A Guest Post by Jennifer Blanchard of Procrastinating Writers
I read this blog daily. But it wasn’t until last week when I noticed the results of Darren’s poll on “How long have you been blogging?” that I decided it was time to submit a guest post.
According to that poll, more than 4,000 of this blog’s readers don’t actually have a blog.
I have to say, this fact stunned me a little. Why would 4,000-plus people want to read about blogging if they don’t actually have a blog?
Then the same answer that caused me to start my own blog popped up in my mind – Procrastination.
Procrastination is the continual habit of putting off – sometimes until the very last minute – tasks you need (and want) to accomplish.
Oftentimes people procrastinate on tasks they really don’t want to be doing, like household chores, writing a paper for school or making a phone call they’re dreading. But many times, people also procrastinate on tasks they actually want to be doing.
Why People Procrastinate
There are many reasons why people procrastinate. But the top reasons include:
- Fear – Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough and fear of rejection are the most stand-out fears procrastinators often have. They fear starting a blog because it might not be as good as someone else’s blog. Or they fear starting a blog that no one will read. Or they fear they don’t know enough about a particular topic to start a blog. Or they fear their blog will actually be successful and that will cause them too much stress and anxiety. This list really could go on forever.
- The Phrases “Should” and “Have To” – Believe it or not, by telling yourself you “have to” do something (ie: start a blog) or that you “should” be doing something, it makes you not want to do it at all. This is when procrastinating behaviors creep in.
- Whole Project Thinking – When you think about starting a blog, you’re likely bombarded by all the things requiredto start a blog – you have to decide on a domain name, purchase it, then you have to choose a blogging platform, then you need to decide what you’re going to write about and you have to come up with topics and determine how often you’re going to post and then, and then, and then… Thinking of the project as a whole, rather than as small pieces, overwhelms you, which then causes you to procrastinate.
- Perfectionism – Other than fear, this is the main reason people procrastinate. They get so worried that the blog they create won’t be perfect from the get-go that they don’t even bother starting it. Perfectionism causes serious stress, which is always a recipe for disaster.
- Telling Yourself It’s “Too Much Work” and “Not Enough Fun” – When people think a project they want to complete is going to be more work than fun, it usually stops them in their tracks and keeps them from starting.
How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Your Blog
Now that you know what causes you to procrastinate, you can begin to take steps to overcome it.
Truth be told, starting a blog is not as difficult as you think it is. All it really requires is a domain name, a content plan and a platform.
So here are some steps you can take to begin overcoming your procrastinating behaviors and start your blog:
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways
I’ve heard this phrase a lot lately, and it couldn’t ring more true. Yes, it’s scary to start a blog. It’s scary to put yourself out there and share your ideas with the world. Yes, people may reject you. Yes, your blog won’t be perfect.
What you have to do is understand this; accept it; and start your blog anyhow.
If you allow fear to hold you back, you’ll never really be happy in life because you’ll always be compromising (or avoiding) what you truly want.
Remove “Should” and “Have to” from Your Vocabulary
These phrases make starting a blog feel forced on you instead of being a conscious choice you’re making; resentment and rebellion are typically the next feelings that come up.
In reality, there’s nothing you should be doing or have to be doing. If starting a blog doesn’t inspire you or if you don’t have a topic that you’re passionate about, then by all means, don’t start a blog. But my guess is, starting a blog does inspire you and you do have a topic you’re passionate about, otherwise why would you be reading this blog?
“Should” and “Have to” take your power away and give the power to the task of starting a blog. But by changing your self-talk, you can easily change the way you feel.
Instead of telling yourself, “I should start a blog” or “I have to start a blog soon,” tell yourself, “I want to start a blog” or “I choose to start a blog.” Words like “want” and “choose” are powerful words. These words mean you’re making a conscious choice. You’re deciding to start a blog; it’s not being forced on you.
View the Project in Pieces
You can’t start a blog and have it all pieced together in one day. It just doesn’t work like that. It takes time to come up with a name and determine a content strategy and learn how to write headlines that are effective and find traffic, etc. Instead, view starting a blog like putting a puzzle together: One piece at a time.
The best way to do this is to break the process of starting a blog into steps. Start slowly. Spend some time thinking about what type of blog you want to start. Then choose a domain name. Research available platforms and choose the one that best fits you. Next work on developing a content strategy, which includes what you’re going to write about and how often. Then work on how you’re going to market it and get traffic. Then you can work on finding ways to make money from your blog, and so on.
If you learn to break larger projects into smaller, more manageable pieces, you’ll feel less overwhelmed, which will help keep you focused and not procrastinating.
Give Up Perfectionism
No matter how hard you work, you will never be perfect. Perfection is an idea, not a reality. Humans weren’t born to be perfect. They were born to make mistakes and to learn from them. So rather than berate yourself for not being perfect, remember that life – and blogging – is a journey. And the only way to reach the end goal of that journey is to take the first step: Start your blog!
As you work through the trials and errors of starting a blog, you’ll come to realize that mistakes are actually gifts in disguise. Because for each mistake you make, you learn how not to do something, which will help you do it better next time.
Make It Fun
As the saying goes, “If it’s not fun, don’t do it.” But if you never start a blog, you’ll never get to see how much fun it actually is. Writing about topics you’re passionate about and connecting with readers are twoof the most fun things on the planet. And there’s definitely nothing more fun than getting an e-mail or Twitter message from a reader telling you how much you’ve inspired them.
What blog project have you been procrastinating on? Why?
Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers, a blog that offers advice, motivation and inspiration for writers who struggle to get started. If this sounds like you, be sure to subscribe to her blog and/or follow her on Twitter.