First Post: Overcoming anxiety and getting the ball rolling

Space Shuttle taking off

Here it is, my first post! Writing it wasn’t quite as simple as it looks like. After all, one only gets one chance to get it right… right?

In theory yes. After all, there can be only one First Post unless one would restart the blog over and over again. Also, a common understanding is that once something is published on Internet, it will never disappear. Just like the most embarrassing pictures you once posted in your Facebook profile and you would pay a fortune to get it erased from the Internet.

And then there are all these blogs about blogging that give all kinds of tips for how to, and how not to write first posts. And by the way, they also give all kinds of tips for how to turn a blog into a money generating cash-cow, how to brand, how to set a mission and identify the tribe. Actually, all these tips basically gave me so much anxiety that I simply wouldn’t know how to start.

When it comes to blogs, reality looks a lot different than the theory. This is unfortunate in one way: while I would get my content in front of as many people as possible, I failed miserable with my earlier efforts. What’s more, I find no traces of my earlier abandoned or shut down blogs. They have simply disappeared.

The plus side of this is that in my current blog, nothing is carved in stone. I can change everything afterwards: the blog name, the domain name, the look and feel and also the content. I can even go back and edit the First Post afterwards and nobody will notice.

Realizing this delivered me from this anxiety and infamous writer’s block. If I don’t set a pace for my progress and accept that any progress is better than standing still, I can just set up this website with the general ideas that I have so far. I can just write this First Post with the content and in the style that I like and I think is appropriate for now.

Best practices and other general tips be damned: I can review the existing blog any moment in the future and update things to follow those practices better. What would I lose? In the best case I just have to tweak a bit here and there, while the rest of the blog is already live and delivering value. In the worst case I’ll have to discard and redo existing parts of the blog.

Even if I’d have to discard the entire blog, imagine what I’d have learned. Just like I have learned from my earlier blogging efforts. Failing and learning gives so much value in itself and doing things over and better would be so much faster.

A new idea for blogging (at least for me) is turning it into a game. Currently I consider myself a beginner with a blog consisting of a single post. That is level 0, “blogging wannabee.” For level 1, “blogging novice,” I set the goal of having 5 posts published – quality posts of course. I won’t set any goals regarding page views yet. Currently I can’t even measure the number of page views yet. Let’s assume that I’ll give myself a week to get there.

Then for level 2, “blogging apprentice,” I might set a goal of a number of page views, maybe 10 a week? I’ll have to find a way to measure the number of page views. I’d have to do some basic search engine optimisation (SEO). And if I’ll write about what I’ll find, I might easily have 10 more posts. How much time would I need for realising this level?

What shall we do for level 3, “junior blogger?” 50 posts, add at least one topic besides blogging? Get 100 page views a week? Generate $10 of income? How many more levels would I need to consider myself a “blogging wizard”? How many posts, how many visitors, how many email subscribers, how many other social media channels, what income can I expect?

I like the idea of gamifying, setting relatively small goals for each level and giving myself a mental reward as soon as a level is accomplished. I’ll celebrate with you once I have completed a level, share the lessons learned and define the next level.

If you are setting up your own blog, let me know what goals you’ll set, at what level you are. Maybe we could introduce some kind of competition. But let’s not forget to share experiences to help each other to the next level as well.

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