I had conversations with two people in the previous weeks who were considering blogging for the first time, or at least taking it serious for the first time.
It’s interesting to speak to people who are considering this path, especially hearing what stops them from doing it. Most people never start a blog, and of those who do, very few see it as something they are committing to beyond a few casual posts a month.
Obviously if you want results with a blog that can potentially have an impact on your life, you need to put enough effort in to have an impact on other people’s lives. Sure you can set up a casual blog, write an article now and then that your closest friends see because you share it on facebook and twitter, who then encourage you to continue, but that’s not going to change your life.
If you want the exposure and reach that can lead to real income or amazing business or personal opportunities, you’re going to need to at the very least commit to writing on a more consistent basis. It helps tremendously if you change your mindset and reframe your blog as merely a casual journal to a proper project, something you see as serious as a job you care about or a business you want to see become your main occupation.
If you’ve read my articles for a while you know I focus more on mindset than anything else when it comes to successful blogging, business and life performance.
Everything begins and ends with the mind, and not surprisingly, this is the first place I see weaknesses and limiting beliefs surface in new bloggers.
I was speaking to my potential new blogging friends urging them to get serious about it. I explained the possibilities, the paths they could take, talked about how they could use their blog as a platform to expand into areas they are passionate about, if only they would focus on increasing output on a consistent basis.
The most common excuses dished back to me for not taking action all relate to some kind of fear.
“Why would anyone read my writing?”
“I don’t have enough to say to write a blog regularly”
“There are already plenty of amazing blogs covering the same subjects, why would anyone read mine?”
Unfortunately these beliefs always prove true when a person isn’t congruent with their goal, and that is the real challenge to overcome.
No one will read your blog if you don’t produce something to read on a regular basis. If you don’t take your blog seriously then you’re not going to be thinking about creating content, hence you won’t think of any new topics to write about. Finding other blogs writing “better” content than you could write is easy too, so why not believe you have no chance to compete and never try in the first place.
It’s easy to defeat yourself, especially if you are not certain what you are doing is what you want. Being confused is a forgivable offense. Everyone starts there, where you are not sure if you want to do what you are thinking of doing, especially when you have demands pressuring you to make money or pursue a career or follow the herd like all your friends.
Taking a job is a lot like becoming part of a religion. Relinquishing control to a higher power takes away some of the responsibility for your decisions. Being told what to do and toeing the line is much easier than making decisions for yourself and coping with the outcomes.
If you take a job you have a boss and a company you are responsible to, a job with functions that are there to follow every day, and plenty of social proof is all around you. Everyone else in the company is doing the same thing so it must be right and it’s certainly the safest choice because you won’t upset anyone.
This is why employment will always be less scary than entrepreneurship. If you are responsible for what you do every day, if you don’t do it then no one is going to be upset. You might become upset with yourself when you realize you aren’t getting anywhere, but that’s a lot easier to cope with than upsetting other people (or is it?).
The first step if you want to build a successful blog or do anything that is entirely in your hands, is to commit to it. The choice must be made in the mind and from there everything else is born. Your foundation is your ability to continue action regardless of circumstances and emotional state, which is incredibly hard if you don’t have a runaway train-like direction towards your goal.
Obviously you shouldn’t be blind in your actions. There’s a difference between committing to a goal and focusing on actions that are entirely changeable based on results, and hitting your head against a brick wall expecting it one day to not hurt because you keep doing it. Feedback from experience is by far the best tool for navigating towards a goal, so combine a steadfast mule-like approach to action, with a rabbit-like agility to change direction as terrain changes.
Finding this kind of clarity is by far the hardest part. There’s not much I can do to “teach you” how to gain this insight, this internal power.
Because it relies so much on your self esteem.
Whatever you believe you are capable of is what you are capable of. When you haven’t done something before, you will easily find all the reasons why you can’t do it.
This article is not going to dive into how to increase your self esteem – that’s an entire series in itself (start with my Positive Change series for help in that area), but what I do want to do now is destroy some of those limiting beliefs I mentioned earlier that budding bloggers almost always have.
Let’s begin with the first limiting belief – why on earth would anyone want to read your blog?
That’s a good question, but it’s easily answered.
Why does anyone want to read the Lord of The Rings, or Harry Potter, or the Bible, or for that matter listen to the Beatles, or watch Sex and The City, or consume any form of content produced by other human beings?
The answer is because they want to. Even a textbook prescribed to a student at university that is incredibly boring (I had plenty of those) is read by some people because there is a motivation to do so – in this case to gain the information necessary to pass the subject.
In your case your blog will be read by people who have some kind of compelling reason to do so. It might be because they share your passion for the subject you are covering, or perhaps they like your writing style or your personality, maybe they searched for an answer to a question that you provide, or maybe they were guided to your blog by a peer recommendation.
The real question here is not of the value of what you produce, but of your ability to produce it in the first place. If you create something that serves a need of other human beings then your words will be read. As the sign above my high school homeroom blackboard said – 100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in (thanks to Wayne Gretzky for that one!).
You must be a creator. The universe is structured in a way to not only reward creators, but functions in a perpetual state of creation. There is no such thing as a static existence. You might sometimes feel like your life is going nowhere, but you are always moving towards something and away from something else.
In the case of blogging – or Internet business, or any aspect of life – if you are creating something for others, or you might call it “giving”, then you are opening doors to what you want.
