PERFECTION IS A FANTASY
Once you finish writing a blog post and then publish it, you panic.
You see a word or two you want to change, a sentence that could be phrased differently.
And you think. Who would want to read this? It’s crap! It needs another revision. You backslide into “this isn’t good enough syndrome,” and get stuck in the weeds.
Literally and figuratively.
Writing IS like weeding. You’ll always find something you want to pull and toss.
After bagging hundreds of dandelions you caught choking the life from your somewhat greenish lawn, you’re ready to drag the bag to the curb. You grab it, then stop.
You spot a dandelion at two o’clock. It taunts you. “Come and get me, plucker!”
“Me, too!” another one screams.
“And me!” laughs Dandelion #3.
You drop to your knees and continue yanking and bagging. Every time you think you’re done, more dandelions appear.
The same is true with writing. You’ll always find a weedy word you want to extricate from the page.
But don’t let your proclivity for perfection paralyze you.
Your post may not be perfect. But, Damn it! It’s close enough.
Restrain the obsessive beast in your brain by setting a deadline before you start to write. When you reach the deadline, stop and say, “I’m done! Really done. Now, what?”
It’s time to promote your post.
CLIMB OUT OF YOUR SHELF
How does a writer reprogram their brain from writing to promoting?
For a writer who’s thrilled when anyone reads her work, the thought of promoting it can be terrifying.
But don’t give in to your fears. Push past that fluttery feeling in your gut and seek out other like-minded souls on the Internet.
Join Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites.
Find your tribe: people you want to hangout with. Join a writer’s group on Facebook.
After you find your tribe, don’t bore them by only talking about your writing. Join the conversation.
Just like at a cocktail party, if you meet someone who talks at you, not with you, you make excuses and walk away. You avoid self-absorbed people who tell you how great they are. The same is true with social media.
Don’t monopolize your tribe mate’s time by promoting your work. Promotion is NOT one-sided. Promotion IS interactive. Make friends. Say hello. Share a post. Ask them about their day.
Then something amazing happens. Your tribemate cracks a joke. You LOL. And someone shares your post.
The more you meet people and engage them, the more comfortable you’ll become with social media. After a while it will be fun… maybe too much fun, maybe a bit addictive. That’s when you need to take a breath.
Learn to manage your time, so you don’t stay online for hours, or days, and lose focus of your passion. Take a break. Quit the Internet. Reboot your brain and write!
This post is based upon the recent Twitter chat, “How to Overcome Self-Promotion Anxiety As A Writer,” hosted by Amanda Chiu of Atomic Reach #AtomicChat.
Thanks again for inviting me to be a guest on the last chat of the year.
Hee. I re-booted my brain and I’m staring at the blue screen of death. Sigh.
I know that blue screen of death all too well. Sometimes it looks like an evil clown. Speaking of evil, how is Evil Twin?
Oh my! Poor Evil Twin has been locked in the closet for quite awhile. Maybe I’ll let her out on Christmas!
I think it’s time to unleash the beast.
Faaaaaaaabulously written post, Lauren! And just for the record, I think it IS perfect, just the way you published it. You spoke so much truth! You are so right about perfectionism. And you’re also right about promoting ourselves. In fact, I’m learning to do that with my photography and using social media; supporting each other.
And yes, it is so important to take a break, quit the Internet and reboot our brain (and soul). I did that this past summer and it did a world of good.
Thanks for sharing your brilliant insight! And have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thank you, Ron. It’s so good to see you. I’ve been reading your posts in Feedly. Sorry I haven’t been around much. I’ve been trying to figure things out, work on how to focus my blog. I needed lots of time away.
Where do promote your photography on social media? I don’t use Instagram. I have an account but have been pretty busy with Twitter and Facebook.
You, too. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
No apologies needed, Lauren. I totally understand because I’ve been absent from blogging too. I took almost two months off from blogging over the summer.
I use Flickr and Instagram to promote my photography. I used to have both a Facebook and Twitter account, but didn’t use them much.
Have a super week!
Thanks for the advice . I needed it 🙂
I just tweeted in the last hour. Was it self promotion? Nope… it was bashing the company who CHANGED THE RECIPE OF JUJUBES!!! My bad. But WHO changes the recipe for Jujubes!???
The dandelion line reminded me of when we had a huge wash up of starfish. We kept trying to save them… throw one in, find another, another, to where you physically could not save them all. But we tried!
My philosophy has always been “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” So, why the hell would they change the recipe for jujubes? Have you heard back from the jujubes boneheads?
Poor starfish. At least you tried. But I don’t give a damn about dandelions.
Man! Do I hate weeds. Sometimes I need to not look any further at the post after uploading it on my Adventures in Writing blog. Thank you for these tips, Lauren. I’ve shared them generously. I’ve also joined your Networked Blogs. I’ll be back. All the best in 2016!
I hate weeds, too! I’m probably the only person who doesn’t look forward to spring. : )
I’m glad you found the tips helpful.
Thanks so much for the shares and follow on Networked Blogs. I need to write another post!
Wow! How a propos given my most recent post. This is just the read I needed to refuel my inner self promoter. Thank you for the words of advice. My blog has laid fallow and definitely needs cultivating.
I need to follow my own advice. : ) I’m glad you found the article helpful. I’ve got to get focused on churning out more blog posts. I’m working on too many writing projects. It’s time to cut back.
Hope you’re enjoying your weekend.
