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Sometimes, I’m my own worst enemy and let the silliest things stop me from finding success.

In the course of trying to write a new blog post, creating a new piece of artwork, or recording a video for YouTube, The Four Things That Get In The Way of My Success will pop up and well, get in the way. 

They don’t always do this as a quartet but I can guarantee that whenever I try to do something in the slightest bit creative,  one of the gang will drop in to try to scupper my efforts.

In this article I want to introduce you to The Four Things so you can stop them getting in your way too. 

If you’re too busy to read the rest of the article, they are:

  1. Worrying about other people’s things
  2. Overthinking the thing
  3. Not doing the thing
  4. Not releasing the thing

Although The Four Things can apply to any creative attempt, to make life easier for myself, I’ll be focusing on writing website content but feel free to imagine that I’m talking about creating YouTube videos, drawing pictures or creating paper maché donkeys.

Worrying about other people’s things

Worrying about other people's things

You’re sat down at your computer, about to write an awesome blog post that will help loads of people with a problem you’ve overcome. Then you have the great idea to see if anyone else has written something similar. 

Oh. They have. There’s at least ten blog posts that look like they’re talking about the same topic you were going to write about. Thirty minutes later, after reading a few of them, you’ve convinced yourself that nobody will want to read your post if they could be reading the others instead. 

Worrying about what other people might have said on your subject is pointless and here’s why:

  • You have a unique voice that your readers enjoy. 
  • It’s very probably that your readers visit your site because they enjoy the way you write.
  • You have a unique perspective on the world that nobody else can emulate which means that you can talk about something in a way that nobody else can.
  • Expertise is relative. You will have more expertise in one aspect of a subject that other people, and they’ll excel in other aspects of the same subject. Somebody that reads your work and their work will benefit from both.

Overthinking your thing

Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be

You’re all ready to write the blog post. It’s going to be great. 

There are so many things you could talk about! You wonder if your readers have ever considered the existential impact of self-actualisation when developing pre-cognitive language acquisition (or something equally nonsensical) as your mind explodes with ideas.

Just take a step back. There’s plenty of time to write about those other things (nonsensical or not). Right now your fans want something they’ll enjoy reading, not something that will make them wish they were somewhere else. 

Write a title that says where you want to go with the post. Write four sub-titles to break it up into neat sections (I did it with this blog post) and stick a sub-heading for a summary at the end. 

Now you just need to think about what to write for each sub-section. Awesome! 🙂

Not doing the thing

Walking away from the thing

You’ve started to write your blog post. It’s going well. Two hundred words in, your brain interrupts you with concerns about possible criticism, spelling mistakes, lack of white-space, and countless other worrys and “what ifs”.

Before you know it, you’ve ground to a halt because you’re subconciously trying to fire-fight your brain’s endless reasons for not carrying on. 

And then you go and get a cup of tea to calm yourself and spend the next hour watching a bird in the garden. 

It’s so easy to get distracted, whether by fears or a natural tendency to procrastinate but sometimes it’s best to just plow on and Get The Thing Done. 

If you’re didn’t skip over the paragraph about Overthinking The Thing, you’ll know to split up a project into smaller chunks. This doesn’t just stop your from overthinking a task – it breaks it into manageable pieces that you can tackle one at a time, not necessarily on the same day. Ultimately, what matters is that you sit down and get one of the pieces done before you take a break. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

It just has to be done.

Not releasing the thing

Printing press

You’ve written the blog post. It took four days but that’s okay. You wrote a section a day and now it’s done. 

You read it and despair. It just doesn’t sound cool / clever / intelligent enough for your satisfaction. You’ll need to rewrite it. 

Three rewrites later and you’re still not happy. You put it aside with the intention of coming back to it but the chances are you’ll never believe it will be good enough and cast it into draft purgatory forever.

The simple truth is that most writers aren’t perfectly happy with what they’ve written. They publish it anyway because they know that no matter how they view their own work, there are people out there that want to read it. 

People want to read what you’ve written so let them see it. 

You’ll never find your readers if you don’t give them something to read in the first place. 


Some things get in the way

The Four Things That Get In The Way are problems that you’ll face every time you try to create something. 

Fortunately they can be relatively easily countered by The Four Reasons To Do It Anyway:

  1. You are unique and there will be always be people that appreciate the way you see things.
  2. Decide on a subject and break it down into three or four specific pieces so you can focus on what you’re doing.
  3. Tackle the project one piece at a time so you get it done. Not necesarily all at once but get it done!
  4. If you’re going to review your work, be objective. Does it make sense? Is it correct? If it is, then publish it and let it go. 

Don’t worry if you’re not a great fan of what you’ve created. You’re not creating for you, you’re creating for others. 

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