What’s Under Your Bed?: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down

scared girlWrite for yourself. No, you should write for your readers.

Posts over 500 words will bore your readers to death. But nothing worthwhile can be tackled in a post in fewer than 1,000 words.

Your posts don’t need to be interesting; just instructive. Wait. Your posts had better be interesting or your visitors will click away.

No wonder we freeze up. Lose our confidence. Start doubting our ability to crank out quality content. Fear that we aren’t good enough. There is just too much conflicting advice out there.

Blogging fears. We all have them. And we don’t always want to talk about them.

But when we sit down to write, they rear their ugly heads, those nasty trolls with the beady eyes and crazy orange hair:

“What makes you think you can write?”

“Why would anyone be interested in what you have to say?”

“Didn’t you know there are no interesting things left to blog about?”

When we finally take them out of the jar and hold them up to the light, as each one squirms and struggles to get away, when we look them in the eye, they are really about one thing:

We are afraid our readers won’t like what we write.

10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down

Whether you started blogging yesterday or you’ve published a million posts, you will recognize these fears. Some you could knock over with a feather Others are lurking, waiting to terrorize you every time you sit down to write.

The good news is, unless you have multiple personality disorder, you can only have 5 of these fears at any one time. And that already makes the whole thing more manageable, doesn’t it?

Okay, here they are:

1. I have nothing to say.

It’s that Big Blank Screen. But the ideas, or what Stephen King calls “The Boys in the Basement,” are there. You just need to get them, before they go poof.

Pay attention to when they come. Maybe it’s in the shower. Or when you are scrubbing the sink. One of my clients said that one day, when she was driving, the radio broke and rich, juicy ideas started flooding her brain. She found that driving brought her the best ideas, but the radio had been drowning them out.

2. I have too much to say.

This fear usually means that your topic is too big. If your subject is huge, break it into manageable chunks.

Try mind mapping. Put your big topic in the middle of your paper or whiteboard. Draw a circle around it. Quickly break the topic into smaller chunks, with straight lines coming out from your center topic. You’ll find the farther you go out with your circles and lines, the more specific your sub-topics become, until you have a subject that is just the right size to write about in one post.

3. If I don’t have a niche, no one will read my posts.

This fear is real. Listen to it. If you want to write about everything in the world, just know this one thing.

Niched blogs attract more readers.

It’s easier if your business (or author genre) is already “nichified.” But even it isn’t, you can find your blogging focus. If you think about where your interests and passions intersect, what your target clients care most about, the thing you are best at doing and a topic that has enough content to write about, you are well on your way.

4. If I have a niche, I’ll lose readers.

Let’s knock this fear off its feet. Yes, losing readers is painful. But you will lose the right readers, the ones who don’t fit your target market.

And they will be replaced by people who sit on the edges of their chairs, watching the clock until your new post comes out.  You know who they are. They are the ones who can’t wait to consume all that rich, focused content.

5. If I take a stand, some people won’t like that.

This fear will only hold you back. True, some readers won’t like what you write. But they will respect your courage in taking a stand.

Your readers are looking for bloggers with passion. And no mattter what side they are on, they want to read posts that engage them. A bonus: You’ll usually see a healthy discussion in the comments section.

6. If I don’t take a stand, my posts will be boring.

Pay attention to this one.  Because if your posts are wishy washy, they will be boring.  Many of my favorite bloggers are not afraid to voice an opinion. I don’t always agree with them, but I love the reader engagement their posts spark.

It’s like watching a great debate. Who knows? You may even  need to put a road sign on your blog: “Watch for Falling Ideas.”

7. If I write as an expert, my readers will think I’m pompous.

Let’s put this one on the bad fear side because it makes you doubt yourself. It makes you wonder,  “Who am I to give advice? Will my readers just think I’m full of myself?”

But here’s the thing. If you write from the heart, about the thing you know most about, you’ll have happy readers. So write both about things you know and ideas that you aren’t too sure about, the ones rolling around inside your head.

