Getting Over Imposter Syndrome and Finally Starting a Blog
Originally Published: March 18, 2021
Ever since I was in college, I’ve wanted to start a blog. I enjoy teaching and sharing things I’m passionate about, so having a blog seemed right up my alley. I’ve made several attempts at a blog over the years, but so far have failed to maintain a consistent writing habit for one reason or another. Each time, I quickly ran out of steam, and subsequently, lost my motivation.
My first attempt at a blog was basically an online journal, where I shared simple day to day stuff. I was only a couple of posts in when I realized how boring my day to day life is, and I felt any potential readers would feel the same. I next attempted to write about a specific topic, web development. My thoughts went immediately to how hard it would be to stay current in an ever changing industry, so I gave up after only one or two posts yet again. I then tried writing about creativity, a topic I felt would have more longevity. This time I was hit pretty hard by imposter syndrome, which is the inability to recognize the value of one’s skills, knowledge, or achievements. It’s usually accompanied by a constant (and in my opinion, irrational) fear of being exposed as a “liar” or “fraud”. When I tried to write about creativity, I would think to myself, “Why would anyone listen to me on this subject? I didn’t go to school for it. I don’t have a degree in it. I don’t have any science to back me up. There’s certainly nothing I can say on the subject that hasn’t been said before.” So, the pattern continued, and I only wrote a couple posts, then quit.
The idea of starting a blog had seemed so exciting and fun when I first started thinking about it, but the doubts I had in my ability to produce an interesting and successful blog were blocking me from really even getting started. It became work instead of pleasure, and I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to succeed.
Something else that’s stuck with me since college is my love for organization and productivity. I talk a lot about it at work, and have gained a reputation as the “productivity guy” amongst my coworkers. I’m often asked for advice on how to be more productive, and since I’ve studied the subject extensively over the last 11 years, I can’t help but unload an overwhelming amount of information. On these occasions, I’ve thought to myself, “it’d be great if I wrote all this information down so I could just point people to it when they ask. Then they could consume the info at their leisure.” The idea of a blog has come to the surface once again!
Despite 11 years worth of research to mine for content ideas, I was once again hit with that pesky imposter syndrome. It didn’t seem to matter that people were specifically seeking me out and asking for my advice. I still felt unqualified to talk about productivity.
Then recently I came across a YouTube channel by a guy named Ali Abdaal. He talks about productivity and organization on his channel, and many of his videos have really resonated with me. He talked specifically in one video about how he had to overcome imposter syndrome when starting a blog, and later a YouTube channel. He covered three lessons he's learned that have helped him overcome imposter syndrome, and they've helped reframe my thinking around content creation.
The first lesson is that things that are obvious to you can be amazing to others. Knowledge that feels second nature to you now, because you learned it a long time ago, will be brand new information to others. Just as you were excited when you first learned about it, others will be excited as they learn it for the first time. They're just learning it from you rather than from wherever you learned it.
The second lesson was people don't really care if you're an expert or not. We all seem to think that everyone is staring at us and judging us, but in reality, people are more worried about themselves than they are about you. They're coming to your blog not to judge you, but to get something of value that will benefit them. That's why you're sharing stuff on a blog, right? Because you believe it can value others.
The third lesson dispels the myth of expertise being a prerequisite to starting a blog. The truth is, you don't have to be an expert. As Ali put it, you can be a guide rather than a guru. You've probably done a lot of research on whatever topic you'd like to write about, and your blog is a place to share the insights you received during your research. There are others out there who are on a similar journey as you, and you can share what you've learned to make it easier for them. There's value in sharing things such as mistakes you've made and how others can avoid making those same mistakes. A blog becomes a place to track the things you've learned for yourself, and since it's public, others can benefit from your learnings as well.
The video is fantastic, and I highly recommend it to those who, like me, have struggled, or are currently struggling, with imposter syndrome, and want to get themselves out of that rut. You can find a link to the video at the end of this post.
Ali’s videos really helped to change my perspective, and I'm excited about the idea of blogging again. So, I’ve decided to give it another go. I feel a lot different about blogging this time around, thanks to Ali, and I really hope that means I can stick with it this time. My plans for this blog are to share things such as what productivity apps I’m currently using, what methodologies I’ve found useful, and whatever other tips and tricks I pick up during my research sessions.
I’m also including a series of articles I wrote based on a presentation I gave at work called The Productivity Journey. It’s a process I’ve developed for setting goals and crafting your personal productivity system around those goals.
Occasionally, a couple of coworkers / friends of mine will be posting as well. We talk about productivity often, and have been a support system to each other over the years. They have some great ideas to share, and I’m excited to have their contributions.
If you're like me and have wanted to start a blog, make a YouTube channel, create an Instagram account, or utilize any other content sharing platform, then I hope this post, as well as Ali's video, can inspire you to get started. There are people out there eager to see what you create, so don't keep them waiting any longer.