11194608_10206510791434627_3787850486974186804_o

You’re not really a coward if you want to start a blog but are afraid to do it. I just said that to get your attention.

I started my blog, Red’s Wrap, because I wanted to write about adoption, specifically from the perspective of an older mom of young adult adopted children. It was to be sort of a ‘this is how it turns out’ blog.

I already blogged on my business website  and the blog posts were often very personal even though they ostensibly dealt with community planning and research topics. My personal views, especially about issues of feminism and racism frequently bled through and I started to think that a separate, personal, blog might be a more appropriate vehicle.

Before I started my blog, I’d taken a couple of writing classes. Not with the intention of writing a blog, I just took the classes because it seemed like a good idea. From the class, I got this takeaway. If I were to get a tattoo, this is what it would say: the most important thing about writing is having something to say.

The technical aspects of putting together a blog have pretty much been minimized by the great utility of WordPress. Basically, any fool can put up a WordPress blog in about an hour. The biggest sticking points will be the theme, the look, the colors. WordPress makes it easy, like shopping at Target. It’s amazingly plug and play.

So where does the cowardice, or let’s say, hesitation, come in?  Right here. Get ready for it. It’s your worst fear.

Being judged.

If you write something and publish it on the internet, someone is going to read it. It might be your mother who loves you or it might be a stranger living in Australia. You have no way of knowing. If you write it and publish it, it exists. And you have to be able to take that risk. You have to take the risk that people won’t like it, your mother won’t like it, the person in Australia won’t like it.

Worse. You have to take the risk that you will be ignored.

It’s deflating to try to write something meaningful and get no response. I know. I have a whole string of posts I wrote when I first started my blog in 2010 that got no response. I read them now and think, gee, this is a pretty good piece, why didn’t anyone like it?

At the time, though, I didn’t dwell on the lack of response. Actually, I think part of me was glad that there as no response. It was a classic sorry/not sorry situation or, more aptly put, I’m a writer/I’m not a writer situation. In other words, I was both proud and embarrassed about my writing. So I was glad I had my blog and pretty happy with what I’d written but hanging back in the ownership department. It’s a paradox but a pretty common one.

I see it now as a necessary transition. The fact that everyone in the world was ignoring me was a blessing. It allowed me to write what I thought was important (remember that the most important thing about writing is having something to say) without worrying about people’s reactions. Gradually, as I got my footing and felt more confident, I got more readers. And getting more readers didn’t scare me. It was fun.

Blogging is enormous fun, tremendously rewarding and educational in a way a thousand writing classes couldn’t be. The synergy of writing, publishing, reflecting and improving is powerful, electric. I would wish it for anyone who wants to write and be read. So how to begin?

If I were to sum up my coward’s guide to starting a blog, it would be with one word. You know what it is. No mystery about it, it’s not complex or difficult. Here it is.

Start.