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What Fears Have You Overcome as a Blogger?

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Many times when I speak to new bloggers (or Pre-Bloggers) and ask them what might be holding them back from taking their blogs to the next level (or holding them back from starting blogging) the response I get is around ‘fear’.

  • What if nobody reads?
  • What if I can’t write well?
  • What if people laugh… or worse… what if they attack me?
  • What if I say something stupid that might come back to bite me later?

The last goes on and on.

When I started blogging my own fears resembled those that I listed above pretty closely and over the decade of blogging since I’ve added quite a few more to the list at different points as I faced new challenges and obstacles.

One of the sessions I’m planning for this years ProBlogger Event is going to be on smashing through your fears as a blogger and in preparing for it I asked last week for my followers on Twitter to share some of the fears that they’d had that they’ve had to overcome.

The response was pretty amazing so I thought it might be a good discussion to have here on ProBlogger.

What fears have you overcome as a blogger?

Or – if you still have them – what fears are you currently facing as a blogger.

I’d love to hear not only the fears you’ve faced in your blogging – but also if you have a moment I’d love to hear your story of how you’ve overcome them (or attempted to).

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. lunaKM says:

    I fear to ask them for money (buy my paid products). I keep thinking that I need to give away so much of myself and my writing for free before they will think I’m worthy to buy from. How much is too much of a sales pitch. How often should it show up as a reminder that I sell books/courses/membership that they might be interested in before I turn people off of my message?

    • John Gibb says:

      hi Iuna

      It depends of what type of product you offer…

      If it’s a collection of links or hard to find resources, then the item is nothing but a great time saver… you don’t have to sell your expertise, and expect others to like you before they buy from you…

      Obviously, the more personal and trusted you are (hint – work on your brand), the more sales you should be making — combined with the use of a good autoresponder system and follow-up sequence of a minimum 7 relevant emails…

      I’d say if your message gets its point across in 5 pages, that’s enough to make both parties happy…

  2. Geri Lawhon says:

    My original fear was that somebody would actually READ what I wrote. In my early days of blogging, I thought I needed to monetize the blog to make it worth the effort so I wrote an little ebook. Then I found out that nobody, or very few people, would ever read my blog. That’s when I discovered all I needed to do was blog for my own personal satisfaction. I reached a personal goal of writing a book and never sold a copy.

    Even though my blog doesn’t reach nearly as many readers as your blog, I’ve had people contact me simply to say they liked my writing style and a couple of business owners offered me jobs. I like my blog and my little ebook. I enjoy writing and now blog so that other people might read a post or two once in awhile. My entire purpose for blogging changed when I realized it wouldn’t make me rich. Now, I fear my writing won’t improve as I practice.

    • John Gibb says:

      hi Geri

      I like your domain, is short and super brandable…

      I wonder why you fear your writing won’t improve as you practice.. isn’t practice the key to genius?

      Anyway, I feel like you don’t get the big picture of blogging yet… for some it’s a platform to launch their speaking career… or writing career… or business… or product… or service…

      You can use your current blog to develop all kinds of projects and sell all types of products and goods on the web… think about it… you have this power… why let fear interfere with your goals and aspirations, did you marry with fear? LOL

  3. Hi Darren,

    1 – What if I posts too much? (Solved, I post 50 times or more daily doing short videos on 2 blogs ;))

    2 – What if my comments go into spam? (Solved, I write long, helpful comments that bloggers need to notice lol)

    3 – What if people rip me a new one? (Solved, I write, deal with criticism, detach)

    Of course I experience blogging fears from time to time but honest to goodness, diving into the face of fear and doing it anyway is the only solution. The fear dies. You feel uncomfortable as hell but really good about succeeding as your fears die a quicker and quicker death.

    List your fears. Then do the thing you fear to do, and the list dies. It works. Keep doing what you fear to do, again and again, and although new fears pop up you can handle them gracefully.

    Thanks for sharing Darren!

