Over the past couple of months or so, I've been toying with the idea of setting up a personal website to share the things I'm passionate about. However, the human mind has this annoying tendency to rationalize the things it doesn't want to do and justify any number of reasons to avoid them.
Here are a few of my "rationales":
- I need to be an absolute pro at coding before I can set up my own website.
- People are going to think I'm a narcissistic twat if I have a domain with my own name.
- I don't want to use a pseudonym to write.
- No one will care about what I have to say.
- People will get a close up look into my brain and realize that I'm not some "woke" individual; I'm figuring things out as I go along, just like everyone else.
Then, sometime in the past few months, I read a book by Austin Kleon called "Show Your Work". It was a very short read, just shy of 70 pages, but it pushed me over the edge and got me to start this personal website and share the things I'm passionate about : productivity, book notes and life insights. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about putting their work online.
- 📌 In fact, here's a standing offer exclusive to the readers of this post. If you are seriously considering the idea of sharing your work online and you want to read this book, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Line "Show My Work" and give me a brief introduction about yourself and what content are you planning to put online. Once I've read your email, I'll reply you with some advice (if I can), wish you luck, and send you on your way with a free PDF copy of this book. Just download it on your phone/tablet/laptop and start reading the book!
In barely 70 pages, Austin made me reassess the validity of my rationale. And this is where things get interesting. I realized that I was essentially creating excuses that overlap in nature, excuses that cover all grounds so that I wouldn't have to get out of my comfort zone.
For instance, I internalized the concept that people would think I'm a narcissistic twat if I hosted my website using my name as the domain. At the same time, I understood the power of "personal branding" and refused to write under a pseudonym. This makes it virtually impossible to start a website because there isn't a domain that isn't my name but also isn't a pseudonym. I think this all boils down to fear and anxiety of putting my work online and this is an escape route that my brain somehow rationalized and made it seem justified.
The other realization came when I was watching David Perell's video on Youtube.
In this video, Perell addressed the things that hold people back from putting their work online. At one point, he suggested that most people refuse to write online because they are scared that no one would care about what they have to say and they will be shouting into the void. Perell then proceeded to suggest that there are also people who are worried that their work would be criticized by others and everyone in their life would judge them. He then states that these two statements can't possibly be true. They're mutually exclusive events. To an extent, the notion that someone would criticize and judge your work means that they have to first care enough about your work to put in the time and effort to consume your content. I know this seems like such a simple concept but it blew my mind. I realized that all I was doing was simply avoiding the challenge and preventing myself from getting out of my comfort zone.
As suggested by the cover image of this post, JUST BEGIN. Learn as you go along. There's no need to be a professional coder or take some 3 week long web design course before you can start sharing your work online about whatever you're passionate about. There are so many free website builders out there that operate on the "Drag and Drop" concept, which is incredibly simple and intuitive to use. (Wix, Squarespace etc) You have a wide array of designs to choose from to suit the general vibe of your website. You can also start with their ready-made tempate and edit from there or visit other similar websites to look for inspiration! Here is a list of 50 websites with amazing web design for you to gain inspiration from.
It doesn't necessarily have to be a blog. It could be a baking recipe website, or a website where you sell your handmade crafts. Bottom line is, you should share the things that you're passionate about and embrace your unique individuality.
"When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Don’t feel guilty about the pleasure you take in the things you enjoy. Celebrate them.When you share your taste and your influences, have the guts to own all of it. Don’t give in to the pressure to self-edit too much."
- Austin Kleon in "Show Your Work"
This post doesn't cover the benefits of putting your work online. That's something I'll write about in another post, on another day. Alternatively, I would highly recommend that you read "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon. Remember to email me if you want a PDF copy of the book for free!
However, I wrote this post that details my experience of getting over my fear of writing online, in hopes that they can serve as a source for you to draw parallels to and hopefully, you'll see the value of putting your work online. Looking forward to hear from you and seeing you sometime soon!