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Overcoming Blogger Fright

Posted By Darren Rowse 22nd of March 2011 Featured Posts, Writing Content 0 Comments
  • “I don’t think I have what it takes to put myself ‘out there’ every day.”
  • “Who would want to read what I have to say?”
  • “Do you ever get used to the fact that strangers are reading what you write?”
  • “I don’t think I have enough ego to do this!”

These statements—and others like them—are pretty typical sentiments that I hear from many new bloggers whose main barrier to blogging comes down to self-doubt, shyness or … Blogger Fright.

I remember having similar feelings myself. The thought of writing something and having complete strangers read and comment upon it was something that took me a little time to come to grips with, particularly as a relatively shy and private person.

So how do you “get over it”?

Let me start by saying that I’m not sure you ever completely get over these feelings—and perhaps that’s a good thing.

I still get a little freaked out from time to time that people are reading what I have to say. It strikes me most when I meet in real life a person who has been reading my blogs. The sense that they “know” me (or feel like they do), despite me not knowing who they are, is a feeling I doubt I’ll ever completely get used to.

I don’t think that there’s any problem with having these feelings. In some ways, it’s probably good.

I suspect that if I didn’t have the feelings there’d be a danger: I’d be blogging without boundaries or consideration of personal safety/privacy. I also find that these feelings drive me to ask myself whether what I’m writing is going to be useful to others.

Having said that, I do come across some bloggers (and by no means is it the majority) who become a little paralyzed by their own shyness and self doubt. Perhaps there’s a middle ground that we should be aiming for as bloggers.

How to become more comfortable as a shy blogger

1. Take your time

Most bloggers become more comfortable with the public nature of blogging over time. It takes time to work out boundaries and to get used to interacting with complete strangers online. It also takes time for your readers to get to know you and become comfortable with you.

This is similar to a real-life relationship in some ways—you generally wouldn’t walk up to a compete stranger and tell them about your love life, or that nasty rash, or your financial situation. You start off on a lighter level and, in time, as you develop trust and build the relationship, you might move on to deeper things.

2. Start small

If you do wish to get a little more personal on your blog, but you don’t quite know how, start small. Perhaps one way to do this is to tell a story of an experience you’ve had. It might not be a tale of a major personal turning point, but revealing something about an interest you have or a non-threatening experience that you’ve had might be a good starting point.

It might be an in-passing comment about something you did over the weekend, a reference to a conversation you’ve had, or a mention of a job you once held.

In time, as you get comfortable sharing a little about these smaller things, you might find yourself becoming comfortable with revealing a little more.

The same is true for using your own image or even posting a video of yourself. You don’t need to do these things on day one of your blog—in fact, you may never need to.

For example: I know one blogger who started blogging anonymously (with a nickname). Then a few weeks later, she started using her first name and published a small picture of herself which just showed her eye. In time, she became more comfortable—she now blogs under her full name and regularly posts videos of herself. The blogger let things develop as she grew more comfortable, but it was a series of small steps.

3. Identify boundaries

It’s good in the early days of your blog to identify some boundaries around what you will and won’t share. You might draw the line at people knowing your name (or your full name). You might decide that you’ll let people know your name but never share your photo. Or perhaps the line is around talking about the city you live in, or some level of revealing details about your family.

Knowing ahead of time where your boundaries are on some of these issues is good, because it’ll stop you getting carried away in the heat of the moment. Of course you’ll probably also want to discuss your boundaries with family and friends to make sure that they’re comfortable with them, too (where they apply to them).

4. Write for people you do know

Some bloggers I come across tell me that it’s the ‘stranger’ factor that makes it hard for them to write in a personal way. Writing for an unknown number of faceless and nameless people makes it hard for them to get in the groove of writing.

One technique that I’ve found helpful in this area is to write posts with people I do know in mind. Actually visualizing a friend when you’re writing, and producing a post for them rather than a crowd of strangers, can help you to get going and write in a more personal tone.

5. Find a blog buddy

If you know you’re a person who gets Blogger Fright and it’s holding you back, find someone who you trust to help you move forward in this area. A blogging buddy need not be another blogger (although that could be useful)—really they should just be someone who believes in you, who is encouraging, and who will help you to move forward.

In the early days of my own blogging, I had another blogger friend who I would regularly send posts to, to bounce them off him—particularly posts that I felt a little uncomfortable with or had doubts about. On 95% of the occasions I sent him those posts, he simply replied with, “this is great. You need to publish it.” Occasionally he’d reply with suggestions. And on one occasion he told me it might not be a good thing to post, and to listen to my own internal hesitation.

