6 Ways to Stop Worrying About Being Wrong and Publish Your Content Anyway
When you write or talk about sex, sexuality, and gender, there’s almost always someone waiting in the wings to tell you how wrong you are. They’ll tell you your topic is disgusting or you’re using the wrong words. Maybe they’ll throw some social media hate your way, making it feel like the entire world thinks you suck.
I wish I had a magic cure for this. It wouldn’t matter if you’re creating content about puppies, this can happen. Most of the people who this are trolls and a few are extremely passionate about the topic. They’ve just forgotten that INTERNET YELLING DOESN’T CHANGE MINDS.
So how do we create in this environment? What do you do when you’re paralyzed about being called out for how wrong you are before you’ve even hit publish? I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you what I do.
Do a Gut Check
How strongly do you feel about the thing you’re writing or creating? Is it based on your own research or your personal experiences? Do you honestly believe this kink or fetish needs more discussion? Have you done your best to create good content that’s true to you? You’re never going to make everyone happy, but when you believe in what you’re saying, it’s easier.
Not every piece of content you create will be philosophical or purely educational. Some may be sales-driven. This gut check becomes even more important, because it’s easy to get called out for money-grabbing content when you’re trying to sell yourself, your product, or your service. Even a sales pitch should be true to who you are.
Realize Everyone Won’t Agree With You
Haters gonna hate, y’all. It’s about as inevitable as death and taxes. Check your language to make sure you stand behind it. Do the gut check thing to know if it’s something you truly believe in. And then remember that you don’t need everyone to agree with you. Those people probably aren’t your target audience, and they probably didn’t know you existed until they saw this specific piece of content. You are not just this piece of content you made, whether they hate it or love it. You’re more than that, and your real audience knows it.
Decide if You Can Defend It
It’s much easier to defend something we feel passionately about, and much harder when we created throwaway content that didn’t really matter to us. When there’s a chance someone might think you’re wrong, spend time thinking about whether you can defend your argument. Are you basing this off your personal experience or your own observations? Did you spend years studying the topic and gained some insight? Hell, if it’s an opinion piece, remember that everyone gets an opinion — even if it’s an unpopular one.
And just because you can defend your content doesn’t mean you should or that you have to. I do this mostly to stiffen my backbone a bit in case someone comes after me.
Be Ready to Fix Problems
There’s a damn good chance you might be wrong, and someone may point it out to you. It’s not the end of the world. You can fix errors and apologize. If your apology is sincere enough, most people will forgive you or give you another chance. The people who won’t let it go, even after you apologize, aren’t your loyal audience members. They’re not who you’re trying to reach. Do what’s best for your audience, and let the others gnaw on their own anger. Soon enough, someone else will be in their sights, and you’ll be forgotten.
Think About Your Audience
There’s a difference between the audience member who responds to every blog post or retweets the hell out of us and the person in our sphere who we’d like to impress. Who are you creating your content for? The answer should be your audience. In the beginning, you’ll only have a vague idea of who you want your audience to be or who you think they are. But once you’ve been online for a while, you’ll realize they’re the people who email you with questions, DM you to say thanks for talking about a topic, or share the hell out of everything you do.
Create What Matters to You
You want to serve an audience, but you also need to be true to yourself. It’s easy to get stuck in the should I/shouldn’t I game of deciding what content to put out in the world. Especially when you’re worried about being called out for being wrong, a fraud, or not sex-positive or inclusive enough. While there’s always room to grow and improve, ask yourself some questions.
- Would I write/create this even if no one ever saw it?
- Do I believe in what I’m saying — even if I’m not very good at the way I say it yet? Would I argue over this point?
- Does this answer a direction question someone asked me?
- Am I staying true to who I am?
- Does this feel important to me?
Have a Plan, Create Anyway
There’s always a chance you’ll say something wrong, be less inclusive than you meant to be, use a term incorrectly, or have an opinion others don’t agree with. It’s the nature of putting information online. But you can move forward through the fear and worry to create the content that matters to you. Yes, even when you’re shaking in your boots. You just need a plan.
Feel free to use any or all of my steps to make your own plan. Sometimes it’ll be a legitimate problem to correct and sometimes it’s just internet hate. You only need to find what will help you navigate either in a way that lets you stay true to yourself.
Do you do anything different or in addition to this to help yourself publish your content even when you’re afraid? I’m always looking for tips, so feel free to share in the comments below or talk to me on Twitter.
One of my most difficult things is hitting that publish button sometimes. Yesterday I cleared out my OneDrive of all of my writing. Yep, ALL of it. It’s safely backed up on an expansion drive.
I put two stories back on today (while writing this comment) that I want to focus on. I did this because I feel like I’m not focused at all. I have all of these ideas and desires. I spend time opening one unfinished story/blog post (or previously finished story that was removed from Radish that I’d like to rework) after another trying to figure out what to do with it.
I put so much pressure on myself to get things done, that I am not getting anything done (other than finally finishing all of old X-Files and watching the new X-Files). Some days I don’t even turn on the tv when I get home from work and I’ll do the same thing. Flipping from one story to the next, to the internet, to a book on writing or a fiction book I’m reading. It’s kind of like being stuck in a loop or the Supernatural episode Changing Channels. (And it really sucks ass, especially because it’s not funny like that episode.)
I had all day yesterday to work on writing and the only things I did were to backup two websites, clean up my hard drive, and empty my OneDrive. I stared at a mostly blank work document that I had open. I talked to people. I gave in and turned on X-Files.
Any tips on getting out of my own way? Love you and all you do. XoXo
I think it’s the pressure you’re feeling that’s slowing you down. And at some point, as hard as it feels, you have to pick something and just start. Eenie-meenie-miney-moe it if you have to, but commit to a thing. Sometimes I can sense what’s most important to me and sometimes I go with what might get done the fastest — it all depends on how I’m feeling at that moment. But even if my feeling changes, I stick with the thing I’ve committed to until it’s done. It’s all about retraining yourself out of bad habits. Very little of how we behave is about personality. It’s mostly about habits. And if we can find the right motivation to change our habits, it’s easier than when we berate ourselves about what we “should” do or what we’re supposed to do.