Why is it that although we are now in the millions building and creating for the Web, only very few share their knowledge and experience on their own websites? Or, in other words: Why doesn’t every one of us have a blog?
Zach Leatherman asked this question on Twitter the other day and added: “can you imagine knowing everything you know and not sharing it? It’s a little selfish when you think about it.”
Zach was teasing, of course, but the responses that followed painted a pretty accurate picture of why it is so hard for many people to publish on their sites: There are a million reasons to not even start.
But many of the reasons holding us back aren’t actually the blockers we think they are. So why not have a look at the most common ones and debunk them, one blog post at a time? Written from the perspective of someone who hesitated for more than 10 years until he finally started his blog. Someone who has written quite a few posts in which he promises to “write again more regularly (promise!)”. And someone who now believes that starting to write on his site was one of the best decisions of his life.
All of those thoughts and worries were floating around in my head at some point as well. And many remain to be regular guests at the writing table.
Let’s start with one of the most obvious ones:
1. I don’t have a large following or audience. Nobody will read my blog posts anyway.
Of course, you don’t have an audience. Your writing doesn’t exist out there yet. But does it even matter? The first thing you have to do if you want to publish work on your site is to let go of the idea that the more people read your articles the better your articles – or you as a writer – are. Quantity is not the same as quality or value. Yes, it is great when a lot of people read what you have to say. But far too often, we measure success only by looking at the number of visitors or page views, while instead we should be looking at how valuable our posts can be for other people. An idea that I like a lot in this regard is the one Sara Soueidan shared in her post “Just Write”: “Even if only one person learns something from your article, you’ll feel great, and that you’ve contributed — even if just a little bit — to this amazing community that we’re all constantly learning from.” Even if only a few people read your post, it can have a profound impact on them – and on you.
Yes, you will probably start by writing into the void, not knowing if anyone reads your articles or cares at all. View it as a chance to practice, to make mistakes, and to get better. This is your chance for unlimited bowling and your chance to learn what kind of writing brings you joy. And if you end up writing things that people like, great! Over time, more and more people will take notice.
What are some of the reasons that keep or kept you from getting started? Let me know via Webmention, email, or Twitter. And make sure to subscribe to my RSS feed to not miss the next post debunking reason number two: “I’m not an expert nor a ‘thought leader’”.