8. If I don’t offer ‘expert’ advice, readers will go somewhere else to get it.

This fear is genuine. Although, the word ‘expert’ has gotten a bad rap (everyone seems to be an ‘expert’ these days)—or that annoying term,  a thought leader— your readers are looking for someone who can give them advice in the one thing they need help with.

For instance, let’s say you are a realtor who blogs to promote your business. If your reader is young, married,  expecting her first child and looking for her first house, will she want to read a blog that just gives general real estate advice? Or would she rather read posts by a blogger who focuses on topics to help first-time home buyers who are starting a family?

And if you are a writer and aspiring author, focusing on the topics related to your current nonfiction book in the works, or aspects of the novel you are writing—time period, characters, etc.—will keep those readers interested in those topics coming back for more.

9. What if I don’t get any comments? (Also known as fear of failure.)

That big fat “0” in the comments can be depressing. But we all started with the goose egg. Even Chris Brogan. Even Copyblogger.

If it really bothers you, start a Comment Buddies program. I helped some new bloggers start one and it did wonders for increasing traffic and comments, not to mention their bloggers’ self-esteem.

10. I’ll get a bunch of comments and then what will I do? (Also known as fear of success.)

Managing reader comments takes time. As you become more successful and engage more of your readers, you may find that it isn’t physically possible to reply to every comment. Give yourself permission to skip a few.

Fortunately, you can ignore some comments, especially the ones that just say, “Nice post.” Because what can you say to that?

Do any of these fears have your name on them?

Which one consumed you when you were a start-up blogger?

Is one of them preventing you from starting?

Have you discovered a brilliant way to vaporize any of them?

Leave a comment so we can learn from you.

Oh, and I leave you with a post by Danny Brown over at  For Bloggers By Bloggers: 12 Bloggers to Learn from When It Comes to Growing Your Blog. Danny was kind enough to put me on the list. But the really cool part is that there are 11 other amazing bloggers who would love for you to check them out. Who knows? You may find a new blog or two to follow.

Make sure you don’t miss a post.

48 Comments

  1. Abilene Harper March 27, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Thank you Judy for this amazing post!

    It’s been a challenge for me to turn a hobby (shopping) into an “expert” advice that counts. I’m very inspired by number 8 🙂

    Thanks again
    Cheers!

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 5:38 am #

      Thanks, Abilene. You certainly have a niche blogging topic there: shopping. Even if it’s a hobby, if you love it, are good at it, and know hoe to show others your tricks, you can be an expert. : )

      Reply

  2. Linda March 27, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Hi Judy,

    When it was first suggested I should write a blog, I spent ages pondering most of the points you make before I agreed(30 seconds…. do you think that was too long?).

    Nope I don’t have a mega huge readership. Nope I don’t get hundreds of comments on the blog (don’t get any actually). Does it bother me – not on your life! The joy of writing is enough for me and the many invitations I have received from the people or places I write about… so someone must be reading!

    I’d just say ‘go for it!’ – there will be readers and you never know where it will lead.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 5:42 am #

      I love hearing the stories of bloggers who are into it merely for the joy of it. And you are right. Comments should not be the motivation, although I will admit that in the beginning, when I had none, I was a little bummed. If you have a readership, that’s the most important thing. And knowing that you have provided something of value? Priceless.

      Reply

  3. Janice Heck ( March 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I’ve thought most of these thoughts and have noticed these apparent contradictions in commonly given advice. I still worry about them, but I am having fun being a bit random in my blog. My voice will come through, I think. I guess my biggest fear is that I will run out of stuff to write about. But with both cats and grammar in my categories, I should be okay. BTW, I enjoy your posts and love your blog title!

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Janice,

      Thanks for the mention on Twitter. And okay, now you have made me curious. Cats and grammar?

