Regular writing about what you do for a living is one thing that everyone struggles with, myself included. You’re so deep in your own business that you cannot figure out how to communicate what you do in a way that demonstrates your expertise but also doesn’t give so much away that anyway can replicate what you do, therefore putting yourself out of business.
That being said, let’s get this out of the way: If what you did was so easy to learn and do that anyone could do it after reading your blog or email newsletter, you shouldn’t be doing it as a career. What you do, on a surface level, is only one part of your “job”.
I’ve often said that anyone can make a website (it’s true! anyone can!) but not everyone can make a website that makes money, or encourages repeat visiting, or gets people to visit your store or sign up for your event.
Also, writing reluctance can come from a fear that what you’re doing isn’t particularly amazing or interesting, and who is going to want to read about accounting tips, anyway?
Lots of people.
There is someone on the internet, right now, looking for exactly what you do. But they’re probably not searching for “accountants in Saskatoon“. They’re probably searching for “tax tips for charities in Saskatchewan“. And if you’d written that article about that very topic, they’d be on your site right now.
Let’s fix your reluctance, right now.
I’ve broken down writing resistances into three major categories. Your own resistance is likely one of these flavours, and if you’re really lucky – all three!
1. I’m too busy!
I used to be too busy, too. I was too busy to publish anything on Local Magnet from April until last Monday. Why was I busy? I could tell you a laundry list of work, big projects, friends visiting from out of town, and so on.
But the real reason is that I hadn’t made time in my day for writing. I do now – it’s in my calendar. During that hour, I write one blog post. If I come up with ideas for more, I schedule them for future writing hours.
Right now, book an hour in your schedule every day to write. That’s your hour. It’s an important meeting with yourself – make it happen.
2. I don’t have anything to say!
This is usually code for “I’m a fraud!“. Do you feel that you’re not an expert and therefore you shouldn’t say anything? If you’re concerned about that, I encourage you to read about the Dunning-Kruger effect.
If you are concerned that you are incompetent and therefore shouldn’t share what you do with everyone, get over it. That is a sure sign that you’re likely competent and care about getting better at what you do.
I first came up with the idea for Local Magnet about two years ago. It fermented for far too long because I was “too busy” and then I was afraid that I didn’t know enough to start it. Which is ridiculous – I’ve been doing this successfully for 10 years, happy clients and all. But still, I held myself back.
Then I gave myself a deadline. And better than the deadline, I told people who weren’t my friends and wouldn’t forgive me if I was late on delivering. I told people who I’d just met, new colleagues here in Edmonton. It made me deliver because I’d just met these people and their opinion of me was still being shaped. If I hadn’t delivered, then they would have looked negatively upon me. So I did it.
3. I’m afraid!
Fear is the tricky one because it can manifest itself in so many different ways. For me, fear comes in the form of procrastination. When I finally do tackle the thing that I’ve been putting off, I realize that it’s because I was afraid that I couldn’t do it or I wouldn’t be any good at it. Which is silly, because now it’s done and it wasn’t that bad and it turned out fine.
Sometimes I hear from clients that they are afraid that something we try will be too successful. I know that growing too big too fast can kill a company, but being too successful won’t destroy your company if you’re really prepared and motivated to accept the results.
I can’t tell you how to tackle your fear, but I will refer you over to this great post by Julien Smith, about “How to tell if you’re doing your life’s work“. Essentially, if you’re terrified, then you know that you’re doing the right thing. And he’s right.
How scared are you? Can you do the work anyway? Then do it.