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A few years ago, I had the strangest epiphany. It started when I was going through my notes and found a bunch of half-finished blog posts.
There was one in particular that I decided to finish and post on my Facebook page. But then it seemed a little too long for a status update, so I decided to make it a note instead. While looking for an image, I'm thinking to myself, “If I'm doing all of this work anyways, why not just put it on the blog?”
I copied the text over to the blog and started to feel really anxious. I powered through it and then hit the publish button. Whew!
I sat with this for a minute and wondered why this was so hard and why I felt so anxious. I mentioned it to a friend Jamie who said, “Because it makes you vulnerable.”
This was surprising because I feel like I share more personal things in my #jesspicks newsletter every week and I’m able to do that without much stress. That awareness has opened my eyes because maybe this explains why I’ve been such an on-again-off-again blogger. Because it causes me anxiety. Because I want it to be good.
Because I want to write content that helps people.
I started re-reading Jeff Goins' book, You Are a Writer. In it, he talks about how the only way for you to be a writer is to write.
“Writing is mostly a mind game. It’s about tricking yourself into becoming who you are. If you do this long enough, you begin to believe it. And pretty soon, you start acting like it.”
Here are a couple of gems that helped me understand some of the anxiety and self-doubt I've been feeling:
- “At some point in your journey, you find yourself writing for the approval of others, not for the pure love of the craft.”
- “Everything is practice. Every word you write and action you take is a chance to get better.”
- “Multitasking is a myth. You can either create or react. But you can’t do both. Choose wisely.”
Reading the book has helped me remember how much I used to love writing. It's about doing something I love and getting better and better at it rather than focusing so much on metrics and chasing results. It's also about trusting that the audience will come.
Jeff also covers practical tips like building a platform, why branding is so important for authors, tips for freelancing and getting published in magazines, the importance of blogging and social media and so much more.
“The more I love what I do, the more others do, too. This is the paradox: When you stop writing for readers’ affections, your work will affect more people.”
If this resonates with you, you are a writer. Your next step is to claim it, say “I am a writer” and start writing.
Then keep writing.