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Fear of Blogging, or What Bloggers Can Learn From Shakespeare

Are your doubts holding you back? Do you feel like a fraud?

Talking to people just starting out I know these are common feelings.

Here are some wise words from Bill Shakespeare, expert pro blogger of his time …

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

The fear is that there are other people who know more or better, or that someone will see a flaw in what you have written, or that you will just be shown up and embarrassed.

Don’t worry. I know it is easier said than done, but really, don’t.

Write from your experience, write from the heart. Say what you believe to be true, even if it turns out what you have said is wrong. Nobody will truly think less of you for writing what you think is right, the only frauds are people who try to misrepresent.

Nobody said you have to be an expert. Simply write what you know or write as you learn. If you are unsure, say “this is what I understand, what do you think?”.

We all get things wrong. I goof as much as anyone else (perhaps more so). Yes, I write with confidence but that is because I try things out before telling you about it, or I tell you about it as I try it.

Of course there will always be people who attack. That is their problem, not yours. People have been flaming me for over ten years so the sting has lessened and my skin has hardened. As you write you will grow your own carapace of protection too.

Don’t fear what other people will say or think, write honestly and courteously and keep at it.

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Comments

  1. Cute cup of coffee link. :P How about I buy you a cup of coffee and a snack next time you’re in London?

  2. Cute cup of coffee link. :P How about I buy you a cup of coffee and a snack next time you’re in London?

  3. Heh, deal ;)

  4. Heh, deal ;)

  5. Absolutely it so refreshing reading something that means something to somebody.

  6. Absolutely it so refreshing reading something that means something to somebody.

  7. I only became succesful at blogging when blogged in my own voice. Sure it may be a cantankerous, off the wall voice, but it’s my voice and people seem to like that.

    The fear of failure never leaves, you just learn to live with it.

  8. I only became succesful at blogging when blogged in my own voice. Sure it may be a cantankerous, off the wall voice, but it’s my voice and people seem to like that.

    The fear of failure never leaves, you just learn to live with it.

  9. Chris, I love the incorporation of Shakespeare. That’s a great line. Some things will always be true.

  10. Chris, I love the incorporation of Shakespeare. That’s a great line. Some things will always be true.

  11. great post chris. we must be psychic as i stress honesty and imperfection in my blog.
    it is nice that i am not alone. there is too much hype on the internet. let’s clean it up with honesty and truth. also let’s be human. i always enjoy a post where the writer is “real”

  12. great post chris. we must be psychic as i stress honesty and imperfection in my blog.
    it is nice that i am not alone. there is too much hype on the internet. let’s clean it up with honesty and truth. also let’s be human. i always enjoy a post where the writer is “real”

  13. Chris,

    I still remember holding off on the “publish” button after writing my first post. And as John Wesley noted, the fear never actually goes away…you just learn to live with it.

    You also learn to live with new friends and associates around the world, people who help you shape and refine your ideas, and opportunities to clarify your thinking as a result.

    On the great balance sheet of life, that’s a win!

  14. Chris,

    I still remember holding off on the “publish” button after writing my first post. And as John Wesley noted, the fear never actually goes away…you just learn to live with it.

    You also learn to live with new friends and associates around the world, people who help you shape and refine your ideas, and opportunities to clarify your thinking as a result.

    On the great balance sheet of life, that’s a win!

  15. @Leo – Another way of looking at it, why would anyone else care if the writer doesn’t :)

    @Cornwall – Profoundly true :)

    @John – The man was a genius, just a shame most people only get exposed to it in the worst possible way (force fed in class)

    @Marcia – Indeed, people want to connect with people not robotic automatons :)

    @Steve – Oh yeah, and I am feeling it especially today. I was a bit down until I checked in on my comments and now I am feeling a whole lot better :)

  16. @Leo – Another way of looking at it, why would anyone else care if the writer doesn’t :)

    @Cornwall – Profoundly true :)

    @John – The man was a genius, just a shame most people only get exposed to it in the worst possible way (force fed in class)

    @Marcia – Indeed, people want to connect with people not robotic automatons :)

    @Steve – Oh yeah, and I am feeling it especially today. I was a bit down until I checked in on my comments and now I am feeling a whole lot better :)

  17. If you think bloggings tough then don’t try digg; those people would attack their own mother :)

    digg in not for the faint of heart!

