By Audrey Schroder
I’m excited to share something. I’m afraid to write in my personal blog! Why am I admitting this? Because I can. Because I want to. Several years ago, my mom suggested something for the beginning of a job interview. She said while you’re getting settled in, say to your interviewer “I’m a tad nervous.” Most people feel this way, and chances are your interviewer is too. By exposing this vulnerability, you are doing two things. First, simply getting it out of your head and saying the words out loud will can help you relax. Second, it shows you are human. We have emotions, speaking to them demonstrates authenticity. It also says you are excited about the job opportunity.
By sharing my vulnerability of personal writing here, I’m attempting to get out of my own way. When I set out to create this new personal blog, my goal was simply to write. I want to be real. To be honest in the best way I know how. My goal is to become a better writer. And, let me tell you, it is scary to put myself out there. To share my own stories, with complete strangers.
There are no requirements for blogging. There are over 300 million blogs today. All one needs is access to wifi and to choose a platform. This number brings up a couple of points. One, with so many fellow bloggers, why should I be nervous about adding my own words to the blogosphere? And two, what could I possibly add to any conversation? I set high standards for myself. I don’t put things out into the world until I’m certain they can’t be further polished (or at least until I force myself to say “OK, enough editing, hit ‘publish.’)
Having been in the professional marketing industry for over a decade, I’ve written for and about topics including electronic cigarettes, marketing, restaurants, political candidates, local government, nonprofits, fast food, and a kitchen and bathroom design and remodeling firm. I’ve written press releases, website content pages, fundraising appeal letters, brochures, pitch letters, social media posts, blog posts, email newsletters, political action committee letters, internal employee guides, video scripts, strategic marketing plans, reviews, speeches, and real-time social media posts and blogs. One ought to wonder how it is I have fear about writing.
The anxiety I have for writing my personal blog posts comes from a few different areas. I worry about readers judging my writing, topics, articles I link to, cliches, attempts at humor, my search engine optimization efforts, photos I use, headings, length, word choices, not fully formed ideas… (insert anxious emoji face here.)
Going back to the sheer volume of blogs already out there, “what could I possibly have to say that someone else hasn’t already?” This was my worry several years ago. My first go at blogging was in 2006, with a MySpace blog. That was TWELVE years ago (yay, math). I published a handful of posts, and the only one I remember was about the Naked Bike Ride (I participated in full cycling gear complete with padded bike shorts and helmet, fyi)
I recall thinking about bloggers who told personal triumphs, struggles, stories. I thought about how many bloggers there are in the world. What did I have to say that someone else hadn’t said in a thousand different ways before? Because every person is unique, that’s why. One of the first bloggers I followed was Claire Bidwell Smith. I was mesmerized with her blog full of honest personal experiences, for all the world to read. She writes candidly about the grief over losing her mother. Everyone has their own story to tell. Claire tells hers beautifully, and I can only imagine the amount of heart that goes into her writing.
Getting personal versus informative
Of course there are plenty of blogs that aren’t personal at all. Informative or news blogs, the author doesn’t need to share anything intimate. Different blog types serve different purposes.
These days I find it more interesting and cathartic to write about personal experiences or thoughts, than informative how-to’s. Having my own personal blog I’m allowed to write whatever I fancy. Similar to my past personal writing, I may go for a mix of the two. I want to tell my readers about my struggles. And that is terrifying. I want to be authentic, not only to others but to myself as well. Do I know what I want to write about in the future here? Nope. Do I know I want to write? Sure as hell do. Will I always write about personal experiences? I don’t know. And I am totally OK with that. I’ll have to figure that out along the way.
Fear stops freedom
As I get closer and closer to finally hitting ‘publish,’ the less I feel fear and the more I feel relief, and even excitement for doing the thing I’m afraid to do. One of my favorite people shared with me the phrase “Fear Stops Freedom.” So, here I am being FREE.
<3 from audrey with love