- “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.
These are really invaluable tips. A really nice article.
Totally agree. Great post, great tips. I really like the main points of fighting shyness. Identifying a boundary is very important. Firmly don’t give your email address when you just started your blog. You would get loads of spam.
Very true! It’s amazing how you can get spam when you first start your blog, even before you start posting and getting readers. I know because it’s happened to me. and to Darren, great post. Some things we’ll never feel 100% about. Being able to accept that fact allows us to go much further than fooling yourself into thinking you can be 100% perfect because you’ll never get past the thought since it will never be perfect.
I overcome this by improving the style of my language. try as much as possible eliminate the everyday language that is difficult diterjema google translate for example….
I am just starting on blogging. This article is helpful and useful. Thanks.
I am just starting on blogging. This article is helpful and useful. Thanks.
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I’m so new at blogging, so I find myself in deep thought what to say. Its nice to have this form of communicating with people in this fashion. To be able to put down in words your opinion on any subject at hand is great. It is nerve racking to think what others may say about your blogs, but I personally find it so much fun or helpful to read what others have to say and maybe they will read mine and find something helpful or insightful for them. Thanks for this post. Happy blogging!
This is something that held me back for so long that I almost got out of this business at one point. I’m very glad i just bit the bullet and went for it. This is something that holds so many people back everyday from doing this.
thanks. because I started over again but never got good readers. i`ll keep these in mind from now on
Good advice, much appreciated. I just started a blog and I wouldn’t say I’m shy but definitely introverted. I felt very exposed when I first hit that publish button.
really, nice article..
I started my blog 4 years ago and must admit that even today I still find it difficult to come up with content ideas and regular posts and I still wonder if what I write resonates with anyone. I KNOW that the more I blog the more traffic I get, but I just can’t make myself do it. I totally agree though, you have to have something important to say.
Dear madam zuanne,
Itis wonderful to come accross to you , actually i’m very interest in this new experiment to me ( blogging) i would like to know more information about blogging world because about three weeks i learnt much and much however, till now i did not set up my web site to get presence on line therefore iam waiting for daily writing tips to provide som tips so as to get moving this may be next week.but tell more about your success in this area and how are you managing your work?.
Thankyou and best regards
I have a blog buddy and it helps. She is very popular in her area. Whenever she writes a controversial blog post…well she is able to put up with it somehow! Some people can be rude.
I recognize these types of fears as basically a low self esteem issue (i.e. I am not feeling good about myself). Just starting eliminates the major portion of the fear.So I just jump in there and begin.
My blog has been up for about a week. With the help of another blogger who posted my story, I received about 2000 hits this week. The hits have steadily declined over the last couple of days. I have 16 followers and had 16 page views today. I have always been a good technical writer (grants, police reports), but I am not sure about my voice on this blog and whether or not I really have a story to tell or if people will find it interesting. I would love some help with this. If anyone can jump over and take a look and give me some suggestions, I will owe you chocolate.
Thanks very much for this wonderful piece. It has really gingered me up to start my own blog. Blogging is a virgin teritory here in Ghana. I hope that you will help me in my quest to become a blogger. Thank you once more and have a great day.
I think all your thoughts and comments on what people have to overcome, to get started at blogging are good and relevant.
BUT, you are obviously forgetting one thing and the most important if you ask me.
For people writing books and such, it is know as “writers block”.
You know what you want to say, you got it all in your head – but you cannot get the words formulated on to the paper / blog.
Most people actually has quite a tremendous amount of knowlegde, but they simple do not know how to express themselves.
So for me reason no. 2 is the most important, and what people should do when starting out.
That is also the way to learn how to build good sales pages, that will convert traffic into sales.
I agree blog is good way for business development.I am a jewelry manufacture and also soucing agent in Yiwu,China.I open blog to tell people my business.And I also get some business from blog.It is also a way to introduce ourself.
If you want purchase from yiwu,or other city in China,I can be your helper here.My mail:[email protected]
fashion jewelry,promotional gifts,stationary and etc.
I do agree with what I have read here from the different point of views. The really big question that I have is how do I start a Blog and keep people interested in the content? I want to keep it simple and to the point but is that a good idea?
The term is very similar to writer’s block.
I probably go through those series of questions in my head every day. “Why… who cares?” But I try not to let that sentiment get through in my posts. It’s kind of like public speaking. People aren’t there to look at you, they are there to hear what you say… so focus on the message.
Great article! Nice to read this.
