Blogging is one of the most effective ways to market your counseling practice or coaching services and share your expertise and training with others. But many therapists don’t blog consistently. It’s not because blogging is so complicated. It’s because we don’t feel confident. We worry that we’re not very good at it or that we don’t have anything interesting to say. Or perhaps you worry that no one will read your blog – so why bother?
If comparing yourself to others, fear of criticism and perfectionism get in the way of blogging (or other creative pursuits), you’re not alone. Read on!
Comparison really is the thief of joy.
Comparing yourself to others can obliterate your confidence.
I think we’ve all experienced a mix of emotions upon seeing a colleague’s awesome new blog post, website, or innovative new product or service. You may be genuinely happy for your colleague’s success. And you may also feel a bit envious or jealous. Perhaps you feel a bit “less than” in comparison.
For many years I didn’t write anything (except my case notes and an occasional grocery list). Perhaps I was burnt out from writing too many grad school research papers. But more likely, I didn’t think my writing was anything special; it wasn’t worth sharing with anyone else (certainly not in any professional capacity).
In elementary school, I remember the creative writing we did in little blue, soft-cover journals we kept in our desks. I made up stories about talking animals and a little girl who lived on a cloud. And I drew pictures and precisely shaded them with my colored pencils. It brought me joy. There wasn’t any self-censorship or judgment. I had no sense of whether it was “right” or “wrong”. These were just my thoughts and dreams.
But at some point, unfortunately, I became self-conscious. I became aware that other kids could draw “better” and the teacher liked stories about outer-space rather than talking animals. The comparison set in and I felt like my creations were inferior, inadequate. Just being me became not good enough.
In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert spoke right to me when she described how fear can derail creativity. She wrote:
“You’re afraid you have no talent.
“You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or – worst of all – ignored.
“You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it.
“You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
“You’re afraid everybody else already did it better…”
Criticism stings, but don’t let it deter you.
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” asks Gilbert. The fear of criticism can also keep us “playing it safe”. How does the fear of criticism prevent you from showing up authentically in your own life and business and from sharing your gifts and creations?
Blogging has allowed me to speak and not care so much about how it is received. Yes, I get my share of nasty comments and criticism. And some of it stings, but not as much as it used to. I think tolerating criticism is like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it.
One thing that has helped me is to remember that writing is a creative endeavor and there is no success or failure when it comes to creativity. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Yes, the world will go right on judging you and your creations, but you don’t have to pay it any attention. Our challenge is to not let criticism define us or hold us back.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Perfectionism is another common stumbling block when it comes to blogging (or podcasting or creating any new product or service). I know I wasted a lot of time being afraid and hiding behind perfectionism. It was my shield; my way of hiding my creativity for fear that it would be criticized.
You can write to market your business, or because you enjoy it as a creative outlet, or because it’s a way to connect with and help others who are struggling. Your creations don’t have to be perfect. They just need to come from your heart.
We all possess beautiful talents and gifts. And we all have creative spirits that want us to make things and share them. If you’re feeling called to write and blog, you can overcome comparison, criticism, and perfectionism. And I invite you to join my online supportive class and community: Blog Like a Pro. Fall registration will begin September 5, 2018. You can get more information and sign-up from September 5th – September 19th HERE.