A lot of bloggers, especially those just starting out, live in a world of “if only.”
If only I’d get at least a thousand readers…
If only one of my blog posts would go viral…
If only I could make enough money from my blogging…
But this type of thinking is soon going to break your heart. What if your “if only” never happens? What if you’re holding on to your best ideas? What if you’re not giving it 100% because you are waiting for an audience to just show up?
What if you are having trouble building an audience precisely because you believe that your words don’t matter?
Eight years of blogging. Thousands of articles. Millions of words. Countless comments, e-mails, newsletters, replies.
I have blogged about art, creativity, motivation, life, love, death, and everything in between. I have written articles about personal growth, self-improvement, and success. I have written wake-up calls, listicles, how-to guides, and so much more.
But what are my biggest regrets? What are the things I wished I had known when I was just starting out?
Well, here are my biggest regrets after eight years of blogging.
“There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Of course, you need to know the basics, to write irresistible headlines, introductions, to edit, proofread, and format your posts.
You have to share valuable information in an engaging way.
But the truth is that readers want to feel something when they read your posts. And, most of all, they want to feel that you are a human being, just like themselves.
They want to feel that you are alive, that you are not a robot trying to instill perfection in them, but a flawed human who has overcome countless failures and struggles and is now rummaging through the most hidden drawers of their soul in order to share something meaningful with other human beings.
I remember reading popular blogs, and I couldn’t even imagine that their results were even something that could be attained. It looked like magic, the way they shared their experiences and inspired people to take action, and in return they’d receive hundreds of comments.
It was hard to even grasp the fact that these big-shot bloggers were once at zerotoo. Just like me.
But they were, and I’d like to share with you a few tips that are going to help you if you’re facing that heartbreaking zero in terms of audience.
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Perfectionism is a manifestation of fear. You are choosing to postpone clicking that publish button because you are afraid that no one is going to read your post, or that no one is going to comment, or that they will hate it.
You fear failure, success, and everything in between. You hate that you’d come to the realization that if only you’d worked harder on your post, it would have performed better.
Well, I am here to tell you that you are sabotaging your blog by being a perfectionist.
The tricky thing about blogging is that there’s always something stopping you.
You often stare at the blank page, wondering whether what you’ll write will be good enough. You get distracted. Or, you have this idea that you really love, but… you soon realize someone else has already written about it.
What is the point of even blogging if what you want to write about has already been covered by countless others?
Well… the truth is that almost all my most popular blog posts are about topics that have been covered by others. Let’s call them universal topics. Inspiration. Motivation. How to deal with procrastination. How to fail your way to success.
What I blog on my main blog is the sum total of all that I have ever internalized: a bit of Mark Manson, a bit of Tom Bilyieu, a little bit of Tony Robbins. Jocko Willink, David Goggins, Andy Frisella. You get the idea.
But the thing is that people can’t get enough of certain topics because they form the foundation of who we are as human beings.
Your uniqueness as a blogger is not about writing something no one else even thought to write, but about the perspective from which you cover those topics.
No one can write a blog post the same way you do.
Sure, there are thousands of other bloggers out there writing about motivation. Or inspiration. Or travel. Or even gardening.
But it’s not so common to read about motivation from a twenty-something Romanian kid, a college dropout, who has suffered for years and years from high functioning depression.
That’s the creative strength you can tap into — all the while blogging about the same universal topics as everyone else in your niche.
You’ve felt it, didn’t you? The feeling that your words are failing you, one by one. The feeling that you are an impostor, the sense of aimlessly punching the keys only to produce words that are bland, boring, and stupid.
Sometimes you try to forget about this feeling by being a perfectionist: you tweak and edit and proofread and search for the perfect picture to your blog post, over and over again, and you never click the publish button.