  18. I echo all the comments of the commenters that preceded me. Keeping in mind the meme charity theme — wouldn’t it be nice if the cup icon was an icon of and linked to your favorite charity.

  19. If you think bloggings tough then don’t try digg; those people would attack their own mother :)

    digg in not for the faint of heart!

  20. I echo all the comments of the commenters that preceded me. Keeping in mind the meme charity theme — wouldn’t it be nice if the cup icon was an icon of and linked to your favorite charity.

  21. @Mark – too true!

    @Maurene – good idea :)

  22. @Mark – too true!

    @Maurene – good idea :)

  23. As a newbie to the blog writing world…this was a much needed read, thanks.

  24. As a newbie to the blog writing world…this was a much needed read, thanks.

  25. Chris,
    I started my new blog just 12 days before, and I started it under my name. I write in local papers regularly, but I had some sort of fear inside when launching the site under your own name. Fear of failure, fear of harsh comments, fear of being inconsistent, and so many factors…
    I learned, Grooming fear is failure in itself and convinced myself, I will not house the fear within me. I knew, if I fear, I will not succeed.

    RajeshShakya.com

  26. Chris,
    I started my new blog just 12 days before, and I started it under my name. I write in local papers regularly, but I had some sort of fear inside when launching the site under your own name. Fear of failure, fear of harsh comments, fear of being inconsistent, and so many factors…
    I learned, Grooming fear is failure in itself and convinced myself, I will not house the fear within me. I knew, if I fear, I will not succeed.

    RajeshShakya.com

  27. Sage advice for beginning and struggling bloggers. [Like me] If you are going to the S.F. Bloggers Connect in July/Aug, let me know. They have great coffee there. On me of course ;)

  28. Sage advice for beginning and struggling bloggers. [Like me] If you are going to the S.F. Bloggers Connect in July/Aug, let me know. They have great coffee there. On me of course ;)

  29. A great post which is fresh as well.

    Till now I was blogging without any fear (you can see my recent post for eg), but now I think I have to act with caution. There are some element who still didn’t graduate from the old school.

  30. A great post which is fresh as well.

    Till now I was blogging without any fear (you can see my recent post for eg), but now I think I have to act with caution. There are some element who still didn’t graduate from the old school.

  31. Chris,
    Another great post. I am against coffee drinking so I’ll ask that you use my donation to buy a nice juice drink.

    When I started to work on my book a lot of people gave me encouragement. There were however those who did not. It is also normal to question one’s authority to give advice when we make mistakes ourselves. Still, I kept writing (blogging is just writing without all that editing in most cases). As I got farther along I hit hurdles (Dips?) where I questioned the potential for success of the project. Still, I am not one who is easily dissuaded once I start something so I kept going.

    Near the end I got a call from a friend who had started a company in 1998 and in 18 months, with help, it was sold for $4 billion – that’s right with a B. Not that I got any of it. I was too busy with my own enterprise. He said he was starting something new and had some questions. I was able to quote from my own book in ways I might not have ever done before. I had spent the time to create phrases and logic that was clear. When he called later to buy the book before it was even done – and he is one of the most critical people you will ever meet – I knew I was on to something. I created a squidoo lens (linked to my name) to show quick bits of my kind of thinking so that others can get to know me in brief bits. It is turning into a bit of a blog so I am going to start a blog – very soon. (I’m just working out the URL issues)

    In the 8th Habit, Stephen Covey talks about finding your voice and then helping others find theirs. I think that good blog writing can do that. Your post is a good example of that.

  32. Chris,
    Another great post. I am against coffee drinking so I’ll ask that you use my donation to buy a nice juice drink.

    When I started to work on my book a lot of people gave me encouragement. There were however those who did not. It is also normal to question one’s authority to give advice when we make mistakes ourselves. Still, I kept writing (blogging is just writing without all that editing in most cases). As I got farther along I hit hurdles (Dips?) where I questioned the potential for success of the project. Still, I am not one who is easily dissuaded once I start something so I kept going.

