I want to be honest with you. It’s been just over a month now since I started blogging, and I still don’t know what I’m doing.
At least that’s how I feel at the moment.
Is this getting me closer to my life’s calling? Is anyone reading this? If so, is it helping them? What’s the point? Shouldn’t I be better at this? Shouldn’t the words just flow out of me like some raging river of poetry and truth?!
I probably ask myself these questions a few times a week. I usually post on Monday, then I fight negativity all week until I somehow manage to begin writing a new post, have it finished by Friday, and get ready to start the cycle again the next Monday. It can be tiring. If I let it.
Using Negativity for Good
I hope you can detect the irony of this post. Using your blog to write about how you don’t feel like blogging? Touché, Daniel.
But it’s illustrative of the truth that the fear, negativity and uncertainty can be overcome. The creativity is there, even when it’s hard to see. And this down-and-out moment of self-pity and fear too shall pass.
Whatever your work is, you have the power to turn those destructive thoughts on their heads and add fuel to your creative fire.
How to be Creative in the Midst of Doubt
Here are a few things that I’m learning to remind myself of when my own negativity tries to derail my creativity:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
There is no better time to hustle on your craft than when the stakes are low and not many are looking. Last week, this blog only served about 389 pageviews. And many of them bounced. But I remind myself that this is my time to narrow down my focus. To practice my writing. To find my voice. So when the masses do find my blog later down the line, the content that they’ll find will be content that I’m proud of. Because I put in the time, and got it right when no one was looking.
If things move too fast for you, you won’t be ready or able to keep up. Success can crush you if you don’t have the wisdom and time under your belt to manage it. Keep practicing. And if you fail, so what? Better to fail in front of 100 people now, than 10,000 later.
I recommend Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff where he tells the story of all the hard work he put into his first blog, writing at his kitchen table, early in the morning. He says,
“You can’t allow your results or the measurement of your progress to control your dream. What you do, the message, so to speak, has to be true and honest and come from the core of what you care about, not be a whim in the whirling winds of analytics.”
2. I Am Not Alone
I used to think that I was the only one who struggled with finding the motivation to create and to grow as a blogger. But blogging takes time. Lots of time. And that’s just the truth. No matter what your work is, there will always be aspects of it that are not fun. Things you need to buckle down and just get done, so you can get to the fun stuff. That’s true for me and that’s true for everyone. And whenever I want to wallow in my own lack of creative success or laziness, I remind myself that I’m not the only one who feels this way or has felt this way.
I recently heard Jeff Goins interview Ruth Soukup, the blogger behind Living Well Spending Less. In the interview she talks about how she spent about a year learning to write great blog posts with great SEO before she saw much traffic on her blog. Now her traffic is in the millions. With time and patience, it’s possible. But even the successful ones had to work at and struggle a bit. It takes years to become an overnight success.
3. Negativity Only Has Power If I Allow It
This all come down to choice. I can choose to allow the negativity to run amok in my head, or I can do the work of keeping the pesky thoughts in line. Thoughts are like unruly toddlers. Sometimes they need to be put in their place. They need to know they’re not in charge. I struggle with this one. I don’t want to do the mental gymnastics of managing my mind but I know I can’t believe every thing it says.
Check your thoughts. If the majority of them are not constructive toward you being who you want to be, dismiss them and move on to the ones that are. Give yourself grace and know it takes practice. Over time you’ll be able to quickly recognize the thoughts that are not grounded in the truth of who you are and replace them with ones that are.
4. Clarity Comes in the Process
It’s been a month since I’ve started this journey and most days I still feel pretty lost. I’m soaking up so much information on online business, entrepreneurship and leadership. It can be overwhelming. But things are getting clearer, even if it’s a slow pace. I knew I wanted to start blogging again, so I focused on this site. I didn’t know what to write about really, but I just started doing it anyway. And now I’m a month ahead the game than if I started today. I know more about blogging now than I did a month ago. And I’m finding my voice. Finding what resonates with others. Finding my contribution to this thing called the world.
Don’t put off the thing you want to start just because you’re not sure what the end goal is. Start walking and see where life takes you.
So, that’s where I’m at at the moment.
What about you? What’s one aspect of your work that you struggle to find motivation in? Let me know by leaving a comment.