The Fear of Blogging Survey

Blogging Survey

Blogging Survey

Like you, I’m lucky to be part of a friendly, supportive and stimulating blogging community of writers. But do you realize we have an advantage? We were already writers before we blogged. We may have all had our fears when we first started blogging, but at least we knew how to write.

Lately I’ve been finding out there’s a large pool of people out there, especially business owners, who want to start a blog . . . but it’s all mysterious and rather scary for them to contemplate. They may have a website but they’re not active online every day the way most of us are. And they have fear of writing.

I’ve been asked to develop a workshop to help those who need or want to blog but who will admit they’ve been putting it off. It’s going to be fun for me to help them with their fears.

I’ll be calling it the Fear of Blogging Clinic and my first two will be held near Akron, Ohio on September 29 and October 6.

It struck me how encouraging it would be to provide my workshop participants with an overview of others who overcame their fear of blogging. From the survey results that get posted below I plan to compile a handout to offer with the other workshop materials.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

You don’t have to answer every question. Even if you choose just one area to focus on, your survey response will help me greatly.

Please elaborate as much as you can. Details make an anecdote more compelling.

PERMISSIONS

If you post a survey response below, I will take that as permission to include you on the workshop handout. Unless you state you don’t want it mentioned, I will include your first and last name and your blog address (URL).

QUESTIONS

How long ago did you start your blog? Did you have fear about starting? What was your fear mainly about?

Roughly how long did it take you to feel comfortable blogging online?

What was your scariest or most challenging moment as a blogger? Was it about feeling exposed? Or something else?

Are there moments when you still feel nervous, even if you’ve been blogging for years? Why?

If you were giving advice to a brand-new blogger, what would you tell them about overcoming the fear?

Special note: If you see others in the comments section making the same point(s) you want to make, go ahead and say it anyway (you’ll have your own unique way of wording it). This kind of repetition is good. For a critical point about fear, it can be 100% reassuring to hear it over and over again from various people.

9 Responses to The Fear of Blogging Survey
  1. Carole
    Twitter: cjtreggett
    August 20, 2012 | 4:47 PM

    Hi Milli,
    So happy you’re getting the opportunity to run these workshops!

    Here are my answers:
    – Started my blog about two years ago and I had many a sleepless night a few months before the launch. I imagined all kinds of ‘disasters’ that never happened LOL. I struggled with perfectionism and self-doubt, but I pushed myself (definitely!) beyond my comfort zone and published anyway.

    – Although I’m a little bit more comfy getting my work ‘out there’ now, I sometimes still have to do battle with the same difficulties I had even from the beginning, especially if I assess the subject matter as being personally revealing, or me taking a creative risk with my writing.

    – Equal to feeling uncomfortable about being exposed (because that is very much the case!),I think the scariest possibility for me to contemplate was/is I would get(un)constructive feedback that my work wasn’t any good or what I wrote had already been done and wasn’t useful or meaningful.

    – My best advice to new bloggers is to expect the fear and all the blocks – and do your best to work through anyways. I find I always feel better when I manage to finish a post even though I had tons of fear about writing on that subject. Furthermore, I’ve discovered the posts I’ve had the most difficulty writing and then drumming up the courage to publish are the very ones that seem to resonate the most with readers.

    Write as much as you can as soon or close to when you get an idea for a post, write copious notes in the heat of that enthusiasm and flow. Even if you don’t write a full article, you can return to your notebook at a later time and flesh out some great outlines so you’re not always stuck working from scratch each time you sit down to write a post.

    • Fear of Writing
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      August 20, 2012 | 4:55 PM

      Wow, Carole, thank you for this luscious amount of great material for my workshop handout!

      I know what you’ve expressed about your fears will help immensely. For the ones attending the clinic who are not writers, I know they will find it comforting to realize that even writers have these fears.

      Your advice was all brilliant! I especially loved “I’ve discovered the posts I’ve had the most difficulty writing and then drumming up the courage to publish are the very ones that seem to resonate the most with readers.” And your tips on writing in the heat of enthusiasm (great term for it) were absolutely spot-on.