    Near the end I got a call from a friend who had started a company in 1998 and in 18 months, with help, it was sold for $4 billion – that’s right with a B. Not that I got any of it. I was too busy with my own enterprise. He said he was starting something new and had some questions. I was able to quote from my own book in ways I might not have ever done before. I had spent the time to create phrases and logic that was clear. When he called later to buy the book before it was even done – and he is one of the most critical people you will ever meet – I knew I was on to something. I created a squidoo lens (linked to my name) to show quick bits of my kind of thinking so that others can get to know me in brief bits. It is turning into a bit of a blog so I am going to start a blog – very soon. (I’m just working out the URL issues)

    In the 8th Habit, Stephen Covey talks about finding your voice and then helping others find theirs. I think that good blog writing can do that. Your post is a good example of that.

  33. Chris,

    Great post. It validates a conversation I was having with my business coach Gary Schoeniger after seeing Seth Godin in Ann Arbor yesterday…. be authentic and just do it. My fear of not knowing as much as the next guy is a self-imposed limitation that I need to chuck aside – complete baggage. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  34. Chris,

    Great post. It validates a conversation I was having with my business coach Gary Schoeniger after seeing Seth Godin in Ann Arbor yesterday…. be authentic and just do it. My fear of not knowing as much as the next guy is a self-imposed limitation that I need to chuck aside – complete baggage. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  35. @Robert – glad you like it :)

    @Rajesh – oh yeah, let it go and just get on with it, one step at a time :)

    @Dave – I would love to go SF but not got the cash right now to travel anywhere :(

    @Ashwin – I guess there will always be people who try to drag others down, its a shame but we can let them win

    @Roger – when it comes through I promise I will buy a smoothy, ok? ;)

    @Mike – leave the baggage on the carousel and be free :D

  36. @Robert – glad you like it :)

    @Rajesh – oh yeah, let it go and just get on with it, one step at a time :)

    @Dave – I would love to go SF but not got the cash right now to travel anywhere :(

    @Ashwin – I guess there will always be people who try to drag others down, its a shame but we can let them win

    @Roger – when it comes through I promise I will buy a smoothy, ok? ;)

    @Mike – leave the baggage on the carousel and be free :D

  37. I’ve learned a lot from reading your posts and taking your advice regarding blogging, but that first quote is a tad problematic. I’m not writing this to attack you or to be mean – I’ve learned a lot from you, and I hope to be successful as a blogger so I can convey that thanks to the whole blogging community, which really has put up with an awful lot of obnoxiousness from me.

    Caesar is the person who utters the first one, in response to his wife telling him “I had a dream that’s ominous.” He then goes to the Senate and gets stabbed to death. While Caesar is most certainly a victim in one sense, the attitude embodied by that quote is that of a tyrant. I’ve argued that Shakespeare despises tyranny so much he sides with Machiavelli’s thought on the nature of things, and how one should act politically.

    The second quote I can’t say anything about, because I know nothing about “Measure for Measure.”

  38. I’ve learned a lot from reading your posts and taking your advice regarding blogging, but that first quote is a tad problematic. I’m not writing this to attack you or to be mean – I’ve learned a lot from you, and I hope to be successful as a blogger so I can convey that thanks to the whole blogging community, which really has put up with an awful lot of obnoxiousness from me.

    Caesar is the person who utters the first one, in response to his wife telling him “I had a dream that’s ominous.” He then goes to the Senate and gets stabbed to death. While Caesar is most certainly a victim in one sense, the attitude embodied by that quote is that of a tyrant. I’ve argued that Shakespeare despises tyranny so much he sides with Machiavelli’s thought on the nature of things, and how one should act politically.

    The second quote I can’t say anything about, because I know nothing about “Measure for Measure.”

  39. Well, what can I say other than to reiterate

    We all get things wrong. I goof as much as anyone else (perhaps more so)

    ;) In my defence, though I might be taking the quote out of context, the spirit of what I was trying to say with it holds true – I would much rather fail by trying something than fail over and over out of fear :)

  40. Well, what can I say other than to reiterate

    We all get things wrong. I goof as much as anyone else (perhaps more so)

    ;) In my defence, though I might be taking the quote out of context, the spirit of what I was trying to say with it holds true – I would much rather fail by trying something than fail over and over out of fear :)

  41. This was a great blog. I am new to the technical world & just recently found your blog (referred from my boss) he has great taste in blogs…don’t you think? Anyways…

    I think you hit the nail on the head that the biggest factor holding most people back from blogging is the fear that people will think you are wrong/stupid/dumb/a moron…etc.

    Thanx for the reassurance that we can be wrong & still learn from our mistakes, but to not try is the worst mistake we can make. Keep up the great blog.

