Self-doubt can creep into your mind and debilitate you at any time, but I find it often slithers in uninvited right after I’ve completed a writing project – during a time when my mindset is riding a wave of positivity – because finishing a task can be difficult for me.
Recently I just completed a few blog posts, and I began working on the About page for this website. After some research, I discovered something I didn’t know: The About page of a website is not about you.
I continued to read and I found out that the About page should focus on what you can offer your audience. It’s about what type of specific message you can bring to your community.
Okay, that makes sense, but I sat back and raised my eyebrows as I looked at the first draft of my About page. You mean I can’t talk about how I’m a television and movie fanatic? You mean I can’t tell my readers that my favorite television show is Supernatural? You mean I can’t tell my community that my favorite exercises are swimming and martial arts? You mean that I can’t reveal that one of the items on my bucket list includes sneaking into Area 51 in order to read classified documents so I can tell the world through my writing whether or not there really is an alien conspiracy?
Umm, just kidding on the last one. Well…sort of.
I always knew that I wanted to focus on self-doubt; I’d already written a few blog posts which confirmed that. Still. What information should I be writing on that damn About page?
Can I just delete it?
I looked that up too.
The About page is considered one of the most important tools for a blogger and author.
The About page.
You mean it’s really not about me? Ugh. I winced at that thought.
Right on cue, when I’m starting to feel my positivity deflate, someone tapped me on the shoulder.
You can’t do this, whispered my inner critic. You suck.
I ignored the pang of self-doubt though and I researched some more. I read through many author About pages, and realized that my message should tie in with everything on my website, including the About page.
I re-wrote what I had and sent it off to writing coach Jennifer Blanchard for editing.
Over the summer I’d opened up a website, but it’s remained empty until this fall when I began receiving email coaching from Jennifer. The coaching has been a major help in accountability. I believe that my website would still be blank if it weren’t for Jennifer’s assistance. She’s helped me with everything from navigating confusing technical issues in WordPress to offering suggestions on my author message and marketing efforts.
A day later I received her edits. I scanned the document. It didn’t contain too many errors. Good. My positive mindset soared. Then I reached the bottom of the document where she’d asked me to expand on a paragraph and share what it was like to overcome self-doubt.
For some reason my inner critic roared with laughter.
What are you going to say now?
But, to manage this voice, I fought back the only way I know how: I reached for my pen and journal and began to free write.
I started again at the beginning. If the page is not supposed to focus on me, then what am I about?
It’s about what I have to offer.
I began to write a list of everything I’ve learned in the workshops I’ve participated in and through my blogging and email coaching with Jennifer.
The list continued for several pages. I jotted down everything from learning about WordPress, to forming a subscribers list, using MailChimp and Canva, to the ways to make an eBook cover, to marketing my work.
And something happened.
My self-doubt was silent.
I silenced the debilitating jerk.
Because when you focus on what you’ve learned, and how that knowledge can help others, you’re not focusing on you.
When you’re not focusing on yourself, you’re not concentrating on what you can’t do. You’re concentrating on what you can do.
Everyone – every writer – has something to offer in this world.
Jennifer believes that you shouldn’t try to please everyone and I agree with that. You can be an author for a specific person, though, and that can be accomplished by focusing on your progress.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction or both, our job is to educate, entertain and inspire our readers. When we’re focused on that we’re not concentrating on the piece of plot structure that’s giving us a hard time, we’re not frustrated when we can’t think of what to write for our next blog post. No.
When we take the focus off ourselves, self-doubt has nothing to say because he can’t argue with progress.
What’s it feel like overcoming self-doubt? What’s it like on the other side?
Without that weight pinning me down, I completed my damn About page that was giving me a hard time and I finished this blog post.
How does that feel?
It feels awesome!
It was never about me. It was about you. And it’s about progress.
What have you learned since beginning your writing journey? Share in the comments!