I agree with all of your points but 4 is the most common mistake bloggers make………
Love your post well done
I still have difficulty in finding the right words to describe how I feel in a lot of my blog posts.
I like the idea of visualising I am writing for someone I know. I am going to try that technique.
Very encouraging. I’m at one of those crossroads, not by choice. My life was turned upside down in a matter of a couple of hours. I was about to set up a blog to talk about my business when it happened. Then I thought I might do it anyway just to help me heal form the hurt but I didn’t want to sound as depressed as I am so I’ve been holding off. Now my concern is that I won’t be able to express myself without offending others or that I won’t have anything to say. I tend to need to have everything in perfect order before stepping out. However, I do feel the need to hold my nose and jump.
Im new to this blogging industry.As an amateur to blog, i would likely be pleased of you sharing some experiences in blogging…thanks.:D
Re: Putting yourself “out there” every day.
You’ve got to do it. In today’s saturated blogosphere you have to put yourself out there or risk being just another mediocre blog. Unless you push the envelope, and make a name for yourself day in and day out, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. No matter how good your content is. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the beast we’ve created. Time to go our there and slay that beast!
You article really hit the spot.I am happy to hear that i am not the only one who are stuggeling with fear when a new blog post is created and expesially when starting a completely new business.
I’ve been blogging for awhile, but didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. I know that sounds strange, but I think there is a thin line between blogging and article writing. I really enjoyed this posting. I can see why blogging can be a bit intimidating, less face it, what you blog about can be seen by anyone, at anytime, all across the world. I’m still learning the ropes, but I find in general I write about whatever I want to write about. I don’t really hold back too much. I receive more feedback and response when I write in a passionate kind of way on a subject, instead of getting bogged down with what others might think. I like the suggestion of 1 and 2. Again, this was a great posting. I have definitely taken away some useful knowlegde that I will incorporate into my blogs/articles.
This is a great article. Starting slowly with a blog is one of the most important things that you can do. I like to consider this as starting a blog experiment, and wrote a post about that recently: The Absolute Best Way to Start a Blog (http://goo.gl/o21TD). I’d love to know your thoughts on that.
Writing for people you know is also a big help. Even though I’m writing to the entire internet audience, it always helps me to picture someone I know when I’m trying to get my point across. It makes my writing more personal.
As far as having something to say, a lot of times that can be discouraging. Often I think that people won’t care at all about what I write, but then I realize that there are things that I know that other people don’t know. If you realize that you only have to know slightly more than someone else for them to consider you as an expert, it really helps.
Thanks for the great post. I’m hoping to guest post on your blog soon with a post that I’m in the middle of writing: 7 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn from Construction Workers. When it’s ready, I’ll send it over.
Best of luck to you. Hopefully we can meet in person soon. ;)
Hey! Thanks for the great article, Darren! I agree, it is challenging at times, but it is rewarding if I just put the info out there. I’m sure we all feel/have felt the same way at one time or another. Thanks for sharing!
Every begining usually difficult, but just believe that everything going to be easy if we keep going.
Very useful for beginners in blogging, for that matter any type of written content. Nice ways to read,understand and implement the original strategies.
When I started blogging I honestly didn’t have this kind of feeling. I was so confident and very pompous. The bad thing for me is that it’s only after several weeks that I realize my posts are not that good, and somehow feel guilty about it.
hello and greetings..
i am also a shy person.. and i am taking a decision to become an international blogger after quite so long become local blogger only.
english is not my mother tounge and internet marketer and blogging technique is not my specialty. but i keep on learning that from time to time for the past 3 years.
now.. even though i am not that ‘pro’ i do have something to share with the world and i believe some one will have benefit from what i know..
to be success i believe that i need to break that barrier of shyness and become more confident.
Hmm… I surely never pictured you as a private and shy person. Good post though .
Today I am more comfortable to write for my blog. I know what kind of people that come and visit my blog, but first of all I have to narrow down the topics and stick to the small one.
Then whatever I plan to write, I know it would be useful to them and they will react, post comments and share via their social profile.
I would encourage young bloggers to start writing something that they passionate about. After a while, people with the same passion will find you and you will get something back from them.
I was like this a few months ago, then I decided to just take the plunge. People wouldn’t know me if I didn’t put myself out there, and that is what I had to do. I had to put myself out there. I just made sure that my fly was zipped and I didn’t have any of my daughter’s lunch on my clothes. First impressions are everything!