      People ask me about the name of my blog because, I admit, it’s kind of unusual. It was the name of the business we had for 20 years: Cat’s Eye Graphics, later to become Cat’s Eye Marketing. We came up with the name, thinking about the sharpness and keen observation of cats, their readiness to “pounce” on good ideas, etc. The very next morning after we had named our business, a tiny, shivering, very sick kitten showed up at our door in the middle of a violent coastal storm. I toweled him off and when I turned him around, we noticed his eyes: one green and one blue. It was a magical moment and a sign to us that our business name was meant to be. Our beloved Nuz was with us for 17 years (died three years ago). When I started this blog four years ago, we still had Cat’s Eye Marketing, so, of course, I stuck with the name, just changing it to Cat’s Eye Writer.

      Reply

  4. Kari March 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Definitely have given thought to almost all of these. I’m newer to the blogging world and am still trying to find my blogging “voice”. Great post 🙂

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 5:57 am #

      Thanks, Kari. The voice comes last (at least it did for me). I had to try on a few until I found my natural one. Best of luck in your blogging journey.

      Reply

  5. Jack March 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Paralysis of analysis- that is what this post reminds me of. If you “look” hard enough there is always a reason not to try or do something.

    No risk equals no reward.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 6:18 am #

      Ha! That truly would be paralysis if a blogger had all of these fears. What I did here was take some of the most common issues my blog coaching clients had and put them all together in a post. I think most of us know which ones have (or had) our name on them. And you are right. there is a lot to be said for jumping right in and just doing it. Because it’s the way we learn. : )

      Reply

      • Jack March 28, 2012 at 8:43 am #

        I have advised some people to start a personal blog prior or concurrent to their business blog as it provides them with a virtual sandbox to use to learn on.

        Reply

        • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 10:28 am #

          A really good idea, Jack. Playing around a little first certainly takes some of the fear and intimidation out of pushing that “publish” button. : )

          Reply

  6. florence fois March 28, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    It is true Judy, that after two and a half years and over 200 and something posts, I fallen to one or more of these monster fears. I am an equal opportunity neurotic, so I have given each of them a fair chance to toy with me. I think some begin with a strong focus on content. Some like yourself, did not dither with odd themes or content and were able to build a solid readership. For me the main focus, like my writing has evolved and my readers have grown familiar with what I call my “zine” type of posts. Peppered with graphics and photography I discuss from a less “expert” point of view our craft, this brave new world of publishing, reading, and my beloved New York City. Thanks for the links. I am sure I will enjoy exploring the blogs noted.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Haha. Another neurotic blogger? Wonder how many of us there are out there.

      I know another writer who uses ‘zine’-type posts. In fact, she insists on calling her blog a magazine, even though it is clearly a blog. LOL. Except that posts are sometimes called articles, so she may have something there.

      If you are injecting your own point of view into your posts, I think that’s a good thing. People are often looking for bloggers who have opinions of their own. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

      Reply

  7. Barbara McDowell Whitt March 28, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    Judy, as I read your post while my husband has NPR on this morning, I find myself being grateful that the blogosphere has evolved as a visual phenomenon rather than an auditory one. Another thing I like about blogging is the ease with which a writer can correct typos and change parts or all of sentences. As a 69-year-old I appreciate that the days of onion skin, carbon paper, typewriter erasers and correction fluid are behind us.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Barbara,

      Wow. Good to see you here in the comments. I’ve missed you.
      : )

      Although you are not naming an other fear here, I get what you are saying about how much more simple blogging is in when you consider that writers used to have to bang everything out on a typewriter. I know as a kid, having a few obsessive-complusive/perfectionist traits (okay, a lot), it was very upsetting to have to spoil a perfect page with that ugly white-out stuff when I made a typo. : )

      Reply

  8. Judy, I owe you and your readers an apology. On another one of your blog posts, I told you that I had been blogging for 7 years. It sure seems like it has been that long but it hasn’t. I recently sat down and recounted how long it has been since I sent out my first blog post. It will be 5 years on June 1. Lately time just doesn’t seem to mean much to me. The weeks and months are slipping by so fast that I can’t seem to catch up. So much is going on with my blog and with my life. Sorry about the misinformation.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Patricia,

      Nice to see you back here. And blogging for five years and thinking it’s been seven, I hear you on that one. : )

      Still, you’ve been at it longer than me, so good for you! Hope everything is going okay in your neck of the woods. Time does indeed fly by, doesn’t it?