    Ryan

    • John Gibb says:

      hi Ryan

      No matter how good, or meaty your blog comments, they’ll still end up into the spam folder… Aksimet and similar anti-spam plugins are fault… did you ever notice not all your comments get approved?

      If you track your comments as I do (I post 500+ comments a month on relevant/most popular sites in my niche), then you’ll experience some lost comments, no matter how awesome they are…

      I tried to post the same comment multiple times on multiple blogs… for some reason or another, some blogs don’t get my comments at all (just a handful of them) — so I skip those blogs and post where my comments are welcomed and appreciated

      I contacted these bloggers but nobody bothers to understand the implication of anti-spam filters, and they just say… “post it again”… although I stated in the email they received from me… “I already posted 3 times…”

      It’s funny, but the naked truth behind blog commenting reality…

  4. Andrew says:

    I have cycling blog. I’ve built a (small) list of email subscribers (approx 100) who’ve signed up to get blog updates (there was no opt-in). The open rate is quite high (~70%) and so is the click rate.

    My fear is making an offer to the list. I’m scared I’ll offer the wrong thing and that people will start to unsubscribe (and I’ll never get them back etc etc).

    My strategy: I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and do it! (Plus I’m going to start offering an optin to try to have my sign up rate higher than the unsubscribes)

    • John Gibb says:

      hi Andrew

      Congrats for the high open rate… how do you do it?

      As for launching your product, think to create a survey where you ask them about their challenges and major wants/needs…. they’ll tell you what they want, what they hate, what their obstacles are…

      You won’t believe what addressing the right questions can do for your product launch… surveys are the core foundation for product launches, online and offline…

      This ensures you create the right product at the right time…. just don’t ask about pricing… as each answer is subjective and most people will buy the product anyone regardless the pricing, if it’s what they really want and/or need.

      Does it make sense?

  5. Patti says:

    Fear: what if I allow folks to see me, the authentic me, and they turn away?

    How I overcame the fear after years of blogging: I don’t know who else to be, so I better embrace me, even the goofy, foul-mouthed, big-hearted, prone-to-ridiculousness authentic me, or I can’t expect anyone else to. Scary as hell, but it works.

  6. The biggest fear is probably that I’ve started out all wrong, and that the niche I’ve chosen is too narrow. After that comes the fear that what I’m writing isn’t good enough, therefore I’m not good enough. Then I read a few chapters out of On Writing Well, and I realize that this is typical writer insecurity. That realization alone is usually enough to help me build a bridge, get over myself, and keep hammering away. Keep moving forward.

    • John Gibb says:

      hey Justin

      you can always select another niche, and re-direct current domain to the new one, to better brand yourself and carve a more relevant, less narrow niche – what do you think?

      However, the secret is to find a narrow niche IMO, that’s where you can establish yourself as the #1 authority… general niches are not worth the time or involvement… what do you say?

  7. Kushal Azza says:

    I have fear of failure.

  8. James Rhodes says:

    Blogging is a scary thing. It’s your ideas, content, knowledge, and personality infused into an online destination. It is very personal. Many realize this and are deathly afraid of failing. Of putting themselves out there. Of going at it 100%. So much so, that many sabotage their own success.

    Putting ourselves out there 100%, makes you very vulnerable. Which is why many people will only put in half the effort. They take the easy route. If they fail, they have an excuse: it was because they didn’t really try, not because society rejected them.

    This fear of rejection is why many people handcuff themselves to a 9-5 job they hate. Because they are deathly afraid of failing. Of doing something they really want to do and looking stupid when they fall flat. It is scary to put your all into something that could fail.

    Which is why the best bloggers are fearless. They put everything they have into their blogs and don’t fear failing. Who cares if they fail? To the best bloggers it is scarier NOT to try.

    When you let go of fears, anxieties, worries, and doubts a special thing happens. Your lizard brain quiets and your creativity and productivity takes over. These emotions are handcuffs. Find the key to yours and unleash your potential.