      I appreciate you taking the time to answer every question. Thanks for your generosity. 🙂

      • Carole
        Twitter: cjtreggett
        August 20, 2012 | 8:07 PM

        You’re most welcome! I’m really happy to contribute 🙂

  2. Valeka
    Twitter: runningonheavy
    August 21, 2012 | 11:01 AM

    How long ago did you start your blog? Did you have fear about starting? What was your fear mainly about?
    – I started my first blog about a year and a half ago (how time flies!). I was very nervous about starting it because a lot of the content is very personal and shows a great deal of my vulnerability (it’s about my weight struggles).

    Roughly how long did it take you to feel comfortable blogging online?
    – Once I began receiving such positive comments and support from my readers (I didn’t realize how many people actually READ it!), I felt more at ease. I realized I wasn’t alone and that some of the things I had to say may help someone who was experiencing what I was.

    If you were giving advice to a brand-new blogger, what would you tell them about overcoming the fear?
    – The best advice I can give a new blogger is to be themselves. They have their own unique voice and someone out there needs to hear it. Helping others can also help us to overcome our fears. It worked for me and helped me to push past my concerns about being exposed in front of all of my readers.

    I’m soooo glad you are doing this workshop, Milli!! I think it will help a lot of people 🙂

    Hugs!
    Valeka

  3. Patti
    Twitter: pattistafford
    August 21, 2012 | 10:20 PM

    Here ya’ go. Anxious to hear what all you have going on. 🙂

    Q: How long ago did you start your blog? Did you have fear about starting? What was your fear mainly about?

    A: Wow! My first blog was over 10 years ago. Back then I wasn’t afraid, they were still personal journals and it didn’t bother me..until I became a “real” writer. I was told to not be personal. After being so impersonal for so many years, it’s been hard for me to get back to just being me on my blog. I do not have this problem at Facebook. That’s my personal playground.

    Q: Roughly how long did it take you to feel comfortable blogging online?

    A: My first answer pretty much covers this one too. I’m still getting comfortable with being more of myself in my blog.

    Q: What was your scariest or most challenging moment as a blogger? Was it about feeling exposed? Or something else?

    A: Scariest part was being afraid people wouldn’t like me. That still seems to be the scariest part. I know now that I will attract the people who will like me, but it’s still scary.

    Q: Are there moments when you still feel nervous, even if you’ve been blogging for years? Why?

    A: My biggest issue is that I’ve been known to piss people off. This is rarely intentional, but I am opinionated and people don’t like opinionated women writers too well. 😉

    Q: If you were giving advice to a brand-new blogger, what would you tell them about overcoming the fear?

    A: Nike’s advice is pretty good: Just Do It! You don’t want to share every detail of your life, but your followers do care if you’re having a bad day or if you have a migraine. They even want to read about your adventures to amusement parks and your travels. It can be difficult finding a happy balance between sharing your personal life and trying to be a presentable writer. But, we are human, people do follow us because we’re human.

    I was always fascinated by the eccentric, elusive writers of the past. However, we can’t be so elusive these days, but we can still be eccentric.

  4. Charlotte Rains Dixon
    Twitter: wordstrumpet
    August 22, 2012 | 1:08 PM

    I’m answering the first and last questions.

    –I started my blog five years ago and I was terrified when it began. I told people I had a blog but implored them not to go look at it (true story). And, I’m a writer for God’s sake! I think I was scared because writing a blog is so personal. Even though my topic is writing, I express it in a deeply personal way. I’d always managed to find a bit of journalistic distance in the past.

    –My advice to a brand-new blogger is this: the way out is through. It takes putting yourself out there to realize it is not so bad. Quite the opposite–blogging is wonderful. Besides writing fiction, I’ve never enjoyed any writing so much. The rewards are huge and nearly immediate in responses from the supportive blogging community. I tell everyone to go for it!

  5. j
    August 23, 2012 | 12:51 PM

    1. I started blogging during the final weeks of 2009, though it was mostly political then. I started blogging more personally (about writing and creativity and life) in 2010. My fear was about being exposed, being attacked, putting something out there that hadn’t been through an independent editor. (Up until then, I’d only been published in print.)

    2. Yesterday. 🙂 Honestly, In July I took a hiatus to, among other things, think through what it was I wanted to do with my two blogs. What was my message, how could I be braver, clearer and more of service? It was fun flying (writing) by the seat of my pants, but now I feel more certain and grounded.