It amazes me how many people get stuck because they don’t have direction and believe that thinking about it or getting coaching or having discussions will help them get unstuck. Yes these things are helpful and have their place, but if you really want a concrete answer – create something and see how others react.
Action is creation, and that is why it works. It’s the ultimate confusion destroyer because it eliminates possibilities by creating outcomes. If you test enough possibilities by creating things one of them will eventually take you to what you want.
But I digress, I’m getting a little off topic…
If you believe no one will read your blog and that stops you from writing it, then you’ve just proven yourself correct. How immensely satisfying (NOT!). You’re human, you consume other people’s creations, why is it so hard to believe that other people will be dazzled by what you create?
Let’s assume I’ve pumped you up enough that you believe others will like what they receive from you. At least a teeny-tiny fragment of the world will take a look, enough for you to find out if you want to keep writing about what you are writing. However, what are you going to do when you run out of things to say?
Let me tell you what anyone who is passionate about something knows - you can’t ever get enough of what you love.
Sure we have limited time and attention spans, but when something captivates us, we will never ever be satisfied. Think about a TV series you loved – did you ever want it to end? (I could have watched LOST forever.) How about a book, or even a person you met who is just so amazing you think about them all the time? You can never ever get enough of these things, they are insatiable.
The beautiful thing about blogging, when you connect the dots perfectly and you align your passion with other people’s passions and become a creator and not just passive consumer, you enter a world where there are no limitations.
You can’t run out of things to say if you’re talking about what you really love. There’s an unlimited number of stimulation points, triggers, inputs and situations that generate ideas. The only way for it to stop is for you to either die or clear your mind completely through meditation – though even in a meditative state your subconscious will no doubt find a way to create even while your conscious mind is dormant.
If you’re struggling for ideas then you’ve either chosen something you don’t care about enough, or switched your perception of your subject to something that is more like a job or a task that must be done, rather than a passion that must be expressed.
Your emotional state dictates how you create. Change your frame and you change your world.
Observe how you feel when you think about writing your blog. Think about the subjects you are covering and what they mean to you and your readers. Ask yourself where your content is taking you, what is the “big picture” creation you are working towards, the sum of the parts that leads to a life changing goal (presumably – why work towards anything less!). If you see the spark behind the next step – the next article – it can lead to magic and that magic is full of endless ideas for possible blog articles.
You’re an interesting person with interesting opinions, ideas and concepts to share. Don’t ever think otherwise or once again you’re killing creativity before it even has a chance to teach you or anyone else anything.
The last limiting belief to destroy today is that of competition. So many people give up on blog ideas because they believe there is too much competition already covering the same subjects.
There’s something interesting I learned about the blogosphere many years ago, something that can be wonderful and very different from the traditional offline world of business. Competition doesn’t really exist.
Let me explain…
I’m into dance music, in particular the trance and progressive scene. This particular genre has a global following large enough to support a lot of DJs. The DJs travel around the world playing shows and producing music they release on podcasts, CDs, and to play live.
I subscribe to about 12 different podcasts from different DJs. Each podcast is put together by a DJ, however they are all composed of different tracks created by different DJs. Tracks are often remixed, which means one DJ takes another DJ’s track and creates a unique spin on it. DJs all play each other’s music, helping spread awareness for each other’s work. Obviously some DJs are more popular than others, but no DJ plays only their own music, they always mix it up.
Every week of the year many DJs are playing live gigs in all kinds of places on the planet, often with each gig featuring multiple DJs. As far as I can tell (you never know what goes on behind the scenes of course), the dance music industry is more about collaboration than competition. There’s abundance rather than scarcity, cooperation rather than competition.
I can listen to music from one DJ and another, one doesn’t exclude the other. DJs actively work to promote each other and hang out with each other at live gigs, making for a community vibe rather than one of ruthless competition.
It turns out the blogosphere is a lot like this. I started writing a blog about how to make money from blogging (and other related topics). I certainly wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last. There always seems to be room for more if you have good ideas to share.
Bloggers generally share content and support each other by recommending each other’s good articles, podcasts and videos, promoting each other’s products, interviewing each other, combining to launch projects together and very much working within the framework of a community.
Even if you don’t participate in the community at all, just because you start writing about a subject doesn’t mean readers have to decide between your work and the established players. Obviously the established players have the advantage of incumbency, but a reader is not mutually exclusive, he or she can read as many blogs as they choose. This happens because the barriers between one blog and another are non existent. There’s no fee to read most blogs, which means switching cost is zero, so you can consume as much as you have time for.
Obviously the issue of information overload and attention deficit comes into play as a result of lots of options, but the point is still valid, just because one blog already covers a topic you are passionate about should not stop you from entering the market. In fact you should see that as encouragement as it demonstrates there is a market large enough to support a blog and you have at least one other blogger you can get to know and possibly collaborate with.
Remember your voice is distinct, your experiences are unique and your style is your own. No one can compete with that, so you always have a point of differentiation.
I’ve debunked at least three of the major blockages that stop people from starting a blog. Although I can attempt to convince you of all kinds of things using my words, at the end of the day all of this is about you.
You decide whether you believe other people want to read what you have to write about.
You decide whether you have enough inspiration to produce content on a regular basis.
You decide whether the existing websites in your market represents competition that stops you or evidence of success that inspires you to start.
No matter what happens, it’s entirely your responsibility and your choice. All you need to do is figure out which choices are the best for leading you to what you want, then have the courage to make them.
And learn how to build a better blog.