I spend a lot of time thinking about fear. My blog readers’ fears. My customers’ fears. My customers’ customers’ fears. The fears of the dude who hangs around the shops and shouts at the cement.
And sometimes, just sometimes, my own writing fears.
I’m not talking the spider phobia thing or the slightly OCD anxiety I get when I see crooked pictures. I’m talking about my writing fears.
Just because I write all the time, doesn’t mean I tackle the process with a Sean Connery shwagger.
As part of my series of posts that open up to you all, I’m putting my biggest writing fears out there. I know I’m not alone. I hope you won’t think of me badly.
Writing Fear #1: Not being taken seriously
When I first started Copywriter Matters, I didn’t think I could be irreverent or funny (some people would say I still can’t be funny, BOOM TISH!). I thought I had to be “professional” and I thought that meant being serious – all the time.
I’ve since learned that being serious all the time is DULL – for everyone.
That doesn’t mean that my writing fear of not being taken seriously has gone. I’ve come to realise that being ‘on brand’ means writing and sharing information about copywriting and marketing, but it also means showing my personality.
The posts I write with my ‘PHUCKIT’ hat on usually get the best response from people. Because they are REAL. I remind myself of that just before I hit ‘publish’.
The lesson for us both: Don’t let the fear of how a small minority might react stop you from publishing something that might make others bind themselves to your tribe. Haters be haters.
Writing Fear #2: Other copywriters might laugh
I’ve been a copywriter for *ahem* a while now and I know I’ll never stop learning. I’m always picking up copywriting techniques from copywriting I see, from copywriters I know and from copywriting I write. And I’m always trying to improve my editing skills to say more in fewer words.
I am confident in my copywriting skills but that doesn’t stop me worrying that another copywriter will see my work and think it’s rubbish. Especially copywriters I really admire.
We’re all plagued with the fear of inadequacy, and it might just the writing fear I deal with most often.
The lesson for us both: There are always going to be people who know more. Don’t let that stop you writing, and never stop learning.
I read somewhere that critics thought Shakespeare, Vivaldi and Van Gogh were rubbish and their reputations survived.
Writing Fear #3: Calling myself a writer
I don’t call myself a writer. I’m a marketer and a copywriter.
I admire writers greatly; I just don’t put myself in that category. Why? Because I don’t see myself as a ‘proper’ writer. I don’t write poems or plays, and I certainly don’t have a novel in me… although I might just have a business book in here somewhere.
I still haven’t dealt with this one and I’m not sure I have to.
If I really think about it, I might be worried about the expectations that come with being a ‘writer’. Then again, maybe I’m not.
The lesson for us both: Don’t let labels define you or exclude you.
Writing Fear #4: Not having enough time
Blog posts, social media updates, courses, ebooks, email marketing, video tutorials, presentations… oh, and billable copywriting for clients. These are just a small number of things I’ve got on the go at any one time.
My background is marketing and I love marketing. Some days I wish I could be my own fulltime marketer. I beat myself up about the list of blogs I have in progress and ‘someday’ ideas I’ve never actioned. I see other copywriters doing awesome stuff and I think, Oh I should be doing that too – how do they find time to do that?
To make sure this writing fear doesn’t paralyse my copywriting or my marketing, I remind myself that I can do all these things. I just have to eat that elephant one bite at a time and make time do just that.
I also know I have to lower my expectations in order to be kinder to myself. I can’t be a fulltime marketer for my business and the fulltime copywriter and the fulltime everything else AND want more time off to enjoy myself.
The lesson for us both: We all have the same amount of time. You have to ask yourself WHY you’re in business and then prioritise your time accordingly.
Writing Fear #5: That I have a job, not a business
I started Copywrite Matters to ditch 2 hours of commuting and make my life more family friendly. I’m now working harder than I ever did for anyone else! But that’s ok – I’m able to work around my life, and that was the point.
That said, I work IN my business a lot. I know I have created a job for myself and I need to make the next leap to do less and supervise more. To spend my time on more profitable activities and leave the day-to-day stuff alone.
But… that jump is scary. That step makes me feel a bit queasy.
I record a lot of information about how I work. I have a whizzy project management tool and accounting software. I (technically) make time to analyse metrics… I just don’t. Am I being efficient? What about profitable? Are there ways I could be more of everything? I’m sure my reports are telling me where the gold is buried, if only I could read them!
The lesson for us both: Work out what you really want from your business. If you’re happy, that’s ok; but if you want more, you have to make that happen.
Be free, my fears. Be free!
I haven’t written this post to get smoke blown up my bum. I’ve written this post to let you know that no matter how confident someone appears, there is usually a fear cracking the whip somewhere.
I guess it’s how we react to our fear that determines the next step.
Some of these fears are still holding me back. Others, I’m getting better at kicking to the curb while I get on with being awesome (ha! That’s my confident self talking – all my other selves are under the blanket stroking our favourite bear).
I invite you to get your inner-self out from under the desk and tell me your thoughts. Do we cross over? Do you have any other fears you want to set free? How do you overcome them?
The Copy Detective
About the author: Belinda Weaver
Belinda is an seo copywriter and marketing copywriter who confidently walks the line between writing effective copy and creating an engaging brand personality. You don’t have to choose between them! Oh and she’s also The Copy Detective.