Bryony Doran discusses why she is so resistant to posting a blog, including procrastination, writer's block and dyslexia.
Each website I have had, I have determined that I will ‘blog’. I am now on my third website and could probably count on both hands the number of blogs I have actually posted. Note that word, posted! I have in truth written first drafts or have noted ideas for loads of blogs, sixty-three in total.
Funnily enough, I also have the same problem when it comes to posting a letter. I’ll write a letter then leave it by the door for ages, putting off posting it. Usually, after a few days, I’ll find that it’s gone – some kind person has taken pity on me, or got fed up with seeing it and has posted it.
Do I mind? Do I care? No, I am just relieved to see that it’s gone, that I haven’t had to be the one who had to make the decision of actually posting it into the void of the post box, never to be retrieved.
I think the point of not being able to retrieve something once posted maybe a huge part of the problem – that teetering on the edge of not knowing whether it is good enough to send out into the world. I know this may all sound a bit dramatic – for Christ’s sake, it’s only a blog – but I have to tell you that the fear of taking that final leap is palpable.
So how do I start to overcome my fear, my resistance to posting my blogs? Hopefully, I now have the answer: Katie, the designer and builder of my amazing new website, is going to act like the mystery letter-posting person and post my blogs for me.
So this morning I determined to finish a blog, but before I could write it I had to get past myself and all my diversionary tactics. I just stopped myself short of looking at my emails, thanks to the advice of Tim Ferris, one of my heroes and author of ‘The 4hour Work Week’:
· “Batch” email at set times.
· Have an email-checking schedule and do not deviate.
· This gives you breathing room to focus on pre-defined to-dos instead of responding to manufactured emergencies and ending the day with nothing to show for it.
My take on his advice is to only look at my emails once I have completed what I determined to achieve that day.
I opened my blog folder on my computer and looked for a blog that I knew had been through several drafts. At this point the fear kicked in – that strange fizzy, tingly business in my armpits and belly. I again had to remind myself – come on Bryony – you promised but then I thought, I know I’ll get a cup of tea and then start – another diversionary tactic. But no, I had to get into it straight away. I had promised myself, but more than that – I had promised Katie. So I determined to re-write the blog and then I would deserve my cup of tea.
But where to start? I had promised Katie so I had to complete a blog ready to post.
Tim Urban, in his excellent Ted Talk on how he overcame procrastination, which has had millions of hits, states that one of the key components to overcoming procrastination, is to break things down into manageable tasks.
“Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window -- and encourages us to think harder about what we're really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.”
He is so right about rabbit-holing (to get stuck on an endless internet search or no particular importance) and anyone who has written a blog will know that you have to do lots of research.
So I’d taken on board Tim Ferris’s advice of not looking at my emails and Tim Urban’s advice of not going rabbit-holing and also what he says in his Ted Talk about breaking the task down into smaller increments so that it is manageable.
I looked at the blog I had up on the screen. Where was I going to start? How was I going to polish it so that I felt happy sending it out there? Should I do more research? No. I had to get a blog finished. The deadline was fast approaching and I had promised Katie so I would have to deliver.
I felt so overwhelmed. But what if I started afresh and broke the tasks down into smaller increments? I could close down the blog I had open and start with a blank page.
I picked up a pen and my notebook and began to write –
Why am I so resistant to posting a blog?
Does anyone else out there suffer this same problem?
How do you overcome fear and procrastination? Tag me (@bryonydoran) and join the conversation.
If you would like to learn more about how to overcome procrastination here are some useful links:
A Ted Talk on procrastination by Tim Urban.
Tim Ferriss (My Guru) talking to Tim Urban on procrastination.