    Thanks for bringing our attention to this immensely important topic Darren!

  9. Hi Darren,

    This is a great question! I’ve done web / interactive marketing now for over 17 years. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients from multi-hundred million dollar corporations to small mom-n-pops. I live, sleep, and breathe online marketing. But I’m not a blogger…until recently. And it’s been incredibly difficult. I read so many great blog posts and think, “I can do that,” but then I stair a blank WordPress post screen wondering what in the world to write. I actually have professional writers who work for our clients, but when it comes to my own blog, I get stuck. And I do have the fear of “what if it sucks” or “nobody reads it” or “it sounds too elementary.” Just today, however, I posted my first “decent” blog post: 20 SEO Tips for Small Business Search Engine Marketing.

    http://brighttribe.com/top-20-seo-tips-for-small-business-search-engine-marketing/

    I hope this will grease my blogging wheels.

    Thanks!

    • John Gibb says:

      hey Brian

      You could survey your readers and ask what their biggest challenges and frustrations are … and write about that… that’s a little trick I use to get relevant content ideas for my posts and product launches…

      What do you think? :)

    • You comment is wise, really wise, James.
      No need to afraid. Do what you think you must to do and what you like to do and what you can to do, and don’t worry about consequences!

  10. Its not really a fear, but the one thing that is really holding me back is the amount of readers and commenters on my blog (few). Its hard when you put it so much effort and it doesn not really pay off, and then you just try less and less… and I guess in the end your blog just dies out (luckely not there yet, but I could see it happening, and thats scary!)

  11. Guy Hogan says:

    My only fear is that I may not reach my goal as a blogger. What is my goal? To make money from my blog. So, my fear actually keeps me moving forward, learning all I can about how to be a better blogger.

    • John Gibb says:

      hi Guy

      Do you really think making money from your blog is a goal, or just a dream?

      All blogs start with a dream, but when you get real about it, the goal is real, more specific, measurable, and realistic.. like … “I want to make $500 within 3 months”

      Do you think this is more doable and maybe sounds like a goal? :)

  12. Ash says:

    I still remember a long conversation with a dear friend of mine called Vinod. I said to him “Why would anyone want to read what I write? There are so many successful blogs in the world – why on earth would they want to read what I have to say”

    Vinod said to me “I’d like to read what you write and I’m sure there are many other people out there like me. Besides you’ll never find out unless you try it”

    That was about 4 months ago.

    The third month after I started writing in earnest I got 25K hits in the month of June. Wow!

    Thank you Vinod!!!

    :-)

    Sadly I haven’t worked out a way to monetise the blog yet – only have earned a whopping $4.08 so far :-(

    • John Gibb says:

      hi Ash

      It’s funny you’ve said you haven’t worked out a way to $$$ your blog, yet you’ve made some peanuts… how come, AdSense?

      It’s interesting to see what your readers need or want, and survey them before you launch your own product or recommend affiliate programs…

      Hope it helps?

  13. Tracy Line says:

    I am a fairly new blogger and in a nutshell, I fear I will put myself out there and I will fail. Fall flat on my face. It’s like my brain is split in two. There is the half that is so excited because I am finally doing what I love, which is writing. Yet because I love it so much, the stakes are high and the other half of my brain is trying to stop me, protect me. Even so, am finding that the more I just forge ahead, doing my best work and learning all I can along the way,the less grip the fear has on me. I am learning to grow a thick skin. And in the world of writing, I am going to need it.

  14. One thing that concerned me when it came to blogging was I might not be good at it. At first I was comparing myself to people who’ve been blogging a lot longer than I have.

    Once I received feedback for people telling me to keep writing because I provide valuable content – it just enlightened me. I was going to continue to write regardless, but to know others appreciated & learn from what I write is genuinely satisfactory.

