I read a crazy statistic today.
Most bloggers quit blogging in the first 2-3 months.
That one smacked me in the face.
There are 31 million blogs in the U.S. and there will be 34 million blogs by the end of the year.
But the Pew Research Center reported that, among 18-33-year-olds, the number of bloggers declined for the first time last year.
So, lots of start-up bloggers, but many of them shut down (or stop posting) after just three months?
What happens to them?
I call it the ‘Princess Syndrome.” They want every post they write to be perfect. Beautiful. Appealing. Worthy of applause. With all those readers gathered at their feet.
A couple of days ago, I tested my idea on my Facebook CatsEyeWriter page. In my Fresh Daily Blogging Tip, I said:
Get over being perfect. Nobody writes a perfect blog post. Spell check? Yes. Read for clarity? Yes. But if you obsessively write and rewrite, it will never get out to your readers.
A few people had something to say about that.
The wildly creative and smart Patty K said: “Even after I finally hit ‘publish,’ it’s never perfect enough.”
The saddest part of that comment is that I so get it.
We are never ‘perfect enough.’
“How many times do you rewrite an article, Judy?” my friend Jen, a talented life coach and leadership trainer, said.
It was a great question because, that dream of writing the perfect post can leave us ‘wasting away in rewrite-ville’ if we’re not careful.
My friend, sales strategist and experienced blogger Lori Richardson, said: “As much as I try to not have spelling issues, it still happens. I like bestselling business author Michael Port’s emails. He always says, ‘P.S. I don’t charge extra for typos. They’re just my gift to you.'”
And she is right. Those typos will get through, even with spell check, even with editing and proofing. They just do. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
If you battle the perfection demons, as I do, just know that they have the power to make you stop blogging if you let them.
They will mock you (“You are going to publish that? How could you put such a piece of crap as that out there?”).
And you will spend so much time writing that one post that you will just know that there aren’t enough hours in the day to run a business and blog. If you fight the Princess Syndrome, I have a few tips for you:
Write from your heart.
There’s no better way to fight the Princess Syndrome than to reveal your imperfect self. That person lives in your heart—at the core of your being. Let that person out because she has some important things to say. Weird and quirky sometimes? Yeah, but it’s the part of you that connects emotionally with your readers.
Read once for flow and clarity.
Are your main ideas in there? Are they clear? Read your post aloud. Do any parts sound jarring or awkward?
Ignore the grammar police.
Forget your 8th grade teacher. You are allowed to start a sentence with “and.” You have every right to write like you talk. That’s what voice is all about.
Run a spell check—but only when you are finished.
It’ll catch most of your spelling errors so do use it. Just know that if you use the wrong word, but spell it correctly (like “it’s” instead of “its”), spell check won’t know the difference.
Let it sit for 24 hours, if you can.
This is incredibly helpful—if you are not in a time crunch. I find errors I didn’t catch when I come back with fresh eyes. Not always possible, but do it when you can.
Hit the “publish” button—with no regrets.
This is the step that shows you’ve recovered from Princess Syndrome. Be bold. Get your stuff out there in the world!
Perhaps my friend, the amazing business and marketing coach Molly Gordon said it best:
The world needs you now, not when you’re perfect.
Two more things
It has been my honor and pleasure to make friends with 9 other amazing writers who are blogging wonders. I share the prize of 2011 Top 10 Blogs for Writers with them.
I’m excited to announce a semi-regular blog series called “Top 10 Tuesdays.” Each Tuesday, you’ll read a new guest post from one of the other nine Top 10 bloggers, beginning with Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) next Tuesday, February 8. Keep an eye out for them.
And, watch for my webinar coming on March 15. You’ll get 30 design and content tips to move your blog from average to astounding. And the first 30 people to sign up also get a mini-critique of their blog with suggestions for improvement.
How about you?
Do you fight Princess Syndrome?
What’s the hardest part of writing a post for you?
Do you wrestle with the perfection demons?