      Reply

  9. Colleen March 28, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I’ve got two blogs and am dealing with different fears on each – so I’m learning the fears have as much to do with the blog as the blogger.

    My parenting blog is new, so I haven’t quite found my voice yet. I’m worried about putting my sad-crazy-lovely-frustrated mom feelings out there and offending other parents. I’m trying to vaporize this one by focusing on the readers that will understand. Let’s face it: I WILL offend some parents. But many moms feel the same way I do, and would be relieved to know they aren’t the only ones.

    After four years, the focus of my writing blog no longer jives with my writing career path, and needs to evolve. I’m not quite sure where I want to go with it and feel I need to pick a niche before I lose more readers – but have decided to take my time anyways until I find the right theme.

    As long as they don’t prevent you from writing. I think these fears can be good indicators of what needs more -or less- attention (voice, target audience, niche, etc)…

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Hey Colleen. What a valid point you make here. If you have more than one blog, you are not going to necessarily have the same issues with them. On your parenting blog, I would just say that, depending on the stand you take, you are not going to appeal to all parents. Because, let’s face it, there are almost as many different parenting philosophies as their are parents. You are almost looking at a niche-within-a-niche blog. (Your niche is parenting, but your sub-niche is real parenting without the sugar coating—a sort of Dr. Phil of parenting.) And the moms you offend? Well, they just aren’y your peeps, your readers.

      And the writing blog has different challenges. It changes as your writing focus does. And it depends on whether you are blogging for other writers or blogging to develop a loyal fan/reader base. Good questions. Thanks for sharing here.

      Reply

  10. Di Mace March 28, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Oddly (or maybe not if I think about hard enough) when I guest post my voice is clearer and more true. Seems the pressure of your own audience seems to produce stage fright even if it’s virtual!

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      I still need to get back to you on your email. Been swamped. Sorry.

      That’s fascinating that your guest posts are easier to write. I’m the opposite. I stress out when I write a guest post. : )

      I think I get what you are saying, though.

      Reply

  11. Judy Dunn March 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Embrace right where you are, and write where you are? I love that. This post was not meant to make people all paranoid, but to poke holes in the blogging fears that many of us have. And I wrote a post, “5 Things I’ve Learned Since My Stinky First Post” just because I’ve been there and I discovered some stuff (as I’m sure you have):

    http://catseyewriter.com/2011/01/08/catseyewriter-confessions-5-things-ive-learned-since-my-stinky-first-post/

    Thanks for reading and thanks for the link!

    Reply

  12. Susan Silver March 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    “If you are awkward than things will be awkward.” That piece of advice my friend gave me in college stays with me today. I think that is because we give off vibes somehow. If we write, with your 10 above reasons ,the audience knows. Some how the insecurity shows through.

    The best way to cut through it, is just to do it! So some things fail and some things succeed. But you have to get out there and find your voice, and that happens with writing. And more writing. Finding a groove where you fit.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 30, 2012 at 7:04 am #

      Susan,

      Yeah, I think if more people tackled it that way, their learning curve would be shorter. These are just a few of the most common issues my blog coaching clients, most of them newbie bloggers, had. It makes a lot of sense to “just do it,” as you say, because you learn quickly what works and what doesn’t.And the voice It’s something that can’t really be taught. It just comes with more practice. Thanks for sharing here.

      Reply

  13. Andrea Hypno March 30, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Wonderful post Judy, it’s always a pleasure to come here and find something witty, intelligent and useful.