    Now – I just have to keep improving my writing skills, provide value and keep promoting. =)

  15. I used to fear – and still do, to some extent – offending someone. Not that my blog is offensive by nature, but rather, I didn’t want to ostracize a certain group by putting my opinions out there, strong or not. I wanted to please EVERYONE. Then I heard a wonderful piece of advice: “If you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal no one”. I think about this daily, from my blog’s content, to its marketing, to things I do day-to-day outside of the blogosphere. My brand isn’t for everyone, and that’s just fine. Coming to accept that has led me to write pieces that I’m proud of, form a community that I love talking with, and made me happier as a blogger (and a person!)

  16. Great question and I can’t wait to hear more about this topic at the #PBevent next month.

    The biggest fear for me is being judgement and or criticized by people I know in day to day. For example, I actually exist online under a different surname from my day job to try and hide a little but then I get frustrated with low readership numbers and circulation.

  17. Michelle says:

    Getting hacked and then having a corrupted backup. :(

  18. Jonathan says:

    I fear writing for no one. Having no audience. And not being helpful to someone.

  19. Shelley says:

    Losing my privacy by weaving my personal life into my blogs to make them interesting to read. Money and finance can be pretty boring otherwise! :-)

  20. I am a person who has feelings like the ones described above, after reading this post I was given a new spirit in blogging, thank you for making the postings, including three volcanologists highly qualified

  21. Darren Poke says:

    Great topic Darren,

    When I first started, I feared that I would be constantly criticised and that my writing wouldn’t be up to standard.

    Now, I just hope that I can maintain a standard that my readers and subscribers appreciate and gain value from.

    I wrote last week about fear and bravery, I hope it helps: http://betterlifecoachingblog.com/2013/08/15/fear-and-bravery-enemies-or-best-friends/

  22. I have two fears – having people read misunderstand something I write and attack. This has happened a few times and I’m developing a thicker skin and more confidence in my writing, but it’s not any easier. My second fear is failing. That I’ll reach a point when I realize that this isn’t worth it, I’ll never become a fulltime blogger, and that I’ve wasted thousands of hours for nothing.

    Wow! Depressing much?

    Most of the time, I don’t think too much on my fears; I try to focus on my goal, which is to raise awareness of the human-animal bond.

  23. Mi Muba says:

    My worst fear of blogging was how could I do techie things while managing my blog; but thanks to several techie websites which removed my fear and now I can manage all techie stuff myself; now my fear is what if I can’t take my blog to the next level from this initial level; another fear still I am facing is what if I fail to earn from sources other than Google Adsense and it cancel my account all of a sudden.

  24. I feared becoming vulnerable. Since I write about personal experiences, failures and success included, I feared being attacked for what I believed and thought and felt. Luckily I got more praise than criticism and this was so important to building my self esteem. When I did face the criticism I was able to handle it so much differently and calmly and constructively.What helped immensely was reading other people’s stories about their fears and how they overcame them.

    I feared failure and so I stressed myself out by churning out the ‘mandatory’ 2.5 posts per week. It got to the point that I dreaded writing and kept procrastinating which made me stress more since I kept missing the self imposed deadlines. Luckily I was able to extricate myself from the mess I created. Everyday, I told myself I wrote because writing made me happy and I wanted to enjoy what I did. Slowly but surely, I cut down the number of posts I wrote. I admit I feel off the wagon for a bit ; I totally neglected my blog, but when I came back and started writing again, it felt wonderful.

  25. One thing folks and that was fear of expressing my opinions even though I knew that some people wouldnt understand!!!

  26. chadwin says:

    The fear of giving up before breakthrough : Im one of those people who dream alot and sometimes i get so excited about one dream that i forget about what im busy trying to achieve.

    i overcame it and am still overcoming it by writting down my goals and a timeline and sticking to it.

    Thanks Darren great post which envoked great comments

  27. Rajib Kumar says:

    I am not enough good in English writing. Because of that my article looks for kids, easy words all around my article. That’s my fear and still it continued.

