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The Intimidating Secret Every Blogger Shares

This guest post is by Jamie Harrop of BloggingZest.

Like you, blogging often scares me and repeatedly takes me to a point of stale conversation and blocked fingertips. Tonight, I want to share my story with you; the story of how I admitted and overcame a fear so strong it stopped me blogging for six months…

I sit here tonight with the ever dimming light of day flowing over my garden behind me, and for company the slight bronze glow of my desk lamp and the 30 minute chime of the cuckoo clock on my office wall. It’s approximately ten years since I started blogging at this very desk. And tonight, I realized something that has taken me those ten amazing, fun, and delightful years to discover.

I deeply fear your rejection

My readers, I fear your rejection. I fear my ideas aren’t worthy of your eyes or your opinion. I fear others have written before me what I wish to write. I fear you already know the lessons I wish to teach. I fear the conversation my articles provoke, should they by some miracle provoke any at all, will be stagnant, old, and lacking in passion. I fear my voice is just one in a million million; a vast ocean of attentive writers; a vast mass of brilliance.

I fear rejection, and that is why I’ve been inconsistent in my writing. I’ve lacked a clear voice. Sometimes I’m sensitive. Other times I’m blunt. Occasionally I’m controversial. I’ve also lacked a clear schedule, often taking breaks from blogging of months at a time.

“I don’t have the ideas.” I said. “I don’t like where the industry is going.” I griped.

But tonight I realized I was wrong. I did and do have the ideas. I did and do like where the industry is going. And I did blog and I do blog and that is what my fingers were made for.

Tonight, I realized I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t lacking inspiration. I was scared. I was scared of rejection.

I’ve spent the past ten years writing online. I started with a static Web site, updating the HTML code with new text each time I posted something new. Then I created my own blogging software. Then I moved to WordPress, and in amongst all that I tried Blogger, WordPress Hosted, Journal, and TypePad.

Throughout those ten years, I wrote several times about the fear of rejection and the role it plays in blogging. I’ve read about it even more. It’s something I knew others experienced, but never thought I would. Surely, after ten years, I wouldn’t worry what I was writing wasn’t relevant? But I did, and that’s why I stopped blogging.

Throughout the past six months I had hundreds of blog post ideas, but they were all thrown in the trash for one reason; I didn’t think they were good enough for my audience, for my reputation, for the person that I and others had come to expect.

“Hands down some of the best blogging tips I’ve read this year”

Over the past ten years I’ve been told my advice is the best blogging advice to have ever been read. I’ve been told I’ve motivated people to start blogging or to reinvigorate their blog with new life. I’ve even had one of my blog posts taken by a parent and read to her children who were so captivated by it she took the time to tell me. It’s no wonder I’ve set my standards high, and it’s no wonder I began to fear rejection.

I’ve wrote hundreds of posts over the past ten years, and not a single one has been rejected. The occasional abusive comment or fiery debate? Sure. But nothing that has ever been rejected. So it came as a complete shock when, this evening, I finally realised that a fear of rejection has stopped me from doing what I love.

Admitting to myself, and dealing with the issue

It came as a complete shock, but that feeling lasted just a few short seconds. As soon as I realized what had been holding my creative self back for so long I felt able to deal with it. I felt a huge paper weight removed from my fingers. I can deal with it now that I’ve admitted it. I’m not lacking ideas. The industry isn’t falling flat on its face. Those were excuses, an attempt to blame somebody or something else other than my own trepidation.

If we wish to continue building our reputation as bloggers, we need to listen more to the very advice we give to others. So stop being scared of publishing that latest blog post. Stop thinking it isn’t up to scratch. Stop worrying it won’t get any comments, and stop throwing your ideas in the trash. The fact is it’s your job as a blogger to make any topic interesting, to bring your voice to even the most stagnant of tables, and to spark the invigorating conversation that blogs were made for. Go on, you can do it. It’s what you do.

This evening as I sit here with the final rays of sun shimmering behind me, the light warmth of the desk lamp on my face, and the occasional “Cuckoo” ringing out above me, I’ve let my fingers do the talking. My fingertips softly tap the keyboard as I let my thoughts flow, as I share my lessons, my wisdom or lack of it at times, my insecurities, and my story. This is what blogging is about. It’s about sharing with the world your vocal delicacies. And that’s why I love it and I could never stay away.

We all face rejection, but we only fall so we can learn to stand. I’m planting the flag of pride in this post, standing tall and asking you to share. Leave a comment, and let me know I’m on the right track.

