Overcoming Publish Anxiety

Guest post by Brandon Freund

You know what it feels like.  You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect post for your blog and you go to push that little blue button and wham-o!  Fear hits you like a ton of bricks. 

You run and hide in the corner while crying and possibly wetting yourself.  Well, maybe you don’t suffer from it as badly as I do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a few things I’ve learned to overcome that publish anxiety.

Anxiety (noun) – Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.

The first thing to understand is why we suffer from publish anxiety.  Luckily, it’s not very depressing.  The reasons behind these emotions stem from our desire to have our content go over well with our readers.  We want them to like it.  Maybe we want it to get approved as a guest post.  Maybe our income depends on it.  We all know our blogs thrive on brilliant content.  No wonder we feel anxious!

Causes and Treatment Options

Blog Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

The sneakiest of all the underlying causes of publish anxiety!  These careless mistakes at their best can make us feel dumb and at their worst can result in being flamed by trolls.

Luckily there are some treatment options available.  First, use a browser that can spell check while you type – like Firefox or Chrome.  On top of this, add to it the spell check options in most WordPress post editors and even run a copy through a word processing program.  These can pick up the big spelling mistakes and many grammar errors now too.

To catch the smaller errors you can read your post out loud.  Also, try reading it one word at a time backwards.  You’ll find typos-a-plenty that way.  If you want to go the extra mile, have someone else proofread your post as well.

Is My Content Good Enough-itis?

The most common symptom of honest bloggers.  We genuinely want people to like our content.  So how do we stop over analyzing our quality and accept our writing as good enough?  First we have to trust that we’ve learned what it takes to write great content.  If you aren’t sure you know enough, check out these “Secrets to Create That Must Read Blog Post” or “5 Tips for Writing a Post People will Read.  You can also read these great articles on writing epically and conquering fear  for inspiration.

Know that your content probably won’t be “good enough” on your first try.  Even the pros struggle to make their content better.  That’s how they became the pros!  All you need to overcome this symptom of publish anxiety is to have the mindset for constant improvement.  Remember, in blogging you always have a second chance.  If something doesn’t go over as well as you’d hoped, only you can keep yourself from trying again.  Ask for feedback wherever you can.  Never forget that you have something important to say! 

The Prognosis

Experiencing a degree of publish anxiety is perfectly normal.  As you experience successes, your confidence will grow and you won’t suffer as often.  Feeling nervous about these things is healthy!  It means that you care about your work and that you genuinely want it to influence people. It will keep you from publishing garbage.  

There are things you can do to speed up the recovery process.  Write as often as possible!  Seek out challenges that push you out of your comfort zone, like Kiesha’s “Surviving the Blog” contest.  And most of all, never give up.  Persistence is the cure to publish anxiety and it’s within reach for you too!

Brandon runs Big Dogs Internet Marketing - a company helping small businesses build an affordable and effective online presence. He enjoys providing free internet marketing advice though the Big Dogs blog to help the struggling non-marketer take advantage of great online marketing opportunities.

Comments

  1. My philosophy might be funny but i like to ahead with the ideas i have and write and publish them. if it is good, your readers will tell and if it is bad, then also readers will tell. so there should be no anxiety

  2. This’s Awesome

  3. Brandon,

    Those are good tips.

    I actually write my blog’s in Word and therefore do not have to worry about spell checking and simple grammar syntax issues. But every time I’m going through my “final” review before posting, I end up tweaking something…and if I reviewed it again, would tweak something else. It could go on forever!

    However, as a guitar player, one of life’s realities is that even though we might know we didn’t play the piece perfectly, the audience does not.

    Thanks!

    • Excellent comparison to music. It’s true, we are much more critical of ourselves than others most of the time. I get caught in that tweaking cycle too. But with practice you learn to just let go. Thanks for reading!

  4. It’s something absolutely normal to be anxious about publishing articles, I am too. I remember back in the time when I had my personal blog, I was anxious every single day – is my content good enough? I want to treat a subject but I want to do it good, not waste a good subject by writing a low-quality article, so I tried really hard, I tried my best.