  28. David says:

    It certainly does seem that “What if nobody reads?” is the biggest one, especially considering that, in truth, nobody reads most blogs. But writer’s blog has to be high one there, no? I for one was surprised that it wasn’t included, but perhaps that’s just because I’m abnormally affected by it!

  29. When I first started out blogging, I feared that I was wasting my time because my blog was receiving little to no traffic. But for some reason, I kept on writing and now my blog is getting a “fair” amount of search engine traffic and traffic from backlinks/social media. My current fears are my website being hacked or click bombed.

  30. mohit says:

    i fear of copying content problem.. i am running tech blog.. but i always fear if someone copies my content and then creates problem.. so what should i do/? i am really feel in fix in this situation

  31. Pedro Mendes says:

    For a long time I feared I had nothing of interest to share, and that my writing was not good enough. I learned that I do have things to say in my field of interest (photography), and have received good feedback on my writing style.
    So, don’t be afraid to start, let your voice be heard, and people will hear it.

    Looking forward to the event Darren :)

  32. When first I thought of blogging I was really scared. Then I thought of a strategy and the strategy was to write a journal for the next 30 days non stop. It worked out and I was able to overcome my fear of not writing well.

  33. Mine hovers around the part of – “How can I make it in this huge internet space of nearly 200 million blogs?”

    I’ve thought a lot about this and I’d appreciate a post in this direction from you… I’d like to know what you’d suggest in other to come out of this kind of fear.

  34. My fear is that, how long will i take for my blog to have steady reader and visitors comming back

  35. Gary H says:

    Fear of rejection is why many people handcuff themselves to a 9-6 job they hate. Because they are deathly afraid of failing. Of doing something they really want to do and looking stupid when they fall flat. It is scary to put your all into something that could fail.

  36. Kangaroo Dad says:

    Hi Darren,

    First of all, after reading your post, the initial thought I had in regards to fear is ‘What if I can’t do anything with a blog at all and why the heck would anyone read it’

    Since becoming a father I wanted to write a blog about my experiences.

    1st fear – I cannot setup a blog about Daddy bloggers, there are already others doing it.
    Fear smashed – I have a unique view as an older first time father and have my own stories to tell.

    Next fear – What do I write about and how do I tell my story?
    Fear smashed.- I have so many stories and my own way of telling a story that others will read.

    Another fear – What if I want to collaborate with other Daddy bloggers? How do I find them? What do I tell them so I can collaborate in kind? My blog is small why would they join forces with me?
    Fear smashed – I received an invite to join Aussie Daddy Bloggers after being a long time commentor and supporter on social media. I already felt part of the group with the addition of private conversations with members via email.

    I started to realise that no matter what process I went through, there would be fear. The difference is I did not let fear hold me back or not commit to an action.

    The way I smashed through my fears was to think about my idea, take action and commit to the process. So by taking action, fear was felt during the process, but did not stop me.

    I know that other fears will come in time. They may be critizism, rejection, bad writing, not achieving blogging goals and dreams in a time I expect and quite a few others that will happen in the future, such as you mention about future challenges and obstacles.

    I know my remedy will be to take action and continue regardless of experiencing fear.

    Regards,

    Jason

  37. Thad James says:

    Blogging fears? There may not be enough space! Initially: What do I write? Where will my ideas come from? My best source has been my customers. If more that three people ask the same question, I know it is blog worthy. Or one really off-the-wall comment will make for a great article. If I get stuck, I just ask a few clients: what you like to know more about?” Works every time.

  38. Holly says:

    My biggest fear was being myself. I started 4 blogs that were all business and no me. I ran these for about 5 years and recently realized that I couldn’t have a conversation with anyone on these blogs. I wanted to touch peoples lives and help them. Though I know my blogs were helpful I didn’t know my readers on a personal level.

    In January I shut down two of my blogs and created a new one where I could be personal and still provide a service to others. It’s not been really successful, but I am much happier with it then I ever was with my other blogs.