    3. Exposure, definitely. The more personal the experience, the scarier it is to hit publish.

    4. Yes. I keep pushing myself to dive deeper, to challenge myself and my readers (in the best sense of that word). But pushing against the edges is always scary.

    5. Two things. First, know what you want to do with each post. Are you trying to entertain, inform, challenge, start a conversation? Knowing what you want to achieve is calming. Second, write what you’d want to read. If you want to read it, others will to. Trust that. (I find that fact enormously reassuring.)

  6. Deonne Kahler
    Twitter: deonnekahler
    August 24, 2012 | 11:15 AM

    Hey Milli, great questions. Here’s my take:

    How long ago did you start your blog? Did you have fear about starting? What was your fear mainly about?

    I first started blogging in 2008 as a way to document my move to NYC, then kept going through grad school. Got back to Taos and started a second blog about my Scamp adventures, then reinvented the original blog (Life on the High Wire) as a personal development blog.

    I can’t say I had any fears. I’d published before (in print and online) so putting my words out into the world didn’t bother me, and I knew I didn’t have a ton of readers in the early days so there wasn’t huge pressure.

    Roughly how long did it take you to feel comfortable blogging online?

    Pretty much immediately. And once the readers started growing in numbers, and they were commenting and emailing with positive feedback or that I’d helped them somehow, that was huge encouragement to keep going.

    What was your scariest or most challenging moment as a blogger? Was it about feeling exposed? Or something else?

    The biggest challenge then and now is making sure the writing is good as it can be. In the beginning I posted a lot more ramblings, but now that I’ve got the two blogs with specific focuses (foci?), it’s easier to push myself as a writer. I know what each audience wants, and I work harder at delivering it.

    I had no idea this kind of writing would be so satisfying – I thought only the “literary” work would be worthwhile, that the blogging was just a hobby. But it’s turning out to be deeply satisfying, and the readers respond in a way that lets me know I’m on track.

    And now that the blogs are stable, I came up with an idea for fiction that I’m really excited about. (This is new, since I’ve always written nonfiction.) So it seems the blogging cleared the way for the literary work.

    Are there moments when you still feel nervous, even if you’ve been blogging for years? Why?

    Sure. With every post I wonder – what will the readers think? Will they respond well (with comments, emails, and shares) or will the post just sit there, swinging in the internet breeze? I doubt that moment of insecurity will ever go away, and I’m glad. Cockiness is death for any creative.

    If you were giving advice to a brand-new blogger, what would you tell them about overcoming the fear?

    If you want to blog, just start. Write something good and hit publish. You won’t have many readers in the beginning anyway, so you’ll have time to get your feet and find your voice. And I know they say everything lives forever on the internet, but really, if you hit publish then want to take it back – hit delete. Maybe a few people will have seen it, but who cares. Write something even better and hit publish again.

  7. Valerie Storey
    Twitter: valeriestorey
    August 27, 2012 | 8:56 PM

    I started blogging four years ago. My biggest fear was that I’d have nothing to blog about. Up to that time I had only read fashion blogs and I had no idea what on earth I’d have to offer the blogging world. I also wasn’t very computer literate, so I worried that I wouldn’t be able to post any pictures, create links, or make my blog very attractive. Other fears were that my posts would have a lot of typos, my grammar would be dreadful, and that people reading my blog would think I was totally crazy to even try.

    Things got much worse when I invited a “friend” who had a very successful blog to write a guest post. She refused saying it would be a waste of time because “nobody reads your blog.” I was crushed! However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I decided that if nobody was reading my blog, then I didn’t have any reason to be embarrassed! So I started writing entries that I’d like to read on a blog if I were a brand new writer. My first entries were almost like notes and letters to myself about writing and the creative process, and that’s become my focus all these years later.

    My main piece of advice to new bloggers is to write your posts in advance as much as you can. Rather than sitting down on your appointed “blogging day” or days, and facing a blank screen wondering what to write, keep a special journal just for blog ideas. Every time something interesting occurs to you that you think would make a good blog post, jot it down. I like to use my blog ideas as freewriting prompts and I usually have about 3 or 4 ready to go. This also assures that I can blog on a regular basis, but I also don’t worry too much if I can’t keep to a rigid blogging schedule. Blogging for me is easiest when I remember it’s all about having a conversation with my readers.

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