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I’d like to introduce you all to a thought that often pops up in my brain these days. Some day it arrives first thing in the morning. Other times, the niggling thought shows up before I can take that first bite of lunch. Perhaps you’ve had it yourself:
“Why did I wait so long to start my blog?”
Regret is annoying as hell. Nobody can change the past, and sitting around feeling bad about things you didn’t do quick enough is a waste of time. It’s too bad guilt trips often defy logic. That’s why people will inevitably find themselves groaning in agony at one point or another over what they could have or should have done.
In my case, it’s knowing that Defend The Pen should have been up and running MONTHS ago. Perhaps by now, I could even be generating all the income I see every other blogger bragging about on social media. So many shiny gold coins…
It’s been a crazy ride getting Defend the Pen up and running. I’m really proud of myself, yet ever so often, I get the “shoulda coulda woulda” blues. These days when that uninvited guest shows up, I take a deep breath and force myself to acknowledge an indisputable fact:
There’s no proof I didn’t start my blog at exactly the right time for me!
That’s usually enough to stop that nagging mental intruder right in its tracks. Feel free to use that mental trick yourself the next time a wave of “why did I wait?” hits. And will you do me a favor? Try to give yourself credit for taking the steps necessary to accomplish your goals. We often get so caught up in regretting the past, we forget to look kindly back on what we achieved in that same window of time!
Notice I didn’t describe the decision to finally launch this blog as happening at “the perfect time.” Instead, I referred to it as potentially happening at “exactly the right time.” I really don’t believe that a “perfect time” actually exists. The closest thing we’ll ever get to it is a completely biased perception given to us via 20/20 hindsight.
Time isn’t perfect; it’s just time.
I was waiting for a “perfect” time to launch Defend The Pen. But the reality is that such conditions would NEVER materialize because there will NEVER be a perfect time to do anything!
As wonderful as this epiphany was, it was really only half my problem. I also slowed down my progress by coming up with a bunch of silly excuses as to why I couldn’t launch Defend The Pen right away:
- I told myself I needed an expensive, custom website (Not true!)
- I told myself I needed pricey web hosting (Not true, too!)
- I was unsure anyone would care what I had to say (Also not true!)
- I wasn’t sure how I’d manage a blog and related social media accounts (Ditto!)
- I didn’t think I’d ever find the time to make it happen (See a pattern here?)
I placed a bunch of mental blocks in the way, telling myself that I needed to satisfy ALL of these conditions to get my blog off the ground. I imagined it would cost many months and hundreds of dollars.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Dilemma #1 – Web hosting
Ultimately, I decided on Dreamhost. My current plan costs me $21.95 per month, but there are even more affordable options available ($7.95 per month!) Once I had a host for Defend The Pen, the next step was to decide on a look.
Dilemma #2 – Themes And Graphics
I lucked into catching it on sale for just $19. The great thing about MyThemeShop is you can easily find great themes available at a discount. In fact, you can get access to all their themes and plugins for just $87! So if you’re worried about super pricey themes, I really suggest checking them out.
As for graphics, I was referred to Canva, an easy peasy drag-and-drop graphic design site. Before Canva, I was prepared to shell out silly money to get customized website and social media graphics. After Canva, I feel like the lovechild of Leonardo Da Vinci and Picasso every single day and I still have all my money. Yay!
So I got graphics, a theme, and a host, and if you’ve got a calculator handy, you know it didn’t cost me $50 to achieve! But still, there were other things holding me back…the kind of issues you can’t make go away no matter how much money you spend or save.
Dilemma #3 – Fear
Ah, fear. Always RIGHT FREAKING THERE to stop you from getting the things you want out of life!
Fear told me that no one would like my site. Or read my articles. It paralyzed me with the scandalous falsehood (kudos if you get the reference!) that I wasn’t worthy of being a blogger. Nevermind the fact I’d written articles that generated hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of comments within a couple of days on other sites.
I let myself believe that it wasn’t anything I did that resulted in those numbers. I imagined I was a fraud and that creating a blog would ultimately prove I was really a hack.
But what outweighed my fears and drove me to make Defend The Pen a reality was my desire to reach out to and help other writers. Especially people feeling all those negative thoughts I struggled with. I wanted to provide a safe space for those coping with frustrations, self-doubt, and writer’s block.
It was no longer about me and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, it was about encouraging others. Thanks to this important shift in thinking, I’m now busily at work on:
- an eBook to help aspiring freelance writers
- a list of positive affirmations for writers
- a review of the best places online to locate freelance writing jobs
- free resume and cover letter templates
There are so many awesome things I look forward to providing through Defend The Pen. It just took moving from a “poor me” mindset to a “help you” mindset to make it happen — and I’m glad it did!
Dilemma #4 – Time Management
I’m currently lucky enough to have a lull going with my freelance writing, allowing me enough time to focus a great deal of time on my blog. However, I already know that this is temporary. I’m about to be VERY busy; when that happens…I definitely won’t have the same amount of time available to writing new blogs and actively promoting Defend The Pen.
I’ve already decided that I intend to devote 6-10 hours total every week for blog writing and promotion. This is a new site, so I’m not trying to do too much right away. A couple of blog posts per week is manageable. Once I get a full workload, I’ll see if I can make adjustments.
The LAST thing I want to do is overwork myself and burn out!
I hope by now that the point of this post was apparent…and that nobody is sitting there thinking I REALLY meant that you should never ever start a blog. (Seriously, I just walked you through all those awesome tools for starting a blog! If you haven’t already, you should start awesoming! Get to awesoming right NOW!)
What I wanted to convey is that the things that hold us back from achieving what we want and then keeps us pinned down by a sense of regret over the past are often cut from the same cloth. These negative feelings serve no real purpose, so we MUST let them go.
Stop waiting for a “perfect time” to make something happen; go make something happen! And don’t regret failing to make something happen at a so-called “perfect time.” There’s really no such thing!