The Paralyzing Fear Of Writing (And How To Get Over It)

25 May
2012

I haven’t been blogging much lately; especially on this blog. I am not sure why exactly, but I’m determined to blog it out until I can figure it out. I can tell you it’s certainly not due to having nothing to say. I’m not sure what it is, but it feels like fear more than anything. Sounds weird to hear myself say it, since I am pretty public and communicating thoughts and ideas is actually my job. I don’t think it’s fear of being judged or putting myself out there, because it’d be a little late for me to fear that. It feels like something else.

I was chatting with someone today — someone who’s been hesitant to blog for almost a year. This person has been really interested in blogging and has amazing ideas, but has yet to put his thoughts out there. We discussed why that could be. He said that he didn’t feel like he had anything original to add. And it hit me: “That’s why I haven’t been blogging!”

Especially in the field of social media / social business, it’s easy to feel like everything that was going to be said has been said already. The more you read, the more you get exposed to all this amazing information, brilliant minds and the more you start realizing that you’ll never be part of that “brain trust”. So the choice becomes to not say anything or just relegate yourself to being a “me too” or “part of the long tail.” And you say nothing. So many times, I developed an amazing idea for a post, inspired by something that happened and something that made me think — only to read the same post somewhere else. And because I can’t possibly top it, I do nothing.

That’s B.S., and here’s why. There is very little drastically original anything in this world. Everything is an evolution, everything came from something else, was inspired by something or someone. Everything is derivative, yet everything is original, because the conditions were right for it to happen the way that it did – in that one perfect moment, the past and the present merged together beautifully and became the future. We didn’t jump from cavemen to automobiles overnight — rather, it’s been a series of evolutionary improvements based on improvements that came before them.

Writing is the same. Writing takes information, applies a personal lens, and makes it into a story. Writing inspires and challenges. Even though information that you are thinking of writing may have been exposed already, no one has ever told the story in your particular way. Your life experiences create an undeniably unique lens of how you perceive everything. Information passes through your lens, and creates a story. There’s an infinite number of ways of telling a story because there’s an infinite numer of permutations of how light passes through these lenses.

This has definitely made me think today. Writing for a living has actually made me more fearful of writing than I was when I was first starting out — not because I lack confidence, but because the risk of producing something trite now extends beyond my own brand, to the brand of my employer. This is, of course, B.S. also. In our business, we are gifted with incredible customer stories. Each of them is a prism through which we can take concepts and make them come to life — in an infinite number of ways.

I’m not sure if this realization is in itself trite. I’m not sure if it will help me blog regularly. I do know it made me think, and I wanted to put this here, regardless of how unoriginal it is.

Photo source: Shandi-lee

  • http://twitter.com/mor_trisha Trisha Liu

    But Maria, you *are* part of the brain trust! Thank you for this wonderful post. I have been suffering from ‘me too’ syndrome too. For me, it can be hard to maintain self confidence when reading the Big Dogs of the Twitterverse every day. But I am learning that having more variations on the themes is so exciting and important. Even if *I* think I’m saying the same thing as someone else, it might be the *way* that I say it that helps another person.

    Raising my glass to you and SocialSilk!

    • http://about.me/themaria themaria

      Trisha! Your comments are always amazing, refreshing and humbling. Thank you for always being so supportive and amazing. I like what you said about the *way* you say it helping another person. I think that’s critical, as no two people relate to any one message the same way. And you are right, the opportunity to help someone is really what it’s all about. Thanks again!

  • guest

    its good to know that someone else has similar problems, and even more so that i can learn from it. thanks for helping me out, your thoughts have motivated me to continue my ideas.

  • http://twitter.com/ThisMuchWeKnow Jonathan Anthony

    Maria – Matt Ontell pushed me here. Nice post, self-reflective without being self-conscious.

    As a regular recipient of your thinking, I can attest to your thought leadership. As Kirby Ferguson says, “Everything is Remix.”

    http://vimeo.com/kirbyferguson/everythingisaremix3

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