One question I have consistently gotten over the past two years goes something like this:
I want to blog. But where/how do I start?
This question is bigger than blogging. It applies to any new thing you want to do– anything you want to launch, anything you want to say to the world. A freelance career. Traveling for the first time. Launching a new business. Anything at all that you haven’t done before. Anything that’s a little scary and a lot unknown.
When I started this blog two years ago, I was a 25-year-old about to enter into her first full-time office job, trying to shift an existential quarter-life crisis into a quarter-life revelation. I had spent the past three years living out of a backpack guiding adventure trips. It sounds glamorous, but I was really hard on myself for not having a “real job” and not knowing what I was going to “do” with my life, as if it was that simple.
I started this blog from parent’s couch over Christmas. My first few posts aren’t my best work, but I haven’t changed them. Because it takes guts to put yourself out there, and looking back, I’m proud of 25-year-old me. Because there was a time when this felt really awkward. There was a time when I had to stretch myself to do something that feels easy now. If you want to start your thing, whatever it is, you will need to stretch yourself too.
It’s uncomfortable, I promise. It feels weird. You’ll doubt yourself, you’ll feel anxious, you’ll invent all the things people are saying about you. But don’t worry, nobody gives a real shit about your struggle. The only thing most people see is courage, and that is remarkable.
Just starting your thing is enough to inspire someone. Acquaintances from high school will take interest; they’ll watch your come-up from afar and wish they had the guts to do their thing too. And remember that successful people fail. We fail hard. We get up. Over and over again. You will too.
And we commend successful people for failure because being publicly real and honest is hard. Taking risks is hard when you have the option to be comfortable. But it’s way worse to have to answer to that part of you that knows what you truly want to put into this world– to have to tell that part of you that you chose comfort, instead of following your truth, is heartbreaking.
I want to tell you exactly how to do the thing. But I can’t. Because I don’t have that answer, only you do.
And it’s not really important how you do the thing, it’s just important that you do it.
The most important aspect of starting, is that you start. Begin with your whole heart and get truly invested. Investment leads to progress and failure, in bigger amounts than you can imagine. Both offer invaluable learning.
Do the thing.
Feature photo by Garrett King.
Please ignore this text box - Recoleta Font
Absolutely! I think another tip for people wanting to start a blog is don’t copy everyone else! So many blogs look the same and have the same feel.
I hear ya Rachel. Generally I believe that you HAVE to be original to succeed – and you’ll notice it pretty quickly if someone isn’t being authentic. Anyone who copies you is just trying to find their own path, but doesn’t really know how to make it unique just yet. My hope is that everyone finds their own voice!
Speaking to my soul right now. Just got laid off from my job. It’s the scariest, most liberating feeling ever. Time to do the damn thing.
Callie! WOW – sounds like somethin’ else is pursuing you harder than you thought! Time to do it. xo
Thanks for writing this Erin. I just started my blog a couple of months ago and it has been very fulfilling but also very scary at the same time. I wouldn’t consider myself the “best” writer, but one of the many reasons I wanted to blog was to improve my writing skills.
You are one of the main influencers that really inspired me to start. So thank you! 🙂
Hey Karleen! Congrats on your blog. The best way to improve at anything is actually doing it! Well done!
I’m definitely at the stage where it feels really really awkward to write a blogpost and it’s freaking scary too. So this post really hit home, thank you for always encouraging and inspiring me!
Thanks Sophie! Glad you found it helpful, and congrats on your blog. xo
Love this! So simple too – “Do the thing”. There are so many things that can be said about jumping into unknown territory and persevering when you are doubting yourself every step of the way. That is what I feel like still about my blogging journey, but each day I keep at it, I get better. It just takes, well, doing it!
Love that Jessie. Yep – if you’re not moving, you can’t learn!
So simple, so hard. Ill let you know how it goes…:)
Thanks David 🙂
Yes, yes, yes. All my life I wanted to be a writer. In college, my boyfriend told me it was a doomed profession and to do something else–and I did. For the next decade, I focused on law, and that’s still what I do. But I wrote the whole time, and now I have lots of freelance articles under my belt and a book deal. And a divorce, which gave me those things, but that’s another story. So yes, do the thing, because ten years later, you will wish you had. (And if, like me, you are facing that because it is 10 years later right now, DO THE THING. It’s not too late.)
Erin and Lynn, I agree with both of you. When you respect someone and their work ( Erin ) it is a sign that the path you want is there and waiting. Within us all is the voice pleading with us to do what we want, to follow our passion. Sometimes outside voices still that pursuit for a time ( Lynn ). Those of us lucky, smart and passionate enough to seek, get a chance. Erin it must be gratifying to do what you do, sure the B.S. sneaks in but you help change lives. Yes you do, what an accomplishment! Lynn, I hope sharing your thoughts and feelings will be as rewarding as you want. I look forward to reading you. Thank both of you for what you do ( Erin ) and will do ( Lynn ). Michael
Thank you Michael! That voice pleading with us is so real, it’s so important to listen to it.
I love this part of your story, Lynn. SO important and crazy how our passions chase us relentlessly even when we try to avoid them!
“It’s uncomfortable, I promise. It feels weird. You’ll doubt yourself, you’ll feel anxious, you’ll invent all the things people are saying about you. But don’t worry, nobody gives a real shit about your struggle. The only thing most people see is courage, and that is remarkable.”
Yes! That’s the smack-you-in-the-jaw reality of which we all need to keep hearing.
Keep up all the great work, you’re a fantastic source of inspiration!
Thanks so much, Drew! Much appreciated.
I feel like this was speaking directly to me. Thanks Erin! Your words are good for my soul.
Always. Much love Kennedy!
I just wanted to say “thanks” for always inspiring me, I think your blog is actually what pushed me that final last bit to just “do it” – to start my own, am just trying to find my voice and whenever I feel insecure, I always turn to your blog for courage.
Thanks for being you!
Ulla, that is amazing! Congratulations! Let me tell ya, I feel insecure all the time. I just have a better relationship with my insecurity now. Thanks so much and my work is always here for you! 🙂
This post (and others in your “inspiration” category) gave me the motivation I needed to apply for my dream job. As you said, “Taking risks is hard when you have the option to be comfortable,” but I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t try. Thank you. 🙂
Meredith, thanks so much for sharing – that’s amazing! Congratulations.
I just wanted to say “thanks” for always inspiring me, I’m an yoga trainer and I have just set up my yoga blog. That is interesting. 🙂
Hi Marsha! Thank you 🙂 Congrats on your blog!
Because of you and others like you, I have found the courage to finally follow my dreams. I am 39 next month and have SEVEN distinct, complete careers under my belt…and none of them worked for me. It took me a while to figure out what my heart wanted, and then twice as long to stop ignoring what it was saying! But now I am finally pursuing my dreams and letting my passions take over. Life coaching, guiding, writing: these are the passions I’ll be working towards and hopefully I’ll inspire others my age (or any age) along the way! Thank you!
Hi Liz! I love that you have gone down so many paths. Your life an experience is rich & deep. Congratulations on all you have accomplished and everything that is to come. xo