    • That’s all you can do, and learn as you go. There really is no rule for content that is “good enough”, you just have to write and learn what your audience responds to best. Thanks for the comments!

  5. Okay, Brandon, this is a great post – honest and something I think most people can relate to. Now, I’m only going to admit this once – and then I’m going to swear I never said it. In all my years as a writer (well over 30, really), I have never gotten over that slightly queasy feeling that comes with hitting Send, Submit, Publish, or sticking the envelope into the mailbox to submit a manuscript to a publisher.

    I don’t mind the red pen. I really don’t. What’s scarier than that? Silence. Trust me – not knowing how your post was received is always worse.

    I worked as contributing editor on a print magazine, years ago, and learned that there are a couple of things more important than absolute perfection in prose. It’s the same as that old TQM definition of quality: Meets the customer’s (reader’s) reasonable expectations (for content) on time (preferably not turned in to the editor at the 11th hour, and after the thing goes to print, you might as well just forget it and leave town) and within budget (back then, I got forty cents a word – up to 400 words – any more than that, and they were not only freebies, but they’d be cut ruthlessly by the managing editor). Before you say it, Brandon, yes – I gave away a LOT of free words. But it’s always easier to cut than to pad.

    For the record, I’ve enjoyed all your posts. I think you hit the nail on the head: “Feeling nervous about these things is healthy! It means that you care about your work and that you genuinely want it to influence people. It will keep you from publishing garbage.” Once you can learn to feel nervous but recognize that your work is good enough, and make yourself submit it, you’ve got the battle as licked as you’re going to get it. If you ever lose that anxiety completely, you might start to get arrogant and publish crap.

    • Spoken like a true professional! I agree, though, silence is terrible. Especially when you want to be writing great things, and you’re more than willing to change but nobody gives you an ounce of feedback. I think that’s a hard place to be for many new bloggers too. I really believe it’s that nervous feeling that keeps us striving for excellence. Thanks for the comments!

      • What I’ve figured out (but have to keep reminding myself of) is that sometimes you have to come right out and ask – sometimes, more than once. People are as hesitant to give feedback as we are to put it out there and be met with silence. They’re often intimidated and afraid their feedback won’t be correct or useful or helpful, and that THEY will look silly.

        • Man, we’re all human aren’t we? Funny how both the writer and the editor can feel the same way. Working with humans can be great and incredibly frustrating at the same time. You’re right though, asking for it can remove those silly barriers. I often tell people reading my work to send me any kind of feedback that pops into their head. I remind them I need it and it won’t hurt our friendship :) I tend to get better results that way!

  6. I write all different types of products (grants, peer reviewed journal article, blog, website), and I have to say that I feel this more with blog posts than anything. Occasionally I feel this way about a journal article, but there are so many processes to go through before it gets published that I feel someone will catch mistakes (the review of 12 authors plus 3 peer reviewers plus a journal editor plus a copy editor usually eliminates a lot of errors!).

    • Funny that you mention that. Blogging is a very personal form of writing. It seems to remove all barriers between you and the reader. The only solution is practice (or to hire a bunch of editors for your blog posts!). Thanks for reading!

  7. I use Firefox which i think lets me know whenever i misspell something which is definitely helpful when typing up blog articles.

    I’ve also learned that the more you blog / practice writing, the better your content gets. I am still a beginner and have made a lot of progress in the last year or so.

  8. Since the time of my high school literary gazette, this is always my weakness, I am always editing and going through with what I write until everything seems to hazy for me. LOL Anyway, when I write articles though it is not for business, I have my own blog, just for expressing my being a stay at home mom. I do my writing in Microsoft words before publishing it,though I sometimes ask my English teacher friend to edit my work for me.

    • It’s great to have a friend to look over your work before it goes live. It helps to end the endless cycle of reviewing and editing! Sometimes we just have to have the courage to let go :) Thanks for reading!