In time, I found myself sending fewer posts to him as I gained confidence, and found my voice and style of blogging.

You do have something important to say!

I guess the last thing I’d want to say to encourage those suffering Blogger Fright is that I believe we all have something worthwhile and important to share. Don’t completely ignore the fears or nervousness you might have—but don’t let them paralyze you either.

Most people who feel this way find it improves in time, so the best thing you can do is to start blogging in a way that you’re comfortable with, and to let yourself become more comfortable with it over time.

Lastly, remember that in the early days of most blogs that, while your content is out there for anyone to read, it takes time to build an audience. You’re unlike to have a vast crowd reading from Day 1—your audience will grow bigger as you grow as a blogger.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. No such thing as bad publicity……all forgotten quickly these days

  2. Good stuff Darren. It appears you were way ahead of the game back in 2004 (or roughly around that time) communicating to the masses how to effectively blog. We utilize HubSpot for our websites optimization but find the social aspect of the CMS to be somewhat limited in functionality. Our biggest dilemmas don’t stem from the content of our blog, rather I am challenged with how do we get more readers?, how do we get the readers to engage on any level?, how do we get more inbound links out of our efforts? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Well done with your success and timing.

  3. As a new blogger myself, the tip that resonates with me most is “write for someone you know”. I have found myself doing that. It has helped me get over thoughts like “why am i writing about this, I’m not an expert”. Which may be true but perhaps I know more about a certain topic than one of my friends, and surely there are a lot of people like her who might benefit from what I have to say. Thanks for all the great info here.

    • Hi Jean, it’s so true what you say, there is often a fear of not being an expert. Personally I don’t have a particular friend that I write for. And at the risk of sounding schizophrenic, there are often two friends sitting on my shoulder chattering away every single time I write.

      The friend on my right shoulder cheers me on, “I love what you are writing, keep going!!” It is connected to the creative side of my brain. The other friend sits on my left shoulder. It is always very rude and childish and directs me post in WordPress as Draft only. Still over time I am still learning to accept this sarcastic friend, because very deep inside this friend has concern for me.

      • I think I worry most that what I write won’t interest people – and it’s probably correct most of the time. I never thought to write for specific people, though. I think it’s time to try it. Thank you!

  4. Darren, thank you for the post. I was just talking about these feelings with my mom last night. I am a new blogger, and expericeing exactly what you wrote here!!

    • It can be a big challenge for those of us who are shy — and Darren’s right, it does get much easier over time. :)

      I think this part has been key for me: “I also find that these feelings drive me to ask myself whether what I’m writing is going to be useful to others.” I try to filter everything through that.

  5. So that’s how it’s (best) called… blogger fright… not blogging stage fright…:)
    I guess every blogger has suffered from it, you just can escape it.
    As long as it doesn’t stop you from blogging, I consider it as a ‘blog post quality enhancer’ – it makes you to give your best.
    Great post Darren. Really liked it.

  6. I always get freaked out as well, when I meet some of my readers in person. They tell me things about my life and my initial shock reactive thought, is “Oh My God, how do you know that about me?” And then I realize they are not a stalker, that I expose myself quite deeply on my blog. IT is a weird feeling!!

  7. Well good tips Darren and they do work :) Keep it up and I doubt that you are shy anymore..

  8. i used to think that nobody reads my blog but with patience and persistency, i finally realize there are indeed readers. i believe, despite all the tips to improve web presence, there is one thing that you can’t ignore. that’s content. just go on and post with all your heart & soul, and traffic will find you some day. it takes time. though i’m not earning through my tech blog at this present moment, but i’m sure i will eventually. persistency plus the many pointers from helpful pro-bloggers had my blog seeing a 90% increase in traffic in less than 8 months. even though, my technorati ranking is not moving any upwards, but the traffic speaks otherwise and i’m talking about unique visitors.

    • @Mike funny enough I too have a tendency to obsess over traffic :) Technorati is somewhat obsolete unfortunately…do you still look at that? Looking at your site it looks like a combination of really good content, editing and UI design.

  9. Darren, Good advise and also very true. (Hence the nickname) I am still in the early days of my first blog and taking it slow. I am trying to ‘be out there’ with my content but remain comfortable with what I say. Thanks

  10. Thanks for this post. I do think I have blogger fright and I also cannot find my niche. Most of the time I am conscious with my grammar and what exactly I have written as it is not focused (so is my blog).

    I do hope I spend more time updating my blog and finding my niche. and I am definitely going to look for a blog-buddy.


  11. Hello Darren,

    I am so glad to have come across this post, *specifically.

