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  2. If it takes 10,000 practice hours before becoming adept at something, apparently I’m only an expert in sleep. Based on the average time per day I’m able to actually write (about an hour if I skip sleep and my wife does dishes), I’ll be a proficient writer in almost 38 1/2 years – just in time for senility to kick in and writing the same sentence over and over will make me happy. Just in time for senility to kick in and writing the same sentence over and over will make me happy.

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    1. Hey Tim! If it makes you feel any better, I am apparently not just an expert but a MASTER procrastinator, which is a back-seat-of-the-bus companion to sleep. Sleep at least has “beauty” attached to it much of the time. Procrastinator…well, the non-redemption value so hopeless ::sigh::

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  3. Scott, this is wonderful advice for everyone. I have been writing for years but never really started my blog until just before Christmas. My writings have been for myself to read. I have written so many draft articles that they are spread over several hard drives and now I need to put them altogether because I have finally overcome the fear of pushing that “Publish” button.

    With every push of the button, it gets easier and easier. Thanks to you and to WordPress for putting this challenge together for all the bloggers. I am looking forward to the rest of January. Week 1 Done!!

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  4. I find that for me, momentum feeds the creative/creation process. Once I start posting a few days in a row, writing begins to take on an energy all its own, and soon it becomes something I look forward to doing and actually have fun with, instead of something I worry about or resist. I also find that brevity is not only good for me as the writer, but also appreciated by many readers. There is SO MUCH information in the world, period; few people want to read me pontificating for pages on end about, well, most anything really. Myself included. : )

    And I agree with you in that when I’m just open and honest, that’s when some of my “best” writing comes forth. Interestingly, the honest, not-trying-to-impress-anyone-else-or-put-on-airs-but-just-write-because-I-want-to posts are usually also the ones that resonate more with others, too.

    http://smilekiddo.wordpress.com/

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  5. Today’s topic was uninspiring for me, but browsing through the posts others had made (through the pingback links) and seeing how they have understood or twisted the topic can give you ideas for doing the same – if you’re up to the writing challenge. It was still too much hassle for me though, so I just wrote a quick entry about something I learnt yesterday.

    Another idea is to link and quote from other posts relating to the daily entry topic and write and compare your opinions.

    Keep on encouraging each other though! We’re all taking part for different reasons, and there’s a good many days ahead of us!

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  6. I always worry about the length of my posts, thanks for reminding me I can be have shorter, but equally good posts. I believe that will help me to blog more often.

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  7. haha, thanks for this.

    I can relate with that ‘I can’t keep up’ part, just like yesterday. But I’m trying to catch up because I just have lots of chores to do at the moment lol.

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  8. There are few activities that are as rewarding as writing. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and with WordPress since 2009, and I’ve found that reflecting upon what I see, do, read, and think adds creativity and joy to my days. Seriously. If I stopped blogging, there would be a hole in my life. I would miss it that much. And then there are the friends I’ve made through this exercise. One I’ve never met, and yet I still consider her much more than an acquaintance because of the exchange of ideas we share.

    Blogging: Don’t leave a day (or week) without it.

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  9. Thank You for the advice Scott. While I feel fortunate that I haven’t experienced fear of publishing a post I do however wonder why especially my family and friends almost never leave a comment. My husband and I developed our blog years ago as a place to journal our daily lives in an easy place for family, friends, and acquaintances to keep up on our lives. I would love it if a family member or a friend of mine had a blog for me to read…for sure I’d leave a comment. It leaves me wondering if our content is boring or worse if the posts are being read. I have to believe that it’s being read by some but never a comment or communication. I remind myself that the main reason my husband and I developed the blog is to journal our lives and have the history for us to refer back to, laugh about, cry about for if we didn’t journal about it, it will inevitably be forgotten. So while the comments aren’t necessary they sure are nice to receive, at least once in awhile. I’m pretty certain this is a common problem?

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    1. You are so right. I’ve been blogging for a few years, writing forever, and love it always. I do receive a lot of email responses and great comment but as you’ve noted, family and friends never do me the favor. I recently stopped posting to our family’s blog because I assumed our extended family wasn’t reading it. There was never a single comment in three years. However, when I stopped posting I received emails from family members asking why I stopped. Go figure!

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    2. Many people are afraid to write comments for the same reasons people are afraid to blog at all. They worry they don’t have anything interesting to say, or that they’ll be criticized for what they do say. And they also don’t realize how much bloggers appreciate comments, or likes, or any recognition at all.

      I’d be careful not to beg for comments, as that can scare people off. But there’s nothing wrong with reminding your readers that you appreciate comments, even if it’s just to say “I read this and liked it. Thanks.”