    No coffee for you today…sorry!! Maybe next time :)

  42. This was a great blog. I am new to the technical world & just recently found your blog (referred from my boss) he has great taste in blogs…don’t you think? Anyways…

    I think you hit the nail on the head that the biggest factor holding most people back from blogging is the fear that people will think you are wrong/stupid/dumb/a moron…etc.

    Thanx for the reassurance that we can be wrong & still learn from our mistakes, but to not try is the worst mistake we can make. Keep up the great blog.

    No coffee for you today…sorry!! Maybe next time :)

  43. Ouch :) Perhaps we should vote each day to see if Chris has earned enough votes to have his cup filled? That might push him to write even better! I think there is a contest here or a promotional tie in…I don’t know anyone at Starbucks…maybe they could award Chris a coffee for each day he gets so many votes. Good for them – advertising. Good for Chris – not so sure. Could result in additional coffee drinking. I know! A health food drink could sponsor the contest and reward him with a nice healthy drink. Now everyone wins. Maybe not Chris’ doctor but then he is in th UK so…
    Note to self – start healthy drink company to coattail on Chris’ success….

  44. Ouch :) Perhaps we should vote each day to see if Chris has earned enough votes to have his cup filled? That might push him to write even better! I think there is a contest here or a promotional tie in…I don’t know anyone at Starbucks…maybe they could award Chris a coffee for each day he gets so many votes. Good for them – advertising. Good for Chris – not so sure. Could result in additional coffee drinking. I know! A health food drink could sponsor the contest and reward him with a nice healthy drink. Now everyone wins. Maybe not Chris’ doctor but then he is in th UK so…
    Note to self – start healthy drink company to coattail on Chris’ success….

  45. I will be having myself a banana smoothie tomorrow in your honour Roger ;)

  46. I will be having myself a banana smoothie tomorrow in your honour Roger ;)

  47. Ya know, I have a friend who runs a drink business. I’ll call him if you are interested. What do you think?

  48. Ya know, I have a friend who runs a drink business. I’ll call him if you are interested. What do you think?

  49. Cool :)

  50. Cool :)

  51. Ok, so here is what I am thinking – he has not called back yet. You can keep your Coffee cup and people can vote – Give Chris a cup of Joe (they contribute) or Help Chris lead a healthier life. If Chris gets 10(?) votes or more XYZ company will send him a bottle of ABC drink “The drink for healthy people”
    It would be cool if there was a log that appeared or disappeared as the votes grew.

    I should get back to working on my next map but this seems like fun. What’s my cut? How do I make this seem like I am being productive today? Empty bottles to return for 10 cents each? Karma,Goodwill, and a Nice Guy Award. I guess if it works for him he can give me some drinks too. :)

  52. Ok, so here is what I am thinking – he has not called back yet. You can keep your Coffee cup and people can vote – Give Chris a cup of Joe (they contribute) or Help Chris lead a healthier life. If Chris gets 10(?) votes or more XYZ company will send him a bottle of ABC drink “The drink for healthy people”
    It would be cool if there was a log that appeared or disappeared as the votes grew.

    I should get back to working on my next map but this seems like fun. What’s my cut? How do I make this seem like I am being productive today? Empty bottles to return for 10 cents each? Karma,Goodwill, and a Nice Guy Award. I guess if it works for him he can give me some drinks too. :)

  53. I agree with you, Chris. I have always been a bit of shy person and sharing my ideas is not really something I’m fond of doing because I’m afraid of being criticized or that I believe others have better ideas than me. But growing as a person, you need to wander off a bit and accept your follies and be brave enough to speak your mind while respecting others’ opinions as well. I believe respect/courtesy is an important factor in everything. Sharing your thoughts can open doors to friendship and other great ideas too.

    This is a good read. I just stumbled upon your site recently. I always enjoy reading them. Thanks for all of your insights/articles!

  54. I agree with you, Chris. I have always been a bit of shy person and sharing my ideas is not really something I’m fond of doing because I’m afraid of being criticized or that I believe others have better ideas than me. But growing as a person, you need to wander off a bit and accept your follies and be brave enough to speak your mind while respecting others’ opinions as well. I believe respect/courtesy is an important factor in everything. Sharing your thoughts can open doors to friendship and other great ideas too.

    This is a good read. I just stumbled upon your site recently. I always enjoy reading them. Thanks for all of your insights/articles!