Fear, Procrastination, and Doubt

I haven’t written on this blog for a long time. I’ve stared at it for almost an hour this morning wondering what the point of having it is. There’s so much pressure on blogging: make sure you use the right keywords; it has to have targeted and monetised posts; research your topics; write what people want to read; make sure it’s long-form else google won’t be interested.

Many years ago I had a blog that was about what I got up to while I was working abroad. That’s all I wrote. I shared photos and stories and had a little collection of online friends and we all read each other’s posts. This was back in the days before the internet had turned into a money-making machine. I enjoyed blogging then.

Now, I am honestly torn between attempting to make this site and my posts fit the modern definition of a successful blog, deleting it completely and not bothering or just saying f*ck it, I’ll write whatever the hell I want and if no one reads it I don’t actually care, because at least then I’m being true to myself.

Underneath this indecision is something I have come to recognise as fear.

I’m afraid no one will read what I write. Not just on this blog.

But ever.

What if I’m not good enough. Or worse, I’m good, but I’m just average and anything I do will die a silent death of averageness that is neither completely ignored nor particularly celebrated.

What if my family and friends secretly roll their eyes at my dreams of being a writer?

What if people I know laugh about me putting my life or my work online, behind my back?

Perhaps I do not have the personality – the emotional resilience – to put myself out into the world and face endless rejection.

Today I looked at this site and decided I hated the name. And I didn’t like the logo. I felt like it all needed to change. But it’s all excuses. I’m looking for things to be perfect (which doesn’t exist), before getting on with the hard work of building a writing life for myself.

The Backlog

I’ve known for a long time that there is a backlog of tasks in my life that I use as an excuse to not write or blog. It’s a long list of unfinished projects.

Having finally admitted that all the crap I’ve got hanging around is massively affecting my ability to achieve anything, I made a huge list in Trello of everything that needs to be done. There were 282 things on that list. From half-arsed social media accounts and domain names to half-done websites and unread books.

I am really enthusiastic about starting things, but I am sh*t at finishing them.

So I’ve decided I’m going to crush the backlog. I’m going to annihilate it.

Which is great, but it also terrifies me. Because every time I finish something, or delete something, or throw away something on that list I get closer to having ZERO excuses not be focusing on my writing every single damn day.

Right now I have got the count down to 106 items.

106 excuses not to write.

I’ve blown 176 of them out of the water. Deleted crap I don’t need, finished half-read books, deleted or gotten rid of books I am not going to read.

I want to be able to focus on my goals every day. And my goals are really simple, when it comes down to it.

I want my kids to be happy, I want to be super healthy, and I want to write for a living.

So Now What?

Nothing has really changed. I don’t have a book deal, I don’t even have a finished book (first draft is done, I am working through edits which is painful). I haven’t made any huge decisions other than to reaffirm to myself that what matters to me really is writing.

It really is the thing I love the most.

So I’m going to continue to crush the backlog. And now I’ve written this I’m feeling brave enough to go and delete some more commitments I don’t need.

This is going to be my outlet, my base, my adventure.

It’s far from perfect, and I’m not even sure what this blog is yet, but that will change as I grow into it.

So before I read this and decide it’s too embarrassing to post, I’m just going to publish it and get on with clearing out the old in other areas of life.

This post won’t help you write your book. It doesn’t have any deliberately repeated keywords to increase my traffic. It isn’t monetised.

It breaks all the blogging rules. But it’s what I wanted to write today.

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10 thoughts on “Fear, Procrastination, and Doubt”

  1. This is what I needed to read today. Thank you for your honesty and brave words. I have a blog (In french) and not many followers. Sometimes (I mean, all the time) I wonder why I keep publishing stuff that no one seems to care. And then, once in a while I will receive a gentle note saying that my words and pictures make her feel good. I guess that might be enough to write another one. Hope you will too!

    Reply
    • Thank you! Yes, it makes all the difference to hear that a post resonated.
      We should all keep at it and find our own way without being influenced by what we “should” be doing.

      Reply
  2. I could have written this post. I too have an endless litany of chores, obligations etc that I allow to get in the way of writing. But deep down they’re all excuses so that I don’t have to face my fear that I’m probably a terrible writer and no one would read my work. Or worse, read it and pan it. I find myself reading “just one more” craft book or marketing strategy in the evenings instead of getting down to it and actually writing. I don’t know how to push past the fear and anxiety.

    And can I just say how refreshing it is to read a blog post that is NOT monetized. I get so tired of scrolling through pages and pages of ads and repeated keywords to get to a simple recipe or whatever else I’m trying to find.

    Wishing you the best in your journey from across the Atlantic. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words. And I am totally with you on the books and strategies and ideas and projects. Anything but writing. But I’m going to stop it all so I have no choice. Face my fears and write, even if it turns out I’m no good. At least I will have done it. I hope you find your way out of procrastination also!

      Reply
  3. Personally, I really like your branding here. That is something I always let distract and dissuade me when making blogging attempts before. But I told myself during my current effort I would just blog for 30 days in a row without worrying so much about “the rules” just to get back into a writing habit and figure out what interests me on a daily basis, then fine tune things from there. But, yes, I too miss the old days of blogging when it was more about personal connection and less about making money. That’s so funny because I just wrote about this the other day too! Fight the algorithm!

    Reply
    • I’ve just been over to have a read and I hope you manage to do your 30 days. I think ignoring the rules is the way forward!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  4. I cannot remember how I landed on your blog, but it’s a tab I had open since yesterday. I just read this, and 100% relate to it. Thank you for your honesty, and the reminder that the writing is the most important, putting it out there, even if it isn’t SEO perfect. People will still find you and will read your words. I did. <3

    Reply
  5. I’m writing from Georgia in the U.S. I found your blog because I’ve been stymied for over a year in my writing, for all the reasons you list above I’m not a blogger but have been working for several years completing research on an interesting local figure, an accomplished woman of the 20th Century who deserves to have her story told. While there are some details I still want to fill in, I have quite enough information to get started with a draft. Still, I busy myself every day with other things and avoid completing even a few words daily.

    I agree with the response above. Thank you for helping me see that other writers suffer from the same feelings. The important thing is to begin writing every day without reservation!

    Reply
    • Agreed. It has to be a daily commitment to really make progress. We have a tough job driven mostly by self-discipline!

      Reply

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