Jamie Harrop has been blogging for nine years, tweeting for three years and now writes at BloggingZest. Today, with posts such as, How to Stand out in a Blogging Crowd he writes about blogging, online relationships, social media and SEO.>

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Comments

  1. Maaike Quinn says:

    You are so right. I fear rejection too. Not all the time, but sometimes. Like right now, after publishing a post this afternoon that I truly love. I felt like it was something that needed to be said. I feel so passionate about the topic. Somehow moments like this, the times where I feel I truly show a part of myself, are the most scary of all.

    But hey, I know some peeps out there will love + treasure it. And really, that’s all I need. Sure, I’d love to have millions and millions of dedicated fans – really, bring them on! – but I don’t need them to feel useful and good about myself :D

    So yes, please, be a rebel + don’t worry about rejection and let your creativity spike!

    • Im in the same boat as you. I am new to blogging and the same fear of rejection holds me back at times. This article definitely inspired me to take action and push fear to the side. Thank you for this great article.

  2. Tim says:

    This post was genuinely beautiful. You write very eloquently. I think I’m gonna sit down and write a blog post tonight.

  3. Yvonne Laine says:

    Wonderful words of wisdom – thank you! I will refer back to this post when I’m feeling unsure of myself, and my perfectionist side begins to kick in. I’m still a pretty new blogger and I so very much appreciate the advice! A dear friend told me some time ago – “it’s always new to someone, so keep putting it out there”. I remind myself of this every time I go to write something, and that little voice inside says “but it’s already been said”; I respond to my-self with: “yeah, but they haven’t seen my spin on it!” :) Thank you!

  4. Morgan says:

    Hi Jamie!

    Whether you have a blog or not, I think we all fear rejection. It’s really tough sometimes to get over this fear. This fear can cripple people and get them to just straight up quit before even getting started.

    There are a lot of ways to get over our fear and reading posts like this which gives us motivation and inspiration (and knowing we’re not alone in this whole crazy blogging world!) is an extreme help.

    Thanks for this little pick me up and reminding us that we’re not alone! :)

  5. Scott says:

    What an inspiring read! I have only been blogging for about 4 months. I started after listening to the ProBlogger audio book by Darren. It is the most fun I have had in years. I can’t wait to everyday sit down at my laptop and attempt to produce some quality content.

    Thanks for sharing this story! Truly amazing!!!!!!!

  6. It’s true. I agree wholeheartedly that fear of rejection makes it hard to keep going. I ask myself, is it worth it? Is this going anywhere? Why do I bother? Do people even care? Am I making people laugh?

    Stop worrying. Keep writing.

  7. Graham Lutz says:

    I don’t fear rejection as much as I fear failure. I rejection is a type of failure, but it’s a fear of putting in everything I’ve got and that not being enough to succeed. I fear having to tell me wife and kids they can’t have the life they want because daddy couldn’t do it.

  8. Mandy says:

    @ Morgan – I know what you mean, fearing rejection is normal

    I know I’ve felt it as a blogger, and also as a photographer, so you can imagine what it can be like to be a photography blogger!!!

    So it’s great to have such an honest post like this to read, and help me feel like I’m not the only one to feel like this!

  9. Daniel says:

    For a lot of people, it could actually be the fear of rejection that keeps them going. If you asked many successful people what drove you to keep on going when others quit, they would probably say fear of rejection, just as much as fear of failure. They would have a constant need to be validated(as a person, and/or as a Blogger).

  10. Thanks for this! You really nailed down what I feel all the time–fear of rejection. That is the true thing stopping me from doing what I want to do in my life. I’ve dealt with a fair share of rejection in my life (things like not being accepted by my high school peers and throwing a birthday party at a skating rink where I invited 20 people and 2 showed up, etc) and I’ve allowed my past to hold me back from being fully successful.

    A year ago my blog was thriving. I was making more than $250 a month from it, it was starting to become a viable source of income and I was finally increasing my readership every week. But then suddenly I stopped. Stopped blogging, stopped sending out my newsletter, stopped caring. I missed it every day… but I was so afraid that I would be rejected and fail that I let the little “rejections” hold me back completely.

    This post was the kick in the ass I needed to realize what was actually holding me back and now that I know I can begin to take action again. Thank you!

  11. It’s true. Fear is a terrible thing. It freezes you in your tracks if you let it. I’m a newbie and I fear it everytime I sit down to write. I fear that no one will like my words. I’m trying to get passed that now. As a beginner where comments are few and far between, it’s hard to keep going because you think you aren’t good enough. You aren’t worth a reader’s comment. I vow not to let that stop me. I’ll keep writing because I love it.

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  12. Gina says:

    I don’t blog but follow several and always feel I have so much to share with others but fear they will …. Fill in the blank!! You hit the nail on the head…..we can add fear to the “what if’s”!

  13. Christi says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve been blogging for about 9 months now and have several times questioned whether or not to continue. The questioning was completely fear of rejection. Why would anyone want to read what I write? Am I just kidding myself? Yet, I continue to get more and more readers. Most importantly, I continue to enjoy what I’m doing. So, I push aside that fear and keep going.