    I’ve been interested in blogging for sometime. I actually started my first blog on blogspot in 2009, just to test the waters.

    I did not know SEO or any of that stuff I just wanted to write about what I was going through in my struggles online as a newbie.

    Being new at thattime, I had enrolled in a few IM courses costing me lots of money to learn IM.

    As I participated in the IM forums, I would observe the comments made by new people. They were some of the same issues I had, like where to start and what to do, etc…

    So I got me a domain, internet newbie income which I thought would be apropriate.

    Anyway I eventually moved over to WP.org and started posting content.

    After a while though I lost interest and my post became far and few in between.

    The blogging pro’s always say to find a niche, I thought that was what I had done with internet newbie income, but I some how lost interest and stopped posting to the blog.

    I was all but ready to give up on blogging when I came across an associates blog a few weeks back and they had a link to David Walkers Blogging Boss blog.

    David simply say’s blog about your passion, thus you will more likely stay interested and involved in your blog and it will grow.

    My first interaction on the internet was in 2005 on Eharmony and such sites. The ladies would comment on how well I typed/wrote, so I thought maybe I can roll that skill set over to blogging?

    Anyway, David Walker recommended your site and your book 31DBABB

    Thus I came across this post. *It is just the encouragement I needed.

    Thanks for sharing it and I will be buying the book and coming back in the future, to learn and share.

    So many people have things they could probably share that would bless and help others, but they shy away as you mentioned in your post.

    I believe I have found my passion and I am putting together my new blog.

    I even designed the theme myself using Artisteer software.

    Thanks again,

    Willie Robertson

  12. Recently someone left pretty nasty comments on one my articles, i was devastated by it… i mean i had been told that i can write well by several bloggers but this person just came started writing, “your ideas suck! you can’t write well, your ideas are unclear, you are a worthless writer, drop this biz” and stuff.

    I was pretty stressed about it… but then i discovered that it isn’t my fault. So… i decided to write my best and stay away from critiques.

  13. Thanks for the great tips Darren…you are my blogging guru! :)

  14. I can say I feel butterflies in my stomach (or would it be “wasps?”) every time I write. I always fear content won’t be “relevant” or “good enough”, and overcoming this fear is a big, big challenge.

  15. The tips are very helpful for starters. I also felt the same way when I first started my blog. I should find important issues to talk about and which are related to current events.

  16. Thanks Darren, these are some good tips for those SBs who are just starting out. It seems like it would be easy to be “not shy” on the internet. But bloggers are actually putting their work and themselves out there for people to read and comment on anonymously (easy to be not shy about your criticism on the internet as well). Cheers!

  17. As I have begun my blogging journey over the last week or so, this is timed well to help give me some guidance. I appreciate the effort! Thanks Darren.

  18. Thanks for the advice, i need to dedicate some serious time to blogging.

  19. I use to sit in front of the computer and ask myself, why am I so nervous about writing my opinion in a blog? The obvious answer for me was I was afraid of being judged, that my opinion would be devalued. As time went by I realized the critics are the ones that actually make you stronger and more confident! Thanks Darren!

  20. I have been surfing about trying to find blogs with the same theme as mine and notice that most blogs are in critical condition because of SB! I am new but I am not very shy…so far. This is a great article!

  21. One of the things that I struggle with is that it seems so much has been said about every topic that I don’t really have anything unique to put on top of all that. I really like the idea of just writing to a friend that may not know what I’m talking about yet or may be new to the subject.

  22. I found user comments a bit of a blogger fear, most were positive, but one in particular called me a *g *** because he though I had a date wrong, but of course he was reading a post from last year. These comments are a cold reminder to me that “strangers are reading what you write?” I like to be able to respond to these people so I enabled a requirement to log in via a social network when you comment.

  23. I’ve been blogging for years now, across various platforms, and would really like to take it to the next level. Thanks for this entry, even though I think my biggest fear is the fear of success at that next level, strangely enough…!

  24. Fright?? They cant see you

  25. Oh man, I have the other problem, I am overconfident, thinking people will be fascinated by some of the drivel I come out with :)

  26. I struggle with the issue of preemptive self-censorship. Every time I cuss, I lose a couple of readers. However, I do enjoy cussing (I love it, I tell you!) and part of the whole point of the blog is free expression. And yet…

    Still on the fence about the whole thing,

    in bed with married women

  27. Wow some wonderful advice Darren. In fact, I so happen to read this article at the right time, I’m currently going through some issues with my blog (that I run with friends) as I’m not getting much readers and am not sure if its me and my style of writing or the aesthetics. This will help better understand why. Again … Thank you.

