By Leah Fisher Nyfeler
My heart pounded as my finger hovered over the key. With that click, I’d shift from a free WordPress account to my own hosted blog site. Of course, that jolt of adrenaline could’ve been due to a couple of shots of caffeine but I’m pretty sure it was fear.
Heart racing, I nervously wondered: What the hell am I doing?
Blogging forces a lot of scary leaping into the unknown. Every step of the experience has pushed me to explore new ground. And though I often feel as though I’m wandering alone in a potentially dangerous jungle, others are navigating this same territory—according to WordPress.com, some tens of thousands of new blogs were created daily throughout 2014. As for number of blog posts published, well, WorldOMeters.com has an absolutely mind-blowing counter (if you’re prone to seizures, don’t look).
Traumatized by Blogging’s Technological Nuts and Bolts
Logistics—the first fear. Actually setting up a blog can propel the average Luddite into a full panic. That reaction, however, is all about where you fall on the comfort-with-technology spectrum. As one of the 50+ set (and, therefore, a late adapter), I land somewhere in the middle. After all, my first experience with “web-logs” was on LiveJournal while I trained for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2008. Simply transferring those entries to a free WordPress site in 2014 was traumatic—would I screw up and lose everything? (Nope. Whew.)
Then there was the small matter of design. Sure, I could choose one of a slew of free templates (but which?!), install some widgets (uh, I don’t want ALL those tweets), and upload photos (holy crap, SIZING) but every design tweak caused angst—and took forever to execute. Yes, I’m in the middle of that technology spectrum; working as editor in chief of a print magazine actually engendered a certain level of digital savvy. But overseeing staff members executing website construction on someone else’s dime is much different than muddling through with my own skillset and funds. Every change was shrouded in a mist of terror over the possibility of screwing up and (gulp) losing everything.
You Like My Blog, Don’t You?
So now it’s time to actually publish that post. More heart pounding, perhaps a bit of Lamaze breathing as the fear factor morphs from technology- to performance-based.
Is my content good? Will people like my stuff?
New scares lurk behind every tree. Self-promotion—how much is too much? Am I using this social media platform correctly? What about monetizing through ads and sponsored content? My blog post needs to look pretty, too. Can somebody settle my stomach about image usage?
My biggest post-related fear has always been of the “is there anyone reading out there” variety, with an overlay of “am I climbing up the proverbial wrong tree.” I began writing about a niche subject—Ironman training–before transforming that diary into a general fitness blog. But the last two years have brought a new evolution; more travel, event coverage, even political discourse (gasp!). There are ruminations on just what “fitness” looks like for this middle-aged woman. And so I worry–will readers who started out enjoying the original journey follow my path where it wanders?
Other bloggers are every bit as besieged by doubt. Many are ultimately lost entirely, swallowed by the blogosphere (a 2009 New York Times article, “Blogs Falling in an Empty Forrest,” suggests that as much as 95 percent of some 133 million blogs created in 2008 were “essentially abandoned” within four months).
Sigh. With so many fears to overcome, how do we ever find our way to blogging bliss?
Help Is Out There
The answer: We’re not alone. Take a deep breath and send up a flare–other bloggers are the best antidote to fear you will ever find.
In 2015, I’d been seriously blogging for about a year and that September, I attended my first BlogathonATX. I sat there, a giant sponge, soaking up tips, taking copious notes, utilizing every workshop (though I did not kiss the guy who fixed my pain-in-the-ass design problems in 15 minutes, I sure wanted to…and probably told him so). I met other attendees, some bloggers I’d admired from afar, and found lasting mentors.
That conference was the catalyst to new confidence and growth. I was no longer alone in the jungle.
When BlogathonATX organizers called for roundtable pitches in June, I took a deep breath and suggested the discussion that newbie Leah would’ve enthusiastically joined: “Building the Blog of Your Dreams.” Sure, I had some fears—would organizers laugh at my pitch? They didn’t, and now I can’t wait to talk about shared fears and slaying blogging demons (well, at least severely wounding them).
We have so much to discuss.
See you in January!
WorldOMeters.com blog counter
“The Ultimate Guide to Migrating from Other Platforms to WordPress”
“Blogs Falling in an Empty Forrest”
“#BlogathonATX has Tips, Tools for All”
“I Think, Therefore, I Blog.” Round Table Sessions