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Blogging FAQS: I Can’t Write 

Woo Hoo!  You’ve decided to blog. You’ve set up your site, added a header, followed all the instructions in my blogging guide and now you are hesitant. You know you have to write something, but the words won’t come. You’ve looked over the tips for writer’s block; you’ve been for a walk, you’ve taken a bath and you’ve read the newspaper, but you still can’t write and press publish.

Your inner dragons are telling you not to post something because the site needs a new plugin (to make it perfect), and your partner is saying how proud of you they are. When can they read something? You don’t have writer’s block and you know you don’t need plugins to make your blog better, you know in your heart what the problem is.

But you still don’t write and hit publish.

It’s not that you don’t want to write it’s just that you think you can’t. You read the big blogs where writers tell you to have pretty sentences and orderly paragraphs. Occasionally you dare over to the site that helps readers with their grammar issues. But even after the help and advice you’ve read, you still tremble at the thought of putting fingers to the keyboard, typing a post and pressing “publish”.

Writing is big business. From copywriters to journalists, writing is a way of communicating ideas, and writers can be some of the most harsh people on the planet. Some of them think it’s okay (in their opinion) to leave you and your blogging dreams crushed. I’m here to tell you it's not and that it’s time to stop worrying about your writing.

Have you heard of Erica Leonard? Perhaps by her pen name, E.L James? Erica wrote 3 controversial books where the readers loved or hated them. She’s now worth $10 million and loves in a beautiful house in central London. She wrote from her heart, and her audience grew. Every day she sells thousands of books via Kindle and print. Every day someone posts about how poorly written the book is. She started out blogging the story of Ana and Christian and slowly it grew into a book. A book that millions have read and millions more groused about. Everyone has heard of 50 shades of grey. There's even a movie of it.

If you read a lot of writing blogs you’ll know that a misplaced apostrophe is the end of the world and poor grammar will cause a kitten to die somewhere in the world.

You may have a post typed and ready to publish, but you don’t know how to spellcheck and everyone will know your deepest fears as soon as you hit publish. Everyone will see your mistakes and think you are an idiot. You may have heard of Eben Pagan, you may be on his list. You’ll have probably seen one of his apostrophe-free emails. He also earns in the region of $10 million a year.

Sure, writing is important but not as important as the story or the message.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because E.L James and Eben Pagan do not let the writing part get in the way of being heard. They do not let their fear take over, they let the writer free to construct blog posts and emails and they don’t give a hoot what other people say in public. Okay, that may not be entirely true. I have no idea if E.L James sobs herself to sleep at night over what’s criticised by the writing/publishing community. I sincerely hope she doesn’t, after all she goes to sleep every night with Christian Grey ;).

Writers are not the only creatives out there and they don’t rule the world despite what they may think. If they did where do you think 50 Shades of Grey would be?

What can you do about it when you think you can't write?

  • Write more. You will only get better with experience. Write more.
  • Ask for help – it's not a sin and there are plenty of proofreaders out there whose services you can hire.
  • Read more. Read what’s deemed good writing. Read bad writing. You can learn the difference.
  • Write the old school way. Remember lines? The after-school punishment where you had to write the same thing over and over again? Find some great writing you love and write it over and over and over again.
  • Write until your fingers bleed and the flows of the words are seared into your brain.
  • Get some software something like Grammarly or White Smoke. No software is perfect but if it boosts your confidence, and irons out a few of the wrinkles then it’s worthwhile.
  • Get a thicker skin. Learn the difference between helpful advice so you can get it right and bitter writers sniping until they can have their morning vodka- tonic to recover from their own perceived failures.
  • Learn to write an outline for your posts, where you can follow the pointers and tell your story.
  • Take a writing class, online/ offline, wherever. You’ll meet other people just like you, some better / some worse.
  • What you don’t know… ask. If you don’t know how to use spellcheck then ask someone. Don’t know if a comma is needed then ask someone.
  • You only get better by doing, so go and do it.
  • If I had let my writing hinder me you wouldn’t be reading this now.

    My husband’s business would have closed and I’d be living in a trailer park somewhere. I’m still not the world’s best writer and that isn’t my goal. But I show up and I post often. Each week that post teaches me something I didn’t know about writing. You need to start showing up too.

    These are lessons I’m willing to learn because the alternative is to curl up and die a slow death where my dreams and ambitions are stifled and suffocated. I won’t allow that to happen and you don’t have to either.

    Make this the year you publish your words, and publish often. Do not allow the fear of writing / other writers drag you down.

    Kevin and Sarah Arrow founded the Online Visibility Academy in 2015 to help busy business owners upskill in digital marketing, and have a distraction free development space. They train individuals and team members on marketing skills that get results! 

  • Hi Sarah,

    What a FANTASTIC article. I have met so many business owners that have such great ideas and abilities but won’t write because of fear.

    I love this point: “I’m here to tell you its not and that it’s time to stop worrying about your writing.”

    The only way to master something is to do it over and over again. There are lots of helpful books and blogs on writing that can help one get better at their craft.

    I do feel our blogs should be as good as they can possibly be, but that doesn’t mean perfect. Your examples are just AWESOME!!!!

    People today are more interested in ideas. So, just start somewhere and get your ideas out there and let the chips fall where they may.

    Your best advice in this article to me was get thick skin. It’s something I’ve had to develop over the years and I’m still working at it. No one wants to receive negative criticism. Yet, that is the online world we live in.

    People write mean things all of the time. Sometimes it’s because of jealousy, envy or a persons own deep hidden insecurities that have nothing to do with us.

    Just move on and realize that there are a lot of people out there who need your message. Your writing will get better over time the more you read and the more you do it.

    What an amazing message Sarah! Thank you so much for standing out and writing this necessary article!

    ~ Don Purdum

  • Great examples Sarah,
    so many people knocked the writing in the 50 Shades series but if the story is good you quickly get past that and that I think is the key have a great story and share it the best way you can.
    Confidence and the lack of it is the main blockage in my writing, is it the right tone, the right length will people understand my message and ultimately will they come back for more.
    Following your challenge and listening and sharing with you and others in the group is brilliant for the self esteem and I would recommend it to anyone who worries about their writing abilities.

  • I was worried about blogging ‘the right way’ .. until I joined your challenge group Sarah. Now I’m learning that way, but I’ve also started to feel more relaxed about just ‘getting a post out’ and not worrying if it isn’t perfect.

    I’m still a bit picky, but I know even my grammar/spell checker misses things, because I’ve noticed them afterwards.

    Will someone shoot me for it? Hopefully not!

    Will they stop reading? Hopefully not!

    It’s just great to be committing content to the blog regularly and know it’s there to stay and will be helpful to someone, somewhere. Hopefully! 😉

    Thank you for your support. 🙂

  • Another great post, Sarah. Whilst I’m not a big fan of The 50 Shades series, I think Erica Leonard is a genius in marketing and spin. Somehow, she managed to gets her books being talked about at the school gates around the country. I would hear the same conversation everywhere “Have you read ‘it’ ?”

    I haven’t quite mastered the outline, yet, as I’m still writing on the fly (I’ll get there), but the interesting thing is that I now have at least three or four topics I want to write about as well as a series of videos I’d like to shoot.

    Writing regularly has been a great discipline for me, so thank you 🙂

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