    Everyone says everything and the contrary of everything so it’s pretty hard to know where to go. Unless someone comes here and the fog begins to fade away. 😉

    Btw there is only one cure to fears: analyze them, taking a deep breath and facing them at the best of our possibilities. What doesn’t kill us makes us stonger, and wiser.

    Have a great weekend!

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn March 30, 2012 at 7:07 am #

      So true, my friend. It’s why I like blog-as-lab, because you can test your ideas, measure the results, and find the most successful strategies.

      And on the weekend? Next weekend will be better because Bob and I will be getting away for some fun on the beach. This weekend is taxes. Eeew!

      Reply

  14. Ralph Dopping April 2, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    Judy,
    First time here. Linked through that wonderful sour-puss (kidding)thejackb. Great tips. Nice and practical. Just was a fledgling blogger (and aspiring writer) needs. Building confidence is huge. Funny thing is that I have a ton of it (confidence) in the “real” world (huh, isn’t the internet real too?) so why am I aprehensive here. Well, you nailed it with the 10 monsters.

    Thanks for the comment buddies one. Good idea. I TOTALLY agree on the niche. It’s justso much easier to write about what you know and inject that into the world as you know it.

    Anyway, so long and thanks for all the fish……

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn April 2, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      Ralph,

      Well, I’ll have to stop giving my friend Jack such a hard time, if he is sending readers to my blog. I take back everything I wrote on that bathroom wall. : )

      So glad you popped over for a visit. A blog is a curious animal and much of what one learns (me, anyway) comes from trial and error. You mention confidence. That, I think, also comes with experience. What is challenging is that it seems so permanent once you hot that “publish” button, you know? And if you are a perfectionist, as I am, it can freeze you up. I wrote a post on “Princess Syndrome” that talks about perfectionism. It might be useful and/or interesting:

      http://catseyewriter.com/2011/02/04/why-most-people-quit-blogging-the-princess-syndrome/

      Thanks again for stopping by and hope to see you here again.

      Reply

      • Ralph Dopping April 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

        I will certainly be back and i encourage you to rip my posts to sheds whenever you get a chance. I am trying to work within my niche but some “outside” influence is very welcome.

        No princess syndrome over here. I have a long range plan (good or bad) and I am sticking to it. It takes time. You. I said it. Best blogging advice ever? Rome wans’t built in a day (thank gawd ’cause if it was…..princess time).

        Yes, that Jack. Gotta love him. That reminds me. Gotta head over there now. Bye.

        Reply

        • Judy Dunn April 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

          Will definitely get over to your blog. That’s the fun part.

          Reply

  15. Anna Newell Jones April 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    It’s so easy to fall into these fears. I’ve done them before and I’ll do them again. Blogging and writing in a public forum can make you very vulnerable to these feats and issues. Thanks for the article. Sometimes just knowing you’re not the only one going through something or thinking it in your head is very helpful.

    Reply

    • Judy Dunn April 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      Glad this struck a chord with you. As we progress along our journey in blogging, some of these start to take care of themselves. The more you blog, the smaller these monster fears become. : )

      Reply

  16. Luana Spinetti April 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Simply put: I love niche blogging but I would never give up on personal, “what-I-did-today” blogging. 🙂 There’s no readers loss fear, nor the feeling I’m not writing interesting stuff (sometimes I get that, but it depends on mood, not facts), because I can do both. I’m not losing anything, just adding more fun and diverse readership to different kinds of blogging.

    My biggest fear: #7 of the list. Mostly because of my inferiority complex, but I’m working on that. 🙂

    ~ Luana S.

    Reply

  17. Judy Dunn May 2, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    Hey Luana,

    Thanks for visiting the Cat’s Eye blog.

    Every blogger finds their own way and you are proof of that. On #7, it just takes some initial courage and then lots and lots of practice writing about your topics. EVERYONE has something to teach someone else. : )

    Reply

  18. DanaT June 5, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Fear number 9, fear of failure, has kept me from starting a blog that I have been thinking about for the past year.  What has helped me overcome this fear and take the first real step to starting my blog is knowing that I’ll never know unless I try.

