Blogging to Slay Impostor Syndrome

Earlier this year, as I was finishing up the online classes for UCSD Extension’s copyediting certificate, I knew I needed to launch my copyediting website if I wanted to get more clients. I also knew that blogs can drive traffic to a website.

But I was afraid to start one. What if people didn’t like it? What if someone criticized something I said? What if I made a mistake?

What if they found out I’m a fraud?

UCSD Extension offered an elective called Digital Journalism: Self-Editing and Publishing for the Web.) The catalog promised that at the end, I would have a website and a portfolio. The class would make me start a website. So I signed up.

I named my copyediting website www.ogrammar.com because it’s a play on words from H. L. Chace’s “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.” My family has quoted this story for years, and O Grammar seemed like a memorable business name.

For the journalism class, I wrote a 500-word article about how a retired accountant and his son got arrested demonstrating at the U.S. Capitol.

1-person-1-vote-sgn-cropped

I’m proud of the story, and I’ve shown it to immediate family and close friends. But I haven’t put a link to it on Facebook. Although Jessica is right that the Internet is forever, my fear of being judged imperfect has kept me from exposing my work to a wider audience. There’s got to be a happy medium!

It’s funny that Molly mentioned food bloggers and their interminable stories. I wrote a recipe for coconut yogurt, but I didn’t post it, for two reasons:

  1. Impostor syndrome.
  2. What does coconut yogurt have to do with grammar?

But a few days ago, a friend asked how I make coconut yogurt. She inspired me to post my recipe. (Molly, you’ll be happy that I learned how to let the reader skip the backstory!)

I loved Alex Reid’s point in “Why Blog? Searching for Writing on the Web,” that “the regular writing practice of blogging will help you discover some intrinsic motivation for writing.”

I’ve found that the more I blog, the less I’m afraid of failing at writing. And as Reid says, writing becomes its own reward. It is overpowering the fear of failure.

And maybe if I keep blogging long enough, I’ll even figure out what yogurt has to do with grammar.

Posted on September 16, 2016, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I too am afflicted with impostor syndrome. It often feels like any day now they’ll realize they hired a fraud and will kick me to the curb. It hasn’t happened yet, though, and I tend to take comfort in that. I find that the more I do something, the longer I am in a job, it does start to feel like they didn’t make a mistake, after all–like maybe I do belong there after all. Just like any pursuit, confidence comes with time and practice.

    When it comes to blogging, there seem to be two major views: 1) It’s your blog, so blog about whatever you want. 2) Pick a topic and stick with it. Whichever way you decide to go, just remember that everything you put in your blog is part of your brand–you never want to hurt your brand.

    I personally prefer the blog-what-you-want approach because I’ve never been interested in building readership. Plus I get burned out easily when forced to stick with one topic. In your case, it could illustrate the myriad topics you’ve edited content in. It could be the “show” to your “tell” on your home page: “…medicine, law, current events, business, politics, entertainment, science, nature, and cooking.” What better way to show you understand these subjects than to write about them?

    • Thank you, Jessica! It’s helpful to think that I’m showing my range as an editor. And I’m glad I’m not the only one with impostor syndrome.

      I just realized I didn’t include sermons and fishing in the list. That’s probably for the best.

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