      Leaving comments on other people’s blogs, provided they’re genuine, often leads to more interest in your own blog from people who may naturally want to return the acknowledgment.

      Lastly, asking a specific question in your post invites participation – if your post is simply an opinion, it’s often not clear to people how to respond, or even that you want a response at all. Notice how I asked for input in the very post above.

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      1. Good advice, thanks! I’ll try to remember this. But, I cannot really ask questions about fictional stories. I guess I can ask “What did you think about this?” xD.

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      2. Yep, I’m one who definitely thinks they have nothing interesting or useful to contribute to the internet. I think it could just be a signifier of more generalised self-esteem issues in my case.

        Still, I’m hoping that this blogging thing will actually help me conquer the fear in the long run…we shall see!

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  10. I’d also like to point out the power of brainstorming to get creative juices flowing if someone’s stuck and they have no idea what to write about on a particular day. Just set a timer for ten minutes and start writing down anything that pops into your head. When the ten minutes is up, go through everything you’ve written and pick out the one thing that really sticks out.

    Brainstorming was a technique that came up in each of my creative writing and English classes when I was in school, and it really does help if you’re stuck.

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  11. Thanks for this post. I know when I first started blogging I faced everyone of these fears and they still linger out there! I was worried because I’m not a write, always hated comp in school and was afraid that was I was trying to blog wasn’t going to be grammatically correct or sound silly or whatever, especially to those that are near and dear to me that are English majors! But, I’ve learned as I’ve gone along blogging that I remind myself that it’s me blogging about what might be hitting my hot button or my emotions at that time. I’m blogging about something that means something to me and I’d like to share it with someone else. I’m always excited when I see that my blog may have also touched someone else. So, for those that are out there and afraid to blog, don’t be. My thought is that if it touches one person, it’s been worth it. Although there are some topics I’ve learned to stay away from and I do agree with Brandi that I although the comments aren’t necessary, they sure are nice! Thanks again for the advice and the encouragement!

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  12. First, let me “ditto” Stef… Secondly, I don’t want to Force my writing, that’s a dishonour to my Voice, so with this in mind, I have missed writing on a few of the topics since the WordPress Post A Day’s inception, and you know what?… That’s Okay!

    The spirit needs to get jolted, moved and jostled-up for me to write something worthy of saying outloud (on virual paper). As a poet first, not all topics wax poetic, just as all poetry doesn’t cut it when discussing issues like Politics or the need for Healthcare Reform.

    I leave you with this: If you’re a writer, let those diversions from the path you trod upon, lead you to find your voice… it’s worth something to someone out there, even if it’s your Ego!!! Good Writing to everyone, Denise

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  13. I’m a newbie, so I’m still grinning ear to ear! I tried blogspot but there was nothing like the postaday2011 thing. I love it! Now…will I survive…

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  14. Il est vrai qu’il n’est pas évident de bloguer tous les jours.
    C’est des fois quand j’ai le temps que je prépare mes billets, mais ils sont tellement collés à l’actualité qu’il m’est difficile de prévoir des textes à l’avance. Surtout que si je me relis et je ne suis pas dans le même état d’esprit, je peux tout jeter :-/
    C’est pourquoi je trouve le défi passionnant à relever, mais je reçois aussi depuis, un tas de courrier auxquels parfois, j’ai envie d’y répondre. Bref!
    Parfois le stress

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  15. Fears? As a writer I’d say it’s probably a God given prerequisite to be afraid – can we write? daily? weekly? with substance? will anyone read? OMG we’re bearing our creative souls to the world – leaving our precious vulnerable selves open to all sorts of comments.

    Take a breath. It’s life. It’s a game . . . play it, live it, enjoy it . . . laugh at it !

    And read “Doubt Crept in Before Word Got Out” – over at http://www.brainbrewblog.wordpress.com – which is my ‘very first post’ about this exact fear.

    Dare to be different
    Dare to be YOU
    Dare to be !
    😉

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  16. I am rather proud of myself, 13 posts in 7 days. Hee hee. I started this on 1/4 because I didn’t know it existed on 1/1.

    What I do is ANYTIME ANYTHING of even remote interest is said to me or happens or I remember something from the past, I jot it down in a note. Right now, there are 7 blog ideas in my queue. Not all come to fruition but it is good to have a source. Thus, I am not always running around trying to find a topic and can write with ease when it is time to right.

    Great post, thanks for the words of encouragement. 🙂

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    1. I started late too! But, I don’t think I can do 365, a new one each day even with time travel. So I’m going for postaweek. I’m trying to make my posts as thought out as I can and the topic I choose requires some thinking and sometimes takes a few days or a few weeks to write.

