What scares you? I mean, really scares you? What keeps you up at night?
Most of us think we know what scares us.
Extreme heights, dark alleys, or maybe, Spielberg.
In today’s post, I want to talk with you about a different kind of fear.
People send me links to their blogs all of the time, asking me to read them and give feedback. When I have time I don’t mind obliging and I look forward to reading interesting stuff.
However, all too often I end up looking at pretty cat pictures, dancing gifs and some random thoughts. Sometimes, though, I end up at a blog that stops me, pokes me, and makes me wonder and consider.
Allow me to be frank, if you’re going to be a serious writer who wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to write about some serious shit. I say that with the utmost of respect and from a place of experience.
When I first started blogging I had a cheesy blog design that anyone could get for free, I posted fun pictures that were more distracting than really “fun,” and I gave random tidbits about this or that.
And then, something changed. I started writing about stuff that actually made me nervous.
I started writing about things I care about.
And what makes writing about those things scary is that I’m laying my thoughts, emotions, and deepest secrets on the line for the entire world to read and… judge.
So, I get it. People want to blog. They want to be bloggers. They want to build platforms and network with like-minded people.
Great. Do it.
But please, for heaven’s sake, don’t take it lightly. Write about what keeps you up at night. If you’re not a little worried about what others might think, you’re not digging deep enough.
If you’re not a little worried about what others might think, you’re not digging deep enough
My first serious blog was about ADHD, I shared common knowledge about the condition, and as you might surmise, no one cared all that much. Just another blog sharing the same-old-same-old.
But when I started writing about my personal experiences, how I learned to cope with the way my mind works and I started to reveal what my struggles were and how they sometimes tore my eFF’ing life apart, people started to pay attention.
Bloggers, millions of them, write throwaway articles every day. The internet is clogged with what is supposed to be considered “evergreen,” but is really just more bland crap that nobody remembers 5 seconds after they read it.
I published a lot of throwaway articles too, but when I wrote about stuff I sincerely cared about, especially about such a pushbutton topic at the time, ears perked, people started sharing my work and the blogosphere went crazy both agreeing with me and hating on me (and how!).
The next thing I knew national magazines were ringing my number.
ADDitude Magazine, one of the most read magazines about ADHD worldwide, requested something I could never have imagined, they requested to use quotes from my writing about ADHD.
That was wonderful, but I didn’t realize they would end up using the quotes as a two-page spread in the middle of the magazine. (That was big stuff to me, my friends.) The piece was aptly titled, “Reality Knocks.”
So why did people finally take notice?
Because I started writing about something I truly cared about, and friends, if that’s not scary I don’t know what is.
When I started this blog your reading, Positive Writer, one of my first blog posts was about how the first draft is not crap. It was scary because every writer on earth seemed to be convinced the first draft was total garbage. Thanks for nothing Hemingway!
I still get emails about that article, and they can be separated into two types, one telling me how wrong I am and the other, about how the article changed their perspective so much that they’re finally creating work that matters.
It’s amazing. I love it. It’s become a bit intoxicating to poke your thoughts with my writing. And yet, it’s still every bit as terrifying as it’s always been.
Positive Writer started a new journey for me, one where I regularly argue with long-held beliefs with concern to writing and what it takes to be a “writer.”
Inspired Writer, in fact, is a book that shines a bright light on what really holds most writers back. But I can save you some time and money by putting what holds most of us back into two words:
And here’s the solution in two words:
As it turns out, the coping skills I learned for my life with ADHD are also great skills for writers and I teach those skills in my books. I think that’s part of what makes them unique compared to conventional books on writing.
Actually, it seems a lot of artists share similar traits we call Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, which in turn makes me wonder how much of a “disorder” it really is.
That’s yet another argument, is ADHD really a disorder? People go to war with each other over merely the suggestion that ADHD might not be a “disorder” and vice-versa. It’s a worthy topic, but again…
If you examine blogs that are getting a decent amount of attention, you’ll discover the writing, regardless of what it’s about, is of substance and tends to challenge the status quo.
So, allow me to ask you:
What really scares you? What makes you nervous? What makes you worry about what others might think?
Write about that.
As I write this today, it’s May 21st, my birthday, and my birthday message to everyone reading this is, please, we need your words now more than ever, give yourself goosebumps!