Oh man, did I procrastinate on writing my first blog post. But before we really dive in, I have something embarrassing to admit.
For a long time, I was afraid of blogging.
Ok, not the kind of fear I feel when I imagine watching the Saw movies. (NO THANKS.) It's more of a vulnerability or a worry that my blog won't be good enough.
I've held onto this image of the “perfect blog post” for a while. In my mind, I thought the wording needed to be perfect. The topic had to be a perfect reflection of the top SEO trends on the internet. The pacing and storytelling should feel almost effortless as I wow you with words.
….but then I read some other blogs. And I realized that I kind of sort of don’t read them that closely.
But wait wait wait, before you skim this blog post (or leave me because you just found out I’m a terrible skimming sort of human), I have something important to say.
Realizing that I skim most blog posts helped me free myself from this impossible ideal I’ve held onto for years. (Yes, years. I had a blog back in 2015 and shut ‘er down, but that’s a story for another day.)
It's freeing to realize that nobody cares a whole ton about my word choice and exactly how I say the things I say. (Except you because you’re brilliant and perfect.)
Plus, I realized something else, too. Once I really started paying attention, I noticed that most blog posts I was reading weren’t perfect, either. They just sound like normal humans talking. (Granted the good ones sounded like normal humans who had done some editing.)
But even as I reassured myself that no bloggers are perfect, I still had a blank page in front of me. And blank pages are the worst. A blank page is unmarred, and my words felt unworthy.
So I wrote the words anyway. And now I feel qualified to give you advice about how I did it.
How to write your first blog post
Here's what it all comes down to. I decided that I didn't care how my first few posts came out (mostly) as long as I was writing something and trying to be valuable. So in this post, I'm hoping to share three tips that helped me get through blog post number one so that you can try it too.
Choose something that's been done before
This used to be what tripped me up the most. “What do I write about that hasn’t already been done before?” I got really hung up on feeling unoriginal, and I worried that anything I did that resembled another blog, podcast, or business made me a fraud. (Ok, I still feel this way a tiny bit.)
But a major business lesson I continue to learn is that it isn’t the topic alone that makes a business successful. It's the topic PLUS your perspective and all the awesome intangible things about YOU that only you could bring to that topic.
Think about it this way. There are countless restaurants and gyms out there, and endless online businesses. But do you think any restaurateur has ever said, “You know, I don’t think we should open this restaurant because there are other restaurants in the world.”
Bah! Of course not! People love to eat, they’re willing to pay to eat, and we all like different foods. We also like new experiences and points of view, and we all develop favorite restaurants, cuisine, or dishes over time. Just as the restaurateur would be absurd to not open her business, I too would be absurd to assume that I need a radical new topic to be successful.
The radical part will be how I put it all together.
So choose a blog post from a list of suggested ideas. Find a blog post you love and put your own spin on a similar theme. Your perspective is what will make things interesting.
PS: If you choose a topic that's been done before, that's probably a good sign. It means people want what you're creating, or it at least ups your odds.
Don't stop (believing)
But on a more practical (less musical) note, don't stop typing. Once you choose a topic, set a time and see if you can write for 10 or 15 minutes straight without stopping.
To take it one step further, I decided to write without hitting the backspace button for a while. This may not seem monumental to you, but I had a terrible habit of just writing a few sentences and then either deleting it or walking away to eat ice cream. (Everyone does this, right? Please validate my feelings in the comments.)
Ultimately I knew that the mental block I had over blogging was all in my head, so I was determined to kick it out of me somehow. And no backspacing was my way. Plus, deep down I know I LIKE writing! I journal! I write 10-page project planning documents at work FOR FUN! (*I’m not sure if my coworkers think they’re fun, but they are practical and it's who I am.)
Make your first blog post cringe-y
The thought that I couldn’t write a blog post was just a script I’d stored about myself ages ago that needed to be tossed. But instead of replacing it with "I can blog perfectly!" I decided to aim or something more attainable.
"I can blog, even if it's not great yet."
Maybe this blog post won’t be my best. (Actually, I seriously hope not. I hope they’re all way better from here.) But have you ever noticed how YouTubers will watch their first video back and cringe? They’ve come such a long way in terms of experience, showmanship, and production quality that their first videos are tough to watch.
Well my friend, that’s what you’re producing right now. You’re producing the cringey video. But you HAVE to produce the cringey video now because it’s the best you’ve got! In time, you’ll have a million followers, become more natural on camera, and you’ll gradually increase your metaphorical production value over time.
But you have to start somewhere.
You have to start. Period.