Can you push through self-doubt? Two women who did just that.
Oh my word I've seen some horrible comments on the Internet in the past few months. Most of it directed towards women who are creating an entrepreneurial business for themselves in this new online world.
There are YouTube videos bashing original YouTubers such as Zoe Sugg. ('Hate' videos do really well in the YouTube algorithm.) There are snide comments made about a woman who has gone viral on Instagram for her cleaning stories. Then there are hundreds of tweets about a young online entrepreneur whose offence was to create an 'unrealistic' Instagram picture. It even made the mainstream media.
It’s rough out there. In fact, it can be absolutely vicious.
Social media has been great in allowing people to have opinions. Yet the downside is - everyone has an opinion about everyone else. Quite possibly including the work you put out there.
So why would anyone want to create and write online?
Because we want to. Need to.
I wrote the above in a newsletter a few weeks ago. And I became fascinated by the women (and men) who contacted me and, despite feeling utterly terrified, decided to launch their creative projects anyway.
During September, if you don’t already know, I launched a Patreon account for my creativity essays, a weekly writing vlog on IGTV and a Book Club on Instagram. Projects I’d wanted to do for ages but was too scared.
What finally gave me the impetuous? I think it was a mixture of things. My age, I’m in my early forties, has brought me confidence, my children are older and I feel like I have the headspace, plus I just feel I have a do or die mentality. Sod it, I think. This is something I want to do.
But this post isn’t about me. I want to share the stories of two other women who were completely and utterly terrified of sending their creative projects live. But did it anyway.
What drove them?
First, let me introduce you to Katie Morwenna. Katie is an accomplished woman. She is a senior marketing manager at Quercus Books. Her job is to get the creative work of authors to be seen by the world. Yet she was absolutely terrified when it came to putting her own work out there. Despite this she has just launched her own business called, A Life of Words, where she helps authors with their online presence.
In Katie’s head she had a very loud voice saying: ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about’. Despite the fact she’d been doing this as her day job for over ten years. This project, helping authors with their social media strategies, was something Katie had wanted to do for ages. Self-doubt stopped her for some time until her personal circumstances changed at home and she was forced into overcoming her anxieties.
So, with shaking hands, she launched her business helping authors.
And already she’s achieved more clients than she’d anticipated.
So what helped Katie go from thinking about it, to creating it then to launching it?
The WOOP visualisation method. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. It’s a mental strategy you can use to help “find and fulfil your wishes’.
Giving her self-doubt a name and speaking to her like a well-meaning but annoying cousin (a Brene Brown trick).
Having her hand forced by a tough financial situation. She says, “ Ray Dodd talks about that feeling when you’ve had enough and are so fed up of your circumstances…that it forces you to take action.” She found support in Ray Dodd’s free Facebook group. Describing it as an 'amazing resource for anyone who wants to explore what is holding them back.’
Then we have Dianne who goes by the author name of J. Dianne Dotson. Dianne is a science fiction and fantasy writer who has self-published Heliopause : The Questrison Saga: Book One in May this year. Dianne’s anxiety was twofold. One - getting the novel published and the financial commitment involved (beta readers, professional editing, professional cover and so on). And two, she knew she’d have to catapult herself into the necessary self-promotion which she says, ‘has been fraught with stress, imposter syndrome and general anxiety about being so public’.
But she did it. She’s now done five book signings which although terrified her, also delighted her. (They’re now her favourite thing to do!)
What helped Dianne overcome the anxiety is having laser focus. She wanted to show her children and fellow authors it was all possible and was fully committed to her project. When it came to the book signings she had friends who’d talk her through it and tell her what great value the signings would be.
Dianne says: ‘Stay focused on YOUR vision, and be open to feedback and your friends. You’ll get there no matter what’.
For both these women (and for me) being scared is when the magic happens. We’ve survived. So can you.