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The Number One Thing Holding You Back From Creating Great Content

So, how’s that blog coming along? Your e-Book? That video series you’ve been wanting to start?

If you are in any aspect of business, I don’t have to tell you the value of producing great content in order to establish yourself in a market, open up a dialogue between you and your customers, position yourself as an expert, and drive traffic. Myriad articles have been written on the topic.

But there’s a big difference between knowing what you should be doing and actually doing it. The desire is there. “I’ve got to start blogging soon.” “I’ve been meaning to get working on that e-book.” “Next week I really should go and pick up that new video camera I’ve been eyeing.” Days, weeks, months go by and you’re still waiting to take that first step, but it never happens. And life goes on, and getting new business in the door continues to be a struggle, and so it goes.

I think it’s time for a little tough love, don’t you? Let’s talk about why you’re being held back and what you can do about it.

You’re afraid.

Yep, the number one reason why you don’t do stuff (and the number one reason why I don’t either)…fear. Afraid you’re going to look like an ass. Afraid you’re going to break something. Afraid you’ll do it wrong. Afraid you’ll get called out for expressing an opinion others don’t agree with.

Fear is the number one thing holding you back, even if you don’t want to admit it. It’s the reason you set up that WordPress site 6 months ago and haven’t touched it again. It’s the reason you’ve got notebooks full of podcast ideas but have yet to turn on a microphone. Oh sure, you come up with all sorts of other excuses. “I’m just really busy right now.” “The kids have been sick and the dog needs walking and I have to go buy groceries and life is just too chaotic!”. “As soon as I figure out how to add a banner image to my WordPress site, I’ll definitely start posting!”

Excuses because of fear, all of them. So, what’s the solution? There’s no path around fear. You MUST walk through it. Yes, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Yes, you’re going to make some mistakes. But I promise you, it’s not nearly as bad as you’ve made up in your mind.

If you really, REALLY want something, moving through the fear is essential. The way to move through it is just start. Go to your blog and click “Add Post” and start typing. Turn on your microphone and take one of those ideas and just start talking. Don’t worry if it’s rough around the edges. Each step you take will move you one step further through your fear, and eventually, you will emerge on the other site. Fear will dissipate. The more you do, the less fear takes hold.

So stop being so afraid of what other people think, and for Pete’s sake, stop worrying so much about messing it up.

You want the truth? Once in a while, people are going to disagree with you, or disapprove of what you’ve done. That’s a good thing. People have vastly varying opinions. That’s a part of what makes up this wonderful fabric we call the Internet. You can’t please everyone all the time, and nor should you be trying to. If you are yourself, that self will resonate with some people and it may not hit home with others. Stop caring about that. Do it anyway.

Sometimes you’re going to mess up. Looking back at the blog posts I wrote in 2006, some of them are downright cringe-worthy. There are TV shows I’ve produced that make me physically nauseous to watch, because of all the mistakes and things I could have done better. But you know what? I’m usually the only one that notices the mistakes. You’re going to trip up along the way. That’s just part of the process. It should never stop you from doing it. And the fact is, 99.999% of the mistakes you make will only ever be noticed by you.

The only reason you’re afraid is because you haven’t tried yet. So go, try. And if you need more encouragement, let me know. Good luck!

[photo by jonycunha]

10 Comments

  1. This is so true. I started a blog about two months ago and I’ve had a few friends tell me their somewhat surprised that I’m so “out there” now. I’m a pretty private person but since starting my blog I’m now out there for everyone to see.

    At first you think what will person “A” or person “B” think of this, but that’s when you have to just step back and say “who cares, I’m doing it”. It’s still a bit weird when people I know personally say “cool post” or “thanks for that post”. Weird…but good!

    • Susan Murphy

      Blogging is one of the most rewarding activities any writer can do. Congrats on moving beyond your fear, keep telling your stories!

  2. Good post! Actually, for me, it’s not fear or being afraid that holds me back. It’s two things that are worse. The first, is I want everything to be perfect. So, I agonize over publishing it. That causes me to get more ideas and different focuses, and whatever I was working on gets back-burnered. Then, when I remember it, I want it to be perfect, agonize over it, and well, you get it.

    The second thing that holds me back is differentiating myself from the crowd. When I see others start doing what I’m doing, I stop. I don’t want to be another sheep, following the flock. Even if I’m doing it better, faster, first, whatever, I just stop.

    Both of those are things I’m working on reducing in my life.

    Maybe I’m afraid of being like everyone else, and afraid of not being perfect. Maybe, I am afraid.

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  6. Susan, your timing is just perfect. I’ve been waiting a whole week (ok, a week and an hour) to let you know that your post inspired me to start my blog and write five posts before telling you. Actually it was five posts or one week – whichever came first – and it was a tie; I was a little late on both counts.
    Anyway, now that I’ve made if official I’ll be sure to join in on the conversations… perhaps after just a little lurking.
    Thanks again Susan – you ROCK!

  7. Just read your post, Susan. While fear may be “The Number One Thing Holding You Back from Creating Great Content,” I think that the number one hindrance will vary by person. Others have indicated that perfectionism and the need to differentiate oneself from the crowd as holding them back. Others have agreed with you. In addition, lack of knowledge would be a hindrance to some people, for example because they do not know where to start or which tools are available.
    In my case, the number one hindrance to developing content for my Grammar Café (www.grammarcafe.com) is the lack of time. I am motivated, have plenty of ideas for content, have everything set up for execution, etc. Alas, with work, being a caregiver, moving, and taking courses, there is oh so little time. (The proof–I was called away to caregiver duty while typing this message.) What I have learned is that I need to block off time, even if just once a month, and keep that time sacred for content development and social media in general. Otherwise, I can forget about getting anything done.
    I am not alone. In a Social Media Marketing Survey, the conclusion is that lack of time and resources are the greatest hindrances to social media marketing.
    Fear not. I have no fear. I just don’t have time.

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