Putting yourself out there for the world to judge can feel isolating and scary — but can also be the start of great things.
Lots of bloggers, old and new, are intimidated by the publish button. Crafting a post is one thing; making it available for the entire world to see and comment on, another. Indeed, fear of the publish button has stopped many a blogger before they even begin.
Think you’re alone in being nervous, and that the rest of us are happily and confidently clicking publish on our perfect, better-than-yours posts? Think again! Heck, I get the jibbles every time I publish something here on The Daily Post — putting yourself out there is, for most of us, an inherently nerve-wracking proposition.
But! When you overcome those nerves and send your creations out into the wild, beautiful things happen. Below, Daily Post writers share some of the posts they were most scared to publish — and what happened when they did.
Michelle Weber (That’s me!)
Aside from being nervous about this post right now, the piece that gave me the most agita was one I published on one of my personal blogs earlier this year. A friend had just taken her own life, and in grappling with that, I decided to write about my own struggles with depression. While I’ve always been open and willing to share my mental health history, I’d never before spoken publicly about some of the episodes I ended up describing in the post; on top of that, I was terrified that my post would be interpreted as co-opting someone else’s experience to talk about my own. But I felt like the story wanted to be told, so I took a deep breath and clicked the button…
… and then immediately had second thoughts: what kind of judgment was I opening myself up to? As it turned out, none at all. Not only did people appreciate the post for what it was, but I got emails, tweets, text messages, and comments from readers, friends, coworkers, and total strangers thanking me for writing it. It ended up being a cathartic experience that made me more fearless as a writer.
Almost a year ago, in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the blogging community (or communities) responded with an outpouring of emotion and pointed debate. Our team decided not to keep mum, thinking we should instead serve as an outlet for some of that energy coming out of the blogs we read every day.
If your post can help even one reader out there work through a difficult time, just write it. It’s worth it.
I ended up writing a roundup of 10 bloggers who reacted to the events in Ferguson. And I was petrified. I live in Canada and I’ve never had to endure racial discrimination. At the same time, St. Louis, a city where I’d lived for a year, was close to my heart, as are issues of social justice more broadly. Do I even have the right to determine which voices matter and which don’t? What if I screw up badly, or offend thousands of readers? (That post was to be published on The WordPress.com Blog, which enjoys a broad readership.)
In the end, I just had to trust my judgment. I’m glad I did: the voices represented in that post mattered then, and still do now. The overwhelmingly positive reaction showed me that it’s fine to touch on sensitive topics, and to stake a measured, thought-out position. If your post can help even one reader out there work through a difficult time, just write it. It’s worth it.
When a post almost makes you sick to your stomach to publish, you know you’re in the right place.
I just posted something that was really hard to write, and pressing the publish button was the hardest part. The article clocked in at over 2,400 words, but it was one of the faster posts I’ve ever written because the narrative was already inside of me, and one I’d been sharing offline.
But we all know that private conversations or even those had during small gatherings are not the same as publishing to the World Wide Web, aka The Internets, where strangers can find your content and judge or berate you. And this subject — being an independent woman in a relationship — was very troll-ready.
But I thought if I could at least help one other person, it was worth it, and that thinking is at the heart of why I founded my site When I Have Time, where I post information I share with friends and family about technology and running a business. My heart was in this content. So I pressed publish.
So far the response has been great, and I’ve definitely surpassed my goal of helping at least one other person. I was hesitant to press publish, but I’m glad I did. The message, that you can love wholeheartedly and also be responsible about your future, is too important.
Last year I was part of a group who met once a week to work on the craft of writing. In one session, we explored the collage form. The form gripped me, but only with regards to a specific topic: Lunacy.
When I finished my piece, which took hold of my mind and did not release me for at least a week of obsessed research and writing, I wanted to close my notebook and never look at it again. It was too revealing.
When I thought of publishing it on my blog, my gut reaction was No. Way. Lunacy was unlike anything else I had ever written, much less published. It was obscure and experimental. It made me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. I was proud of it privately, but putting it out in the world was terrifying. I had poured myself into it: what if real writers laughed at my silly attempt? What if nobody got it?
That one person who got it was worth all the fear.
As Sara mentioned above, when you are scared to share, that’s when you know you are at the heart of things. So I published. And not only did writers quietly reach out to tell me, “Me too,” “I know how you feel,” and “I’m glad I’m not the only one,” but something bigger happened. My experimental post moved someone. And not just anyone: my Uncle Syd, a connoisseur of words and the man I credit with introducing me to some of the finest literature I’ve read in my life. He read my post, and it moved him, and he got it, and that one person who got it was worth all the fear.
Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Three years ago, I wrote a post called “That Thing I Wrote That Wasn’t True,” in which I describe a decision I made, when writing my memoir, that was hurtful — and made me feel dirty. It was the first time I admitted shaping a fact to create conflict in my story, so I was nervous about publishing the post.
While I get personal on my own blog, there are still topics I tiptoe around. I’ve got one reader out there that holds me back: my mother. She’s my biggest fan, but I’m not yet at a point where I can let go. This particular post also brushed over parts of my past that I’d not blogged about publicly, so I was scared about what my mom would think.
When I responded and told her I was afraid she’d be disappointed by stories that show me in a negative light, she cried. In our experiences, we learn and grow, she wrote. I won’t ever forget this exchange.
I still have an email she sent me after this post was published, telling me to “keep up the great writing.” When I responded and told her I was afraid she’d be disappointed by stories that show me in a negative light, she cried. In our experiences, we learn and grow, she wrote. I won’t ever forget this exchange: I realized she supported me and my process of writing.
I continue to swim these blogging waters with trepidation, experimenting with what and how I write, or where this writing lives online. It’s natural to be scared of pressing publish.
You might be nervous to publish something personal and momentous, or to publish anything at all for public scrutiny. And that’s okay! We all get nervous. Give yourself a pep talk, gird your loins, and click the publish button — giving voice to your story is one of the most powerful and fulfilling things you can do.