And now for something completely slightly different …

For number twelve in our weekly series about taking the scary out of blogging, I’m responding to a few of the questions from participants in the Screw Therapy Start Blogging course this past weekend.

You know, questions we didn’t get around to because we were having too much fun covering so much material.

And just to remind you, none of this stuff is really about blogging. It’s all about patterns, and where they show up in your life.

You can catch up if you like (you don’t have to!) — here’s the rest of the series:
Part 1. What if people are mean to me?
Part 2. What if I throw a party and no one shows up?
Part 3. Why even bother when there are already other people doing it better?
Part 4. What do I saaaaaaaaaaaaaaay?
Part 5. Help! Perfectionism! Gaaaaak!
Part 6. But I’m not an EXPERT!
Part 7. Don’t make me be vulnerable!
Part 8. I just don’t have the time!
Part 9. What if someone READS what I wrote?
Part 10. But I’ll never be popular!
Part 11. De-shouldifying.

Questions. Questions. Questions.

“But how narcissistic to have a blog about ME.”

Okay, this one wasn’t really a question.

The woman writing meant to ask something completely different. This was a total aside. But it needs to be answered so I’m treating it like a question.

No sweetie, it’s not narcissistic to have a blog about YOU!

How else will people be able to learn from you if they can’t connect to you?

We all live at the heart of our blogs. Pam is at the heart of her blog. Naomi is at the heart of her blog. Selma and I are at the heart of mine.

In fact, you kinda have to be at the heart of yours. Otherwise, why would we show up to learn from you?

In order for your blog to be a safe, cozy place for people to show up with their stuff, you have to be very present. You need to set the space. And in order for that to work, it needs to be about you too. It’s your space. Of course it’s about you

I wrote a post a few months ago about why you can’t overdose on introspection — maybe that will cheer you up a bit too.

“