Have you ever felt like your blank screen is having a staring contest with you?
And it’s winning?
You want to get that blog post written — you really do — but the words just aren’t flowing. They’re not even dripping.
“But I don’t know what to saaaaaaay!” you protest.
Or, “It won’t be good enough!”
Or the ever-popular, “But it’s not original!”
So you sit there, your mind as frozen as the surface of an icy pond. You just know that whatever you manage to type is going to be the worst piece of writing in the history of . . . well, writing.
But it’s not true. I’m here to tell you why you should go ahead and write The Most Horrible Blog Post Ever. Here are several reasons to stop worrying about the quality of your writing and just publish the darn thing.
1. It’ll Give You Courage
Expanding your boundaries might be unhealthy for waistlines, but it’s great for learning what you’re capable of. Zen teacher and writer Cheri Huber says, “Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.”
The opposite is also true. By just writing something and hitting the “Publish” button, you’ll train yourself to overcome your inner demons, and the next time you sit down to write, it’ll be easier. Do this enough times, and you’ll reinforce courage to the point where it comes naturally.
That’s when writing becomes fun.
2. You’ll Fail Faster
This one sounds like bad news, I know. But if you’re going to screw up, you might as well get it over with.
Imagine young Michelangelo: “Damn this marble! That’s the third piece I’ve broken this week! I may as well give up sculpting.” If he had, the world would be missing David and the Pietà.
The truth is, failure is a part of learning. If you ever want to master blogging, then you need to give yourself a chance to fail. The sooner you start, the faster you’ll improve.
So get started.
3. Happy Accidents Happen
When I was in college I took a wheel-thrown pottery class. I loved it, especially the surprises, like the clay that I wanted to shape into a bowl, but ended up becoming a mug instead. The handle looks a bit funky, and the mug will never win any design awards, but it holds heat like no store-bought chunk of stoneware ever has, and to this day it’s my favorite mug to drink from.
Similarly, any popular blogger will tell you some of their best posts resulted in trying to write something else, failing, and then realizing that they had stumbled onto something special. Sometimes genius isn’t so much a result of effort as a happy accident.
Which of your “bowl” blog posts will turn into distinctively funky mugs?
4. Nobody Likes Perfect People
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is thinking their writing needs to be perfect.
Perfection is more important for neurosurgeons and auto mechanics. Authenticity is more important for bloggers, even if it means being authentically screwed up.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t know your stuff — authority isn’t something that can be faked. Just express that authority in a personal tone. People like reading a letter from a friend, coffee stains and all, much more than they like reading a textbook that’s flawless from cover to cover.
It’s all about being real. We all crave connection, and I think that’s why blogging has become such a popular medium. Its immediacy and candor provides a great environment for writers to relate honestly with their audiences and to have the courage to be vulnerable.
If you can find that courage, then your readers will love you, imperfections and all. Try it.
5. People Need You
This one is, in my opinion, the most important reason of all.
Right now, there are people searching for the posts that you’ve not yet written. They’re frustrated, they’re hurting, and the only way they are going to get relief is from the information inside your head.
Will you withhold it from them? Will you tell them that you can’t help them because . . . well . . . you haven’t thought of the best way to write it yet?
Or will you set aside your fears, just for the moment, and write The Most Horrible Blog Post Ever, just on the freak chance that maybe it’s not as bad as you think?
Because, you see, your readers aren’t looking for the “perfect” blog post. They’re looking for the blog post that’s perfect for them.
Your job is to write it.
About the Author: Michelle Russell is a blogger who explores the perils of perfectionism at Practice Makes Imperfect. If you want to watch her flail imperfectly at social media, you can also follow her on Twitter.