What do passionate golfers, fanatical fishermen, shop-a-holics, racing fans, movie buffs, scrapbookers, avid readers, coin collectors, grandparents, college students, mothers of toddlers, stock brokers, personal trainers, car mechanics, financial planners, netpreneurs and EFS-ers all have in common?
They each have a LOT to talk about. So do you. Everyone has a lot to say but not everyone is comfortable saying it, especially on the internet.
I have such a need to talk and write that I am guilty of forgetting that many folks are more than a little uncomfortable with stepping out and chatting online – whether it’s in a blog, a profile, or in the conference room chats.
My guess is that you can sit down and talk a blue streak with a good friend. You have no problem comparing handicaps with your golf buddies or discussing the last big game you saw. And you moms, I know you love to share stories about the latest brilliant thing your child learned to do. Or you car mechanics have a lot to say about computerization of auto repairs. So why is it almost painful to type a paragraph or two about something you know really well and put it on a mysterious thing called a blog?
Perhaps it’s the thought of people you don’t know catching a glimpse of who you are. Or maybe you think you’re not a great writer and you want whatever you post to be perfect. So you keep editing it – but it never is finished. Or maybe you just can’t land on exactly what it is you want to write about.
Let’s think about that for a moment.
The first experience I had with a chat room conference was when I went back to college in my “old age.” Let me tell you, if you want to feel out of place, go to school with young people who look at you like you’ve got two heads when you tell them you’re not the instructor! Not only did I go back to school, but I took classes online. Now THAT’s an experience to write about.
It’s not easy having daily online conversations – which make up 30% of your grade – with strangers who are stunned to discover that Paul McCartney started his career in a band called the Beatles, or that most of today’s movies are the third remake of a really old movie, or that the Vietnam War is not ancient history.
(And if you are shocked at these revelations, I apologize right now for having two heads.)
Every night I had to sit down in front of my computer screen and find a discussion question assigned by the professor. Then I had to read the comments of three students and respond to each of their thoughts.
I thought I would die. Or at least withdraw from class.
But I didn’t do either. I MADE myself write those responses. I had something to gain: Knowledge and a grade. The first few times I did it I sat for hours trying to think of the perfect thing to say to sound brilliant and impressive.
That didn’t work. Then I finally got it. It wasn’t about sounding brilliant, it was about sounding interested in the discussion and in what my peers had to say. After a couple of weeks I was having a ball in that chat room and I loved seeing what everyone had to say.
Did I worry about being critiqued? Yup. Never stopped, although I didn’t panic about it any longer. And I did quit worrying about sounding perfect. I discovered that once I let my guard down a bit it was pretty easy to just talk about what I had learned in a way that my peers could understand.
That’s all a blog is – a place to talk online about something you already know in a way that others can understand. Let your personality shine through – don’t try to sound different than you are. And pass along some helpful information or tips.
A great trick for getting started is to read an article about something you already know and enjoy – get the creative juices going. Then rewrite it in your own words, adding your own experiences and helpful hints.
Voila! You have your first blog article – and a totally unique one. Each one after that will get easier. Soon you won’t need to figure out what to write about – you’ll have more ideas than time!
So give it a try. Don’t try to write a Pulitzer Prize winning book. Just think about what you know that might help anyone reading your blog. Start writing it down as if you were talking to a friend you’ve known for years. Then set it aside for a while – even a day. Read it over just to give yourself that mental “good job” pat on the back.
Believe me when I tell you, you may have the perfect solution to someone’s problem. Don’t keep it to yourself. Post it to your blog.