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Jill Allison Bryan : Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad, Blog?

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad, Blog?

By Jill Allison Bryan

Apparently…I am, or at least, I was. How else to explain the fact that "write new blog entry" languished unattended to on my daily "to-do" list for the past couple of weeks. Each evening, I felt a pang of guilt when I realized I needed to transfer "write new blog entry" onto my next day's to-do list. Each morning, I read my day-timer and thought, "Okay, come on now. Get with it. Today you will write it." Then I proceed to blow myself off completely. (Don't you hate it when you do that?)

Here's the crazy part — I actually love writing and updating my blog gives me an excellent opportunity to do just that. It also keeps me connected with my clients and friends and introduces me to potential clients and friends. This is a good thing. Not to mention that this is so much more enjoyable than the laundry I could be doing right now. So, what gives? How did I come to finally be sitting here finally typing away at my computer today?

I used a few Kaizen-Muse tools from my own Creative Oasis Coaching practice. As I sat here berating myself this morning for still managing to not have written an entry, I had the thought — "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad, Blog?" — and several things happened. First, I was able to find the humor in my situation (it suddenly seemed silly to be afraid to write a blog entry). Also, I had given my "issue" a name. Another great trick in creativity coaching is to give problems or projects that you tend to put off a special name. It doesn't have to be humorous, but it helps. It kind of puts your problems in their place. I highly recommend it. Some examples might be — "The Solvable Case of the Missing Keys", "The Thrilling Conclusion of Our 2008 Tax Return", or "The Remarkable Story of How There Came to be Room to Park an Actual Car in our Garage."

So once I came up with the name, "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad, Blog?" and was able to see the humor in it, I smiled and that smile took away a little of the fear that was blocking me. Fear of what? Perhaps the fear that I wouldn't have anything particularly entertaining or illuminating to say. Maybe the fear that someone else had already said anything I might have to say — and said it better at that. If there's one thing I've learned about fear, it's that it breeds excuses and procrastination faster than a bunch of randy rabbits. It doesn't even have to be a particularly big fear. Believe me, there was no one threatening to do bodily harm to me or my loved ones if my blog wasn't witty or useful. I was heaping that on myself.

When I realized that these nagging little fears were causing me to procrastinate, I was able to use comebacks to deflate them and get on with the business of writing. "So what?!?! I'll do it anyway!" "Too bad…so sad…I'm writing whatever I want and you can't stop me." "You're not the boss of me!"

Hey, no one said that comebacks are shining examples of maturity. In fact, they're the perfect way to utilize the inner juvenile brat in us all. A comeback is simply a pithy little comment that you say aloud, write down or think to yourself when the little voices in your head (oh come on — we all have them) try to tell you that it's all been done before, you're not good enough or smart enough, or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… Stuart Smalley had the right idea when he swung around, looked into the mirror and told himself "I'm good enough, and smart enough and gosh darn-it, people like me."

So, the next time something you really want to do keeps winding up at the bottom of your to-do list, take a moment to try these creative techniques to propel it to the top:

  • Give your project or problem a name.
  • Come up with a comeback for the pesky voices saying you can't or shouldn't do what you want to do and then — say it — write it — believe it!
  • Try to find the humor in it — or at least cut yourself some major slack — and just do the best you can.
  • Take that first small step and see where it leads. Often getting started is the hardest part, and once you actually begin — you're off and running.

Armed with a comical mental mash-up of a thoroughly boozy Liz Taylor spewing venomous lines at Richard Burton, cartoon pigs huddled together in a house of straw, and me sitting at my laptop waiting for inspiration to strike, I think I can safely say that I've conquered my fear of the "big, bad, blog" — at least for today.

Be sure to check out my February 4th Blog Thoughts entry — which will feature an interview with Jill Badonsky about her latest book, "The Awe-manac — A Daily Dose of Wonder." •

© 2009 Jill Allison Bryan. All rights reserved.

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2/5/09