  9. Hello Brandon. Let me tell you, from when I started blogging way up untill VERY recently, I didn’t pay much attention to grammar and spelling (not consciously – of course). But it was untill a reader I didn’t know left a comment on a prominenet site I guest posted on and commented on speeling and grammar oversights. He told me I will ruin my reputation for this, and truth be told, that wasn’t the first time it has happened. It happened soemtime long ago, early in my blogging career. Now, I carefully edit even my comments, because I realize that it is your professional career that could be at stake.

    So, one should never be constrained to go out and publish seomtjhing, but make triple sure the content is great and of a good standard – then you shouldn’t have any problem at all.

  10. Wow, Brandon. I think you’re touching on a VERY sensitive nerve here. I’ve been blogging a long time, and you’re right, there is a certain confidence with becoming seasoned at blogging. But I think this only happens when you have gotten into a routine, know what, where, when and how, and you trust yourself. I think that is pretty important, because if you trust yourself that anxiety goes away.

    • Trusting yourself is the key isn’t it? I think that just comes with time and you see people who actually respond to your work. Then slowly you learn what works and what doesn’t and you gain confidence to push the limits a bit more. As long as you maintain a healthy dose of that anxiety to balance the rush of success :) Thanks for the comment!

  11. I’ve also learned that the more you blog / practice writing, the better your content gets. I am still a beginner and have made a lot of progress in the last year or so.

  12. Only by doing this can be overcome :) So we write and learn and fail and wirte and learn :)

  13. I’ve often found that when I have a post that I think is awesome, it gets little or no fanfare. When I have one that I’m not very excited about, people seem to love it. I guess there is no sense in trying to predict what people will like. Just gotta do your thing…

  14. I was going to ask if it ever gets any easier, as time goes on to deal with the anxiety or if it’s always going to be that way. but then you said write as often as possible, which makes sense. I’m trying to think of it like practicing for a sport or a marathon or something, the more often you ‘practice’ the better ‘shape’ you get in and the easier it gets…does that sound kind of right? Lol.

  15. Publishing stressful, sometimes all you can do is hope for the best.

  16. I agree with Larry, there is no way to predict what readers will like. It is best just to do your own thing. Your advice to write as often as possible is right on. I have found that the more I write, the less I worry when I do “hit that blue button.”

  17. Practice Makes The Man Perfect – I think by practicing we can easily get rid of this.

  18. I remember posting my first post and I spent several days trying to re-read and re-write every moment of it as I was so insecure about it. Then things moved on and I became more confident and I don’t draft many times, but I continue to make a plan for the post as it helps me to keep my ideas in a kind of order. We have too many tools to check our spelling, but the style you choose yourself and it should correspond to the visitors of the blog you are writing to.
    The more you write the more confident you feel about it.

  19. malunggay56 says:

    I actually write my blog’s in Word and therefore do not have to worry about spell checking and simple grammar syntax issues. | :P

  20. Excellent post! Well-done post that covers the highlights; you say “in no particular order,” but your first point,
    “scalabilty,” may be the most important I always say that to keep waiting for inspiration is a way to fool ourselves and
    just not do the job! The more you practice, the more you get in touch with whatever turns you on, more often this muse we
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  21. You need to conquer this indication of publish anxiety is to have the angst to stability the sprint of achievement.Thank you for giving this out.

  22. sandraw2580 says:

    What a really great post! I did have that episode when I first started blogging! But for me it was easy to push that publish button, the anxiety comes the next day when I see notice that there are comments waiting for approval. Up till now I still have that feeling, but it’s getting milder by the time.

  23. Excellent article!It’s really hard to overcome anxiety specially when all you want is the best for your article.I suggest you give it all to God.Thank you for posting.

  24. We really can’t avoid anxiety especially if we are putting a lot of efforts to our write ups. It’s good in a way that you’re concern to your article if readers will like it or not. However, we really can’t tell what readers would like to hear. It’s advisable just to write what’s on your mind and be creative. Also, make sure that you’re providing your readers valuable information in whatever topic you are writing about.

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