    Reply

    • JudyDunn June 10, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      [email protected]#9 is huge and can slow down a lot of us. I suffer from Princess Syndrome and that can make things difficult, too. I wrote about it here. :http://catseyewriter.com/2011/02/04/why-most-people-quit-blogging-the-princess-syndrome/
       
      Blogs are works-in-progress. And just jumping in is the best way to start (at least it was for me). 

      Reply

      • DanaT June 11, 2012 at 9:53 am #

        [email protected] I hear you about the princess syndrome.  I feel that way and it keeps me from officially starting my own blog even though I have enough content for it to write 10 books and I know there is an audience for it.  Your tip “Write from your heart” is working for you Judy.  Your blog is so real and emotional that I feel like I’m reading letters from a friend.  Great job!

        Reply

        • JudyDunn June 12, 2012 at 6:45 am #

          [email protected] you. ‘Real’ is one of the best kinds of feedback  a writer/blogger can get.
           
           It sounds like you have plenty to say. You just need to jump in and stat blogging.

          Reply

  19. ellyn July 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Hi Judy,
     
    I’m just getting started writing my first blog after many years of reading other’ blogs. It’s exciting… and terrifying! I wrote a post today about the emotions about this new endeavor. Here’s my post:
    http://as-we-go-a-long.blogspot.com/2012/07/why-im-afraid-of-this-blog-andor-sorry.html
     
    Thanks for sharing your insights and encouragement.
    Ellyn

    Reply

    • JudyDunn July 15, 2012 at 8:03 am #

      It IS exciting and terrifying at the same time. But there comes a time when you must stop just reading other people’s blogs (of course, mine is an exception—you can keep reading mine. LOL) and venture out on your own. 
       
      I don’t always have time to read all my readers’ wonderful posts, but thanks for the link. And best of luck in your blogging journey. 

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Write Where You Are - March 28, 2012

    […] But you know what? I really don’t care anymore. Writing is my outlet, my indulgence, my escape. And I’ve decided that it’s ok to embrace right where I am, and write where I am. I’ve included my first-ever blog post below, to remind myself why I started this in the first place. (And big props to Judy Dunn who helped my better understand my misgivings about blogging: What’s Under Your Bed?: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down.) […]

  2. Overcoming your fears - May 9, 2012

    […] way for you, my readers, to know a little bit more about me.  On the net, people have listed the top 10 fears related to blogging.  But here are my top 5 personal fears and how I overcame […]

  3. Link Love (16/06/2012) « Becky's Kaleidoscope - June 16, 2012

    […] “No wonder we freeze up. Lose our confidence. Start doubting our ability to crank out quality content. Fear that we aren’t good enough. There is just too much conflicting advice out there.” 10 Blogging Fears and How to Chase Them Dowm – Cat’s Eye Writer […]

  4. Power Up Your Blog: The Emotional Impact of the Right Photo - June 4, 2013

    […] What’s Under Your Bed: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down, I tackled the fears bloggers have that keep us up at night—all the what-ifs. What better picture […]

  5. The Emotional Impact of the Right Photo in Your WordPress BlogBobWP Online WordPress Classes - June 22, 2013

    […] What’s Under Your Bed: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down, I tackled the fears bloggers have that keep us up at night—all the what-ifs. What better picture […]

  6. #Benevolent people! Do they exist? - March 3, 2014

    […] href=”http://judyleedunn.com/2012/03/27/whats-under-your-bed-10-monster-blogging-fears-worth-chasing-down/…; […]

  7. Power Up Your Blog: The Emotional Impact of the Right Photo - June 3, 2015

    […] What’s Under Your Bed: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down, I tackled the fears bloggers have that keep us up at night—all the what-ifs. What better picture […]

Leave a Reply