  14. Kalyn says:

    At what point though do you decide to stop blogging because no one is reading your stuff? It’s hard to keep going when you keep getting unsubscription notifications from fellow readers. I try to implement much of what I learn on here and other blogging sites, and hopefully my current blog rebranding effort will pay off. But what if I the same thing happens on my new blog as it did my old one? I’m scared to death I will have spent all this time, effort, and money on a wasted idea.

  15. Hi Jaime!
    I am amazed that even when you have the writing skills and years of bogging experience, you can still have this fear of rejection. Now I understand better how other bloggers feel. I really thought I was the only one. This reminds me again of the saying “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
    thanks for this inspiring message.
    Ros

  16. Garry says:

    Fear cripples: It motivates my procrastination. It fuels my negativity. It lurks in the background, silently directing my anger. It keeps me stuck.

    I’m far older than you. And so although we come from a different place, we’ve very similar fears. I’ve difficulty believing that I’ve much to offer, and so I relate to this: “I fear my voice is just one in a million million; a vast ocean of attentive writers; a vast mass of brilliance.” Yeah. Totally. Bloggers are young, talented, intelligent, driven. That’s what I tell myself. A considerable cop out.

    And yet, you’re proof, some bloggers are. Keep it up.

    Because …

    “It’s about sharing with the world your vocal delicacies.” Another one … sweet!

    And yet, I hesitate to share because of rejection. Flat out.

    But, so?

    The emphasis is on MY vocal delicacies. I write for me. It’s my story, my experiences. If others gain some sort of benefit or clarity for there lives, cool.

    Thank you for having the … courage … to share from your heart. It’s had an impact on mine.

  17. Glynis Jolly says:

    I put a little of me into almost every post I read. When I want to suggest something to the reader, I use myself as an example of why. This way, I don’t feel that I’m hurting anyone’s feelings.

  18. Beautiful post. I think your fear is natural.

    Jennifer :)

  19. Sonia says:

    This is certainly an inspiring post that certainly act as a solid foundation with a platform on which to start performing in terms of rejecting your fears. I have come to realized that there will always be a small percentage of rejection, but I have to acknowledge that facts that it is a part of the blogging process. Taking this approach, enables me to be able to handle the situation. Thanks Darren for this great post.

  20. Paula1849 says:

    Wow, what an awesome post. I think there are a lot of people out there (Me!) who struggle with this issue. I love the web but struggle with putting myself out there because of this very reason.

    It really helps that someone as polished and experienced as you runs into the same thing.

    I hope you will write more posts like this one.

  21. There is no reason to fear anyone’s rejection of us. Literally millions of people could read one of our posts and we could get a million responses.

    As long as our intentions are good then we should write what feels good to us.

  22. Megan says:

    Blogging came from journalling. it is like a daily diary, which we may write for our own pleasure. it wasn’t until some bright spark realised that other people might be interested too, that we began to doubt ourselves.
    Even though I have been writing in a freelance capacity for years ,I still get fear in the pit of my stomach every time I send off an article. I question all the time if I am good enough. But it is this fear which drives me to write well.
    Despite making a pretty good living from my writing I still doubt myself at every turn. the fact that this is my full time job is enough for me to make the choice to stick with it. Otherwise I may well have given up a long time ago as well. And the world would be minus one “apparently” brilliant writer!

  23. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration with me. I am so new to the world of blogging. I have a fear to even try and add a comment to a topic I love so much. I am trying to learn to become social. This one is so hard at my age. After a certain age you learn to be rejected. You feel like your usefulness is done. Your children are raised, they have children of their own and even their children are having children. At 76 years old you feel like nobody has the time to listen to you. What you have to say is not important.

    Even when you try blogging for the first time in your life you feel rejected. You have no idea who will ever take the time to read the babblings of an old woman. Today the young dominate the Internet and we are left behind. It was fine when we retired we were free to travel. But as age creeps upon us we are home more and more with little to do. Our children have their own lives and we sit at home hoping for the phone to ring and someone to talk to us.

    Now entering into blogging I sit and stare at my content hoping to have someone comment to me and talk to me. I fear that I waste my time hoping that someone of the younger generation will be interested in what I have to say.

    I have been inspired by you and will continue on to learn blogging and this new language. I have to fear that no one will ever find me. In blogging I now have a small hobby that I am starting to love. I hope one day someone will find me. I have to get up the courage to guest post like I am trying to do now to answer to your wonderful story.