I just run out of ideas…
Perfection is harmful. Over the yearsci have always tried to be a perfectionist and it has certainly hurt my performance. Each time I want to hit the publish button I end up finding some mistake and again try to fix the problem and make the post a perfect one, hence I end up writing few articles than I could have.
I try to stop myself from revising after publishing. Really the best thing to do is let a draft sit after writing it before publishing it. You’ll be able to look at your writing from a new fresh perspective.
“The more you meet people and engage them, the more comfortable you’ll become with social media. After a while it will be fun… maybe too much fun, maybe a bit addictive. That’s when you need to take a breath.”
Really? I do hope so. In the beginning it is very tough when you basically write only for yourself. Although you do imagine how your tribe might actually be but then you are still months aways from interacting it.
I do hope to spark some conversation soon, it’s kinda lonely in the begining 😉
It’s true about getting more comfortable by meeting and engaging. It has gotten easier. I just need to write more.
Writing is a lonely process. We need to meet and engage in order to stay sane… just not to engage to the point in which we can’t seem to find the time to write.
I think you’ve sparked a great conversation here.
Thanks so much for commenting.
how did you get through the first weeks/months when you were still trying to find your audience?
I know what I want to to blog about but I am not sure if anyone cares ???? I’d love some honest feedback from people so I can get an idea of what my audience is really worried about.
Have a great week-end! ????
The first weeks/months were easier to get through than now. I’ve been blogging for seven years. You should blog because you want to and are passionate about what you are writing about. I started my blog in 2009 after I lost my job. I had no focus of what to write about and didn’t think about my audience. I would have done that differently, focused my blog on what it was like to be unemployed. I did that for a while and then I started writing whatever came to mind.
I still don’t know what to write about. : ) But, I recently discovered that it’s okay not to know. The important thing is to write as much as you can without burning out. I would try to write two or three times a week (if you can) on the same day each week for consistency. And you will eventually find your audience or they’ll find you. Try to find a tribe, bloggers who write similar topics. Check out BlogCatalog and even blogging Facebook groups.
I’m trying to write once a month at my blog. But I haven’t been successful yet. I’ve been writing some content posts as well as blog posts on Huffington Post. I’m trying to manage my time better. That’s a biggie — time management.
I’ll try to stop by your blog and take a look.
Hope this helps. -Lauren
Ah, ok, Lauren, now I see. I didn’t see that you were having this blog already for so long.
Well yes, I have a cause as to why I blog and this is what motivates me. What I didn’t do until today is schedule my activities, meaning that a lot of times actually I didn’t write although I intended to.
I’ll take your advice and from now on I will use Tuesdays and Thursdays to write, whether it’ll be a long article or just a short recipe with nice pictures.
Thank you for the heads-up! 🙂
Oh and BTW: It looks like your commentluv plugin is broken. At least for me it shows an error message like this:
Error. Parsing JSON Request failed.
I’m sorry but your board won’t neither let me post a screenshot, nor a link to a screenshot.
Thanks for the advice . I needed it 🙂
I’ve heard it said many a time that blogging is 20% writing and 80% getting someone to see what you wrote. That resembles my experience.
And you know, once you get used to it, I’d say the interactive part around blogging is actually just as fun. It’s where you start getting people you want to connect with to see you beyond the small talk. You start with a deep conversation around an exchange of ideas you both care about.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
Yes, you are right. I’ve met some great people blogging and tweeting. Getting someone to see what you wrote is the hardest part of blogging. Though these days, getting my butt on the chair is just as hard. I’ve been taking a hiatus from blogging to figure out the focus of my blog, but worrying about focus is keeping me from writing.
I had the same issue almost a year ago. I put up a new website for my more focused consulting work, moving it away from my “name site,” which already had a blog. I was so uncertain as to how to differentiate the two blogs, that for months I just didn’t blog at all. Finally I started just sort of wandering around the page, leaving a trail. I suppose it does mean anyone reading my old articles might be like “so what’s the audience here?” but that’s what it took to get me writing at all. Now I’m seeing it all emerge (about 90% clear) and am excited about writing again. So if you can bear letting the world in on your meandering focus, just start wherever you are on a given day and see where it takes you.
I was like “Am I the Only One Like This” then the clouds gone out and there you are smiling at me saying “You are not alone”. You cleared my mind and made me feel normal after reading your well written, entertaining article. All my life I thought I was crazy for doing the stuff you narrated on your post. Thank you for bringing me back home.
Thanks for the useful article and interesting site. I have a beard blog and also try to share useful and interesting information. You really helping people to develop their business. I will try to implement most of those I have read.
To be a successful blogger you need to posses both skills of a writer & promoter. In start of my blogging days I used to write and do everything possible for promoting it. Now a days I just write and let the google index it. So my focus is 95% on writing and 5% on promoting So Lauren can you tell me how can I improve my ratio.
That’s great. You’re now reaping the rewards of consistent blogging.
I think that’s a pretty good ratio. : ) I’d like to know how you achieved your ratio.I bet you have great time management skills.
It has been a long time since I’ve read anything so informative and compelling. I’m waiting for the next article from the writer. Thank you.
I’ve listened it said several a time that blogging is 20% writing and 80% getting someone to understand what you addressed. That matches my experience.
This is really great post for me. Thanks for sharing useful info on your blog
Thanks for sharing this awesome post it really helps me.
and thanks again for providing awesome blogging tips.
Thanks, Great article.
Love this article!
Blogging is really difficult to do well!!
I’m learning a lot from your website!
Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you find my content helpful. More to come.
Have a great weekend!