Thanks – these points ring so true! Blogging became less stressful for me when I invited my two sisters to join the blog with their own posts. I feel like I’m less in the spotlight, and we always encourage each other with comments. (Of course, then we had to adjust and share some expectations about the blog!)
i have read your article from the start, and very much inspiring. i am also a shy blogger when i used blogger platform and don’t know when and how to start blogging. all i did was keep reading other blogs and follow how they start blogging.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for your continued efforts in attempting to help those mere mortals produce, develop and sustain a blog that brings in a revenue (no matter how small).
I must agree that when I write my posts for my blog, http://www.fashionsewingblog.com, there are, on occasion, times when I feel that nobody out there actually reads my material, which in turn, leads to self doubt. I have found a great tool to combat this feeling via Google Analytics whereby I can track my visitors and compare my blogs “bounce rate” on a week to week basis. Further more, using key marketing techniques, the map overview tool for example, demonstrates small successes as my blog reaches further afield into other countires.
Colleen G Lea
Thanks for writing this, it’s definitely a big help I just started my blog today and I quickly put up 3 post’s to try to muscle through the blogger fright. Of course my blog http://www.vicetech.com isn’t genre specific it encompasses several topics
This is a well-written article. I hope I learn to write as clearly as you do Darren.
I have the exact opposite problem- I don’t mind writing for the internet community, it’s my real life friends and family I get “blog fright” over. Since I know them so well and vice versa, I’d feel like I was writing to them instead of exploring my entire blogging potential. (None of them know about my blog.) Now that I type it out it sounds really silly. It’s definitely something I need to get over, but how do I go about that? I guess I just need more confidence, as your video on “secrets” on your homepage says.
Anyway, thanks for all of the GREAT information!
All good points. Another contributor to blogger shyness is knowing that there are some seriously mean people out there, waiting to pounce on you, no matter how non-controversial you are. Sure, everyone knows there’s cruelty on the web but when it’s actually directed at you, it can be devastating.
Naturally, every blogger should filter out hate/obscene comments and report threats but for those mean meanies who say means things just to be mean, Eleanor Roosevelt always had the best advice: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”
Quite thought provoking. I particularly liked the concept of using some recent experience to trigger a larger thought. Good stuff!
These are very helpful tips that any blogger can identify with.
Boundaries are especially important, mostly for those of us who write non-personal stuff, albeit under our real names.
I initially started writing as an anonymous blogger. The ‘stranger factor’ never did affect me; what got me packing was the knowledge that friends and family were privy to my ramblings after a fellow blogger unintentionally blew my cover and revealed my identity in one of his posts. Not that I had anything “nasty” or “sinister” to hide from everyone I know. I just found that thinking about what those who know me might think of me after having read what I’ve had to write stifled my creativity too much.
Thanks for this post, Darren. Reading this got me thinking about going back to blogging. :-)
That’s my exact problem! How did you overcome the uneasy feeling that your friends and family were reading your blog? Did it have any effect on your writing, and if so how’d you fix that?
Good article, loved to read. One thing i would like to suggest to bloggers is that write in simple simple style and write for your readers, not for yourself.
What a great post, thank you! I think the thing that helps me to let my fear subside the most is the fact that we are all fearful as we delve into the world of blogging. I’ve really grown to enjoy sharing my writing experiences, and I think that even in sharing our fears it helps us to connect with our readers on a very personal level, which is what it’s all about.
I couldn’t have said it better myself…
I never heard of “blogger fright” before. I personally thought that people found it easier to write down what they are thinking instead of saying it out loud.
But I guess if you have 100,000 people reading your blog per day, that does put you in the hot seat! Can’t let down your fans! Hah..I love it!
Well, I think I still have blogger fright for my friends and family but trying to get over it. I’m used to just being anonymous but I found out that some of them actually ends up interested in what I have to say
I’m really loving this site. I’ve found myself diving head first into blogging and I have found many useful tips. I can relate to the “bloggers fright” can say I have it. Great write up.
I can attest to the whole “blogger fright” phenomena. I struggled mightily with this my first couple of months before finally saying “to hell with it” and throwing caution to the wind. Now I’m empowered by the thought of sharing my life experiences with strangers. It has definitely been a process though. Great post- thanks!
That was the same experience I had when I started blogging. It is so hard to start at first but when i get used to it, I can’t stop myself posting stuff.
Great post! I remember when I used to be scared of posting and would start writing an article and half-way done I didn’t feel comfortable publishing that and ended up deleting the article many times.
Thank you for sharing some experiences with us.
Yeah agree with you, however, if you are confident enough, you sometimes don’t actually get blogger fright. I think you only really get it when you feel a big audience is reading your posts.