I take for granted that I love to write. That is, until I was asked to write an article for the Psychotherapy Networker. I had been warned. But oh my goodness, it takes an average of 5-6 drafts for the article to make it to print. Each draft is full of anghst, stress, self-doubt, fear (of being told it’s so crappy they don’t want me to write afterall). Fortunately I had an amazing writing coach in the editor, and after one draft swung to the opposite side in draft two, I got the call last night that draft THREE hit the story. Now it’s making it crisper, tweaking, honing. I was so relieved I almost wanted to cry!
This experience has helped humble me to the plight that many folks face when it comes to their websites. The good news is if you speak from your heart, rather than as “teacher on high”, writing should be smoother and more fun for you. And when you start to see search engine traffic because of articles or blog posts you wrote, there is a lot of reward in the efforts you put in. I view website readers as I do real life people – humbled that people are seeking help, and feeling responsible to ensure they get good information that connects with them emotionally.
The key is finding your voice. I have a voice for this blog, which I would describe as a combination of thinking aloud, teaching, and personal sharing. My audience is varied and while I have some skills you don’t have, I am never going to believe I know MORE THAN YOU in an overall sense. I am just one person with some funky knowledge, trying to help translate that knowledge to help you. The more you share with me, the more I learn and pass it on!
Here is what I say about finding your voice. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, “just do it.” Twitter? JUST Join! You don’t have to DO anything on there, but by watching others, you’ll learn a lot. Facebook? JUST JOIN. Same thing. Blogging however, I would probably suggest READING OTHER BLOGS, before creating your own. Writing a blog is a little like writing a newspaper. You can’t start a newspaper, get readers, then not publish another newspaper for 3-12 months. It defeats the original work put into that “first edition.” With Twitter and Faceboo you can watch the world go by and nobody is “noticing” you aren’t talking. If you want to join Twitter, feel free to follow my main account at http://www.twitter.com/thefirstdance Heck you can even bookmark that link, not join Twitter, and just read what I write. If I reference others, you can also bookmark THEIR Twitter account without actually joining Twitter.
A website? Just do it. Get one going, knowing you may end up changing absolutely everything later. It’s better to have a one page website to start with than no website at all. This way when you finally get that “spark”, either from listening to someone, talking to a colleague who has a cool website, reading something, that SPARK can more quickly be put into action because you have the basics already set up. There is nothing more frustrating than having that spark, which may be short-lived, and then having no idea what to do, who to hire, etc.
And if you only take one thing from this blog entry it is to USE YOUR REAL LIFE to help others. I’ve been through anghst in writing, so I write this post to hopefully give some tidbits to others in the same boat.