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  17. I just signed up last night. My fear is writing without an editor. I can read and re-read and still have an error (or two.) I’m also afraid that something is wrong grammar or punctuation-wise and people are going to say, “she thinks she’s a writer?”

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    1. Relax. Only those of us who edit for a living need blush when we miss a typo. Blogging is drafting. And with your beautiful photography, the focus is elsewhere. Go ahead and slip in a few errors like a magician’s practiced sleight of hand.

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    2. Who cares if someone says “she thinks she’s a writer?” Most of the people who would do that are rarely “good” writers themselves. It’s easy for them to pick on you but much harder to buckle down and actually write. I deal with the same thing because I am a photographer, people act as if I am not “allowed” to have a second blog here and write. It’s silly.

      Also, the idea of an “editor” is fading rather fast. Very few people have one or use one. Most people can look past a typo (unless they have a WEAK argument on a topic then they’ll point out a typo instead of focusing on the content disagreement) when you’re honest about what you write and it is interesting. So enjoy the journey. 😉

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    3. Blogs are about YOU, and your interests normally. Relax, we won’t hold typos or grammar errors against you. Also, WordPress’ ProofRead feature is kind of cool. ^_^ I love it to make sure it you got basic stuff out of the way.

      Also, I cannot spot a mistake in my own work as well as I can spot a mistake in another’s. Do you have a friend that is trying to blog? How about you have your friend proofread your stuff and you proofread his?

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  18. I am not a writer but I am trying to become one. Previously, there were moments where I was inspired by something and then a beatiful peace of writing was created and people close to me love it. That’s the reason I want to start writing more and learn how to be more creative by improving step by step. My fears about writing has always been that my ideas are not clear enough or the reader is not interested in my topics, which is what happen most of the time. But, I am committed to improve every single day and that’s is a good start, I think.

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  19. Great advice. People really do need to take action. I see so many people who just aren’t DOING. They read and read and read. If that is you, stop reading and start doing.

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  20. Amen ! I teach writing, so I acquire evidence daily that anyone who speaks fluently can learn to write as well. It takes practice and continual focus on finding something to say to a real audience. Blogging gives writers at least the illusion of an audience, thus completing that rhetorical triangle and increasing the odds of finding something interesting to say.

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  21. The technical aspect. It is making me crazy nothing seems to work or I guess work together. Connecting your web page to Twitter to facebook, to word press,uploading,downloading,syncing, it,’s enough to make a gal long for a pen and paper!

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    1. Oh it works! One day at a time. Some stuff happens, some doesn’t I take it at the beginning. Some blogs look great. Me, I spent ages just understanding Widgets, and still didn’t get the ‘formatting Poems’ section!

      On, on I say! Come Easter we’ll be the ones quivering to give advice!

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  22. Oi Fred Leo, gostei do que você escreveu, e não é que a carapuça serviu para mim. Eu leio, leio, e não sei o que escrever!!!! Me ajude o que devo escrever? No meu blog: Escrevo numa boa aqui eu não sei o que fazer.
    Abraços a todos!!
    Mina

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  23. I find my posts are long – which is basically why I need to work on editing – sometimes I just start writing and can’t stop – I love the suggestion about breaking up a long post into several short ones.
    Now I have to go do my postaday2011 entry!

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  24. Facing fears is an apt topic, as I just wrote about that in last night’s post. It wasn’t exactly fear of writing, but of putting one’s creative activity out in front of people. Cheers for the synchronicity!

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  25. This is great advice – thank you. I am new to the bloggersphere and I can certainly agree that the biggest fear for me was hitting that PUBLISH button on January 1st! I am petrified that I will make no sense, that nobody will ever read what I have to say or even worst – that I can’t write at all!! I am definately NOT a writer – but I’d like to be and I do believe we all have to start somewhere. Hopefully I will find interesting things to post about my love of the French language and everything French. If no one reads it at least I’ll feel I’ve accomplished something I set out to do in 365 days!

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  26. I have no problem publishing anything I’ve written on my blog so far but I threw myself out there today and published my poetry.

    That was my risk for today! 😀

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    1. I always try to visit the blog first before I comment here. I don’t comment just to comment, it has to have a purpose and it seems that now I have you laughing. My job is done!!

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      1. Yes I agree with you about the commenting, but sometimes it’s nice just to be acknowledged.
        I would also like to say thank you for adding a little more sunshine to my day, laughing is one of my favourite things to do.

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  27. All the research shows that unless the fears threaten immediate personal disaster, the strongest way to deal with them is to act against them. Fear says don’t publish, publish. Fear says can’t create every day, create every day–one sentence of your own is creative. Fear says go for quality–don’t let perfectism squelch what is good, go for quantity. Fear say you can’t keep up, do what you can, life is only a race with yourself.

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