Do you lack creative confidence? Are you fed up of being afraid?
I wrote a long caption on one of my Instagram posts last week. I had no idea I was going to write it, I thought I was going to write something else entirely. But it was obviously something I was thinking about; it was hovering there on the edges of my consciousness and spilled out when I was least expecting it.
It centres around the fact I still cannot get over that I am now happy with my face being in my YouTube videos. This has been ten years of slow progress with me getting braver and braver…but it is only in the last couple of years I’ve shrugged off most of the negative voices and just gone ahead and put myself out there.
I write blog posts and share them with my audience on Instagram. I write essays and post them on Patreon where people pay to read my words (only $1 but still) about creative confidence. And I film myself talking to camera and I upload it to YouTube.
This has not happened overnight. In fact for the first eight years of writing a blog online you’d be hard pressed to find a photograph of me. But I’ve become braver. Painfully slowly whilst people all around me seem to be uber confident and flying high.
I’ve spoken on podcasts, I’ve put a full face photo of myself on my blog, I’ve created a vlog on IGTV and then moved over to YouTube - and yes, sometimes my hair looks a mess and I have bags under my eyes - but quite frankly who cares?
I’ve faced down worries that someone from my real life might find out what I do, tried to think how I’d explain my job, what to say if they ask what I earn (I mean, really?!) or what I would say if they ask: what sort of writing do you do - have you had anything published?
But one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, the BIGGEST hurdle I had to overcome, was sharing my writing.
If you’ve come across me recently and started following me via YouTube or Instagram you might not think that I used to be terrified of telling people that I’d written a blog post.
Well, I was.
Utterly, utterly terrified.
I would tap away at my keyboard writing words then hover over the publish button with my mouse for ages, my heart thudding in my ears.
I wasn’t writing anything controversial or any deep secrets. But writing a blog then was, and still is, my way of opening up. Even if I was just writing about the trees I planted I was sharing something about myself, my very private self I might add, with a load of strangers on the Internet.
And the way the Internet has evolved people think they have a right to comment. You see strangers judging celebrities or other writers or online creatives with larger followings. They twist their words. Take umbridge at something that wasn’t supposed to cause offence. Say horrible things. Write horrible things.
You see it. I see it.
And you think people are going to say stuff to you, too.
This fear of being judged by your writing, this fear that someone from your real life might discover you or make a comment to you about it at school pick-up time, or perhaps a relative might mock you…these fears are not just in your head.
They’re in everyone’s.
I know some people who are too nervous to link their blog to their Instagram account. I know some people who are too scared to write captions on their Instagram photos because they are too scared to show people how they write. I know some people who don’t call themselves writers out loud despite the fact they write thousands of words a month on their blogs. I know some people who will not tell a soul when they’ve written a blog post. Or, if they do, they share it once then never mention it again.
And I know some people who daren’t write a blog even though they’re longing to. (Same for starting a YouTube channel by the way.)
And I want to help you. All of you!
Because I’ve been there, done that, and I’ve come through the other side. And it is liberating. It is empowering.
Don’t get me wrong. I still procrastinate. I still get scared. I still make up scenarios in my head where people judge me or troll me about my work.
But I am creating and writing anyway.
Because, quite frankly, I am so fed up of being worried. Of being nervous.
I am fed up of being afraid.
Are you fed up of being afraid, too? If so I am here, rooting for you and waving my pom-poms in the following way:
My Facebook page is now going to focus on online writing and creativity. I want to share tips on productivity, writing, Instagram - and yes, tips and articles about being braver online.
I’ve created a private Facebook group for fellow online writers and creatives. We limit the group to around 50 members and share our work, our worries, our ups and downs and encourage our fellow group members.
I’ve created a hashtag on Instagram. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions in my stories but I’m going with Victoria Connelly’s suggestion #tobravelyshare. When you’re sharing a blog post or a video do use this hashtag so we can come and read, come and watch and basically support you - so you can beat your lack of creative confidence or at least make it quieter.
And I also have a couple of paid options. No pressure here but I’m mentioning them in case it’ll help anyone…
I referred to my Patreon essays above. These essays are all about aspects of my creative confidence and how I gradually emerged from being a scaredy cat to what I’m doing now. The essays are for Patrons and you can become one from $1 per essay (and I aim to write one essay of between 3000-4000 words per month). You can read an excerpt of my first essay: How Chickens Gave me Creative Confidence in this blog post.
The second way I can help is through my email support for online creatives. I can also do Skype calls and so on but I know from experience that for some of you your creative confidence is so low you’d rather do it via email than by talking. Two emails costs £20 a month and you can do it for a one off month or on a rolling basis. I can help you with any aspect of your online creativity from practical help to holding your hand help.