  28. It’s great to hear so many views on how people feel about expressing themselves and/or exposing there blog to the world. It can definitely create a sense of fear that we will be judged negatively or that we won’t be heard at all.

    When someone who has been doing this for years (Darren Rowse) opens up and let’s us know he feels the same way it makes a big impact on us. I for one am glad to know that what I feel is normal at times when fear kicks in. To know you feel the same way makes blogging much easier handle on an emotional level.

  29. The exercise of going through your tips is refreshing and calming. It definitely helps me focus on content rather than worrying about how readers respond.

  30. Love reading blogs like this. It has such great delicious info. Reading what others have to say is so insperational. Writing however is my greatest love of all.

  31. Lavanya says: 04/05/2011 at 6:52 pm

    “How did you read my mind???” were the first thoughts on reading this post. Though ive always been quite active in the blogging world and follow many blogs for years now (including DPS), I am a newbie blogger. And all the reasons you’ve mentioned here are the ones that has kept me away from starting my own blog. I’m glad to know i’m not the only one who suffers from ‘Blogger’s fright’..!
    Very encouraging…

  32. Hi there Darren, nice work, I wish I could say that this area does not effect me at all but I guess we are all ultimately a little shy. You did miss one point though that might have actually helped a lot or at least it helped me.

    Write like no one is going to read it, write as though you are giving advice to your best friend, make sure he understands you, make sure that he/she can relate to what you have to say, then once you are done go ahead and publish it anyway.

    It is normally easier to take the plunge once you wrote the whole dang thing, then before so I like to start by writing it first then letting the world do with it what it pleases.

  33. I have only just started blogging and I definitely suffer from blogger fright! Thanks for the encouraging tips!

  34. Hey Darren, nice article and they works. Thanks for such a nice aeticle.

  35. Choosing a subject the writer is passionate about will help to overcome their shyness and lack of confidence. Nervous bloggers can begin blogging about a subject they are very familiar with whether it is clipping and using coupons or implementing marketing strategies. Also, for those that don’t think they have the ego to blog, begin by keeping comments closed to blog posts. When the blogger is ready to hear what people have to say, they can open their posts to comments, which by the way are a great place to find ideas for future posts.

  36. well i am a new blogger,so i just want to say thank Darren for all you’r great advice.

  37. I agree . The one cure is time and experience. It’s the cure for any fear in any situation.

  38. The main reason why bloggers fail is that they are too shy to put their name and write about what they really know because most write about what they don’t know and make as if they are professionals on their blog. Your article is great..

  39. wow very nice post and helpful article for all blogger!

  40. As for me, I have rather been kind of closed personally – I’d write what I think interests me, but still, I don’t seem to give my readers the “personal touch.” I actually haven’t even linked up my Facebook with my blog account, don’t really know why I didn’t do that, may be I’ve been thinking I’m not yet ready to show to my friends that I’m doing good at blogging :confused:

  41. I have been blogging for a while and it is discouraging at first. When you check your stats and find 3 people found your blog and the bounce rate is 100% it is easy to get discouraged. But if you stick with it long enough, as Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams” said “build it and they will come”.

    Darren, thanks for the “kick in the rear” and encouragement!

  42. When I started blogging I had dilemma on how much open I could be. To overcome this I avoided blogging on personal issues and turned to technology related topics.

  43. These are some good thoughts/reminders for the new or old blogger. I have just started blogging and, to be honest, hadn’t really given much thought to setting boundaries. After reading this, I have now started considering what exactly my boundaries are and the extent to which I am comfortable sharing relatively personal information.

    Thanks for giving me some things to think about!

  44. Thanks so much for these tips. It definitely is pretty scary when you first start out blogging, but in the end it’s so worth it.

  45. Thank you for the encouraging tricks. It really works

  46. Great post and I totally know what you mean. I certainly have suffered from the “they will not want to read about that” kind of thing. But then when you do it and someone comes back commenting nicely about it – wow thats ok then

  47. Excellent tips. I recognize a lot of the traits from myself and I struggle every day to get over them.

  48. It takes a leap of faith to start writing with naked sincerity; once you overcome your fears its when you may really begin writing from the hearth.

  49. I have set up my blog for quite a while now. But what to write is a major bottleneck in posting and sharing. Once I get an idea or a subject to write its relatively easy to finish up the task. But maybe should take a proactive approach while visiting other blogs and getting an idea for fresh content. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Thanks for the great advice Darren. I’m really just getting started on my blog been at it a few weeks been going.Thanks again Darrin

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