  24. James Greg says:

    Everyone dislikes rejection but some take to such a height it becomes their fear. Overcoming fear is the greatest achievement and Jamie has done a great job to admit it and see the real aspect what was causing fear and took that ice breaking step and overcame it, in-fact he wrote about his fear and many people cannot do that. I agree with Megan that blogging is more of a daily diary than publishing a newspaper. You just write down your experiences there’s no need for them to be sparkling or an idea from the stars, that’s invention and I personally feel to leave that for the scientists.

    Jamie you have done great to overcome your fear and have added one more gem to blogging community. Let your thoughts flow and write down all that you can think of, forget rejection.

  25. Or in other words: ‘Faint heart never won fair maiden’.

  26. Bennix says:

    It’s natural to fear being a writer we always struggle how to get our readers taste…:)

  27. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  28. This is a very nice article, I will try to implement this into my business. Thank you!

  29. Sometime, I’m afraid if my post don’t get any attention from readers or no one come to comment on my post.

  30. Blog Rehab says:

    As a former editor and a big fan of blogs, I’ve started a blog to give writing and grammar tips to bloggers. I’ve seen so many bloggers working so hard to share themselves (and make a bit of money), but typos and poor grammar make them look less professional. I’m offering grammar refreshers in a fun way, but I do feel nervous about what I will look like if I make my own errors in my blog. I haven’t let that fear stop me. At least we can always go back and edit posts. Thanks for your sharing your thoughts.

  31. My biggest fear is why would anyone care what I have to say.

  32. Chris Roffe says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Jamie. I used to be a downhill ski racer. Ski racers have a saying for when we perform poorly in a race, we actually have several, but in the interests of keeping this comment clean I’ll just mention this one: “I skied like I didn’t want to get hurt”.

    We operate on the principle that you need give 110% every race, and that without pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone, to really scare yourself, you would never be fast enough to win.

    Your post reminded me of that mantra; if we allow fear to rule our decision making, then we may never be a successful or adventurous as we want to be.

    I really appreciate that you shared this with us.

    Chris

  33. Great topic! You are so right!

  34. Robin Alley says:

    Thanks for posting. I think it’s Anthony Robbins who says that there are two driving forces in everyone’s life: rejection and acceptance.

    I’ve been questioning how much these impact me. Like you, Jamie Harrop, I’ve got some “reasons” I haven’t written on my blog in over half a year now. But are they just excuses? It would be hard for me to convince even myself that they are solid, good reasons. Maybe it’s fear. We all feel fear after all.

  35. Denis says:

    That age old fear of rejection. It worries us all at some time or another. As at least one of the other respondent has said there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
    I am the minister in a Uniting Church in Australia and this fear is one that tugs at me often. The responsibility of speaking to a significant group of people every week and may times two or three times per week is significant. On the occasions when this fear actually enters my psyche I still have to find a way of proceeding and ‘supplying a product’ (we might say a word), that will bring hope, or light, or life and to be creative in the delivery.
    I am in one of those spots at the moment. There are always some, perhaps only a few, that don’t like something about the ‘product’ or its delivery. Even more rarely some of those give voice to their disenchantment. One simply has to move on and in the words of that Nazarene of long ago, simply speak the words you are given, trust and the words that you are given. (paraphrased, of course).
    I have been toying with the concept of Blogging for some time and today’s post is encouraging me to go again and give it a real go.
    Thanks for the consistency of good advice and valuable encouragement.
    Denis

  36. Amy says:

    You put all of my fears into words. Today, I wrote a post that I got good feedback on. I even had someone privately email me and said “I almost stepped into sin, but I remember what you said, took a step back and didn’t”. All. day. long I have been telling myself that my post wasn’t good enough, I should have spent more time writing and editing it and that nobody likes it. So even when we get positive feedback, we still think we suck. Why do we do that?

    I am going to share your blog. There is another blogger that needs to know they are not alone. :)

  37. Jaime says:

    Way. To. Go.

    I got a little emotional about this (well, I am a girl, after all )… I think that’s how we all feel, to some extent.

    And I feel like it’s a little bit stronger in marketing. You’re someone we look up to – someone we admire. This post makes everyone real and everyone’s emotions justified.

  38. Kehinde says:

    It’s pretty good these key points are discussed for new bloggers to take a clue from. Blogging for money simply means voicing natural things that you believe it’s of a great benefit to the populace, in return, your account swells.

  39. You’re all the way on the right track, Jamie.

    Excellent piece.

  40. Matt R says:

    Rejection is one of the biggest fears.
    Learn to handle rejection.

    We have the right to publish whatever it is we want to publish, as long as we did our best.

    Perfection? Overrated.

    As long as it has value, I say hit publish already!

  41. Denys Yeo says:

    A lot of discussion on this topic so I guess the fear of rejection is quite real in the blogsphere. So good post around how to deal with this, usually unfounded, fear.

    upi:dyd-dgyeo