  39. Angel Cuala says:

    This is a very interesting question, Darren.

    But honestly speaking, I was not afraid of anything when I started blogging back in 2007 because I am really enjoying it as part-time job.. I started to be afraid a year later because I felt I will be doing this full-time. In late 2008, the company that I was working (it may sound funny, but I am a licensed engineer) had a retrenchment and I lost my job. I was sure that time that my earnings in blogging will be able to support my family’s needs.

    Come 2010, I was able to work again for another company but it only lasted for 6 months. That was when I decided to face my fears and promised myself not to be an engineer “again.” And somehow, things went on my side. I started to receive offers to write for other blogs and websites, got recommendations, and my clients were increasing.

    Looking back now that I have regular clients who hire me as web content writer, I can say that I have already overcome that fear. Now, my only fear is when there is power failure in our area because of the bad weather (I live in the Philippines, where there is storm right now) because I might miss the target given to me by my clients.

    Sometimes, I think having less choices is an advantage. As for me, I was really waiting for a “sign” to justify that I should focus more on writing than being an engineer.

    Bottom line: I think knowing what you really love to do in life is very important.

    For me, blogging is not just about making money or attracting visitors to your blog. I think it’s more of being connected with your readers, not just by informing them but by helping them, too. Once they feel comfortable with you, they will share your blog with their friends even if you do not invite them to do so.

  40. laura says:

    i was more afraid of my family reading my posts than anything. i’m a very private person, and i’ve opened up on a lot of topics on my blog. now? not even an issue. don’t like what i write, then you don’t have to read. i’m ok with that.

  41. I write a baby boomer blog. My fear is becoming a been there, done that, got the t-shirt know it all who says “I know” to everything I’ve never heard of.

    So far so good.

  42. Monu Alagh says:

    you write this article directly from my fears… i also have fears as all you explained… but now no where…

  43. It is very interesting topic, but to read all comments was much more interesting. I have read all. Thank you very much.
    Excuse me, but I fear nothing with my travelog, because I just do what I like; so I can’t help you.

  44. Kate says:

    Blogging was a real fright before I started. But then I just dove in – felt I had to start sometime, somehow. I typically write short bits and haven’t a clue whether anyone’s reading. It’s been less than two months, posting once a week so far. Guess I don’t really have fear anymore, but I’m not a great writer, so there’s no use trying to compare my blogs to anyone else’s. I guess I only hope someone might find what I write to be of use to them at some point. Cheers!

  45. For the longest time, my biggest fear was the fear to show my face. But once I actually started showing my face, sales went up, a lot. It helped build a connection with my readers, and allowed me to eventually extend my reach to YouTube, which has played a large role in the number of visits I get to my websites.

  46. avinash says:

    while writing an article, on any topic i always try to make it natural and high quality but always gets stuck to a single line, what should i write? is the article getting perfect for reading without grammar mistakes? is it high quality and unique? etc…..

    and it’s readable and interesting.

  47. Johnw says:

    My fear was only that what if i can’t write well. whenever we are starting blogging at the very first we are not perfect in writing but after getting some experience we feel good in writing.

  48. Zenelia says:

    Hey the fear of losing the audience interest is always my biggest fear and it is still but it is also the thing that motivates me or encourages me for my write ups too

    Thanks

  49. Marcie says:

    One of my early blogging fears was offending perspective clients by speaking the truth about race, sex and stereotypes in America. I’m over it. If people are offended as opposed to educated, then we don’t need to be working together.

  50. Nrupen says:

    I also had fear will someone read my blog or not, in-spite of that fear I started but to be sure are people really reading post I started keeping close eye on my website analytic and metrics.

    My visitors spend nearly 3 min 10 sec average time and visit 2.6 average pages on each visit, which gave me sense of security that people do read my blog.

    But it came up with new fear, “How To Write Content That Will Keep Appealing My Readers”. I think when I’ll overcome this fear some other will come up and the loop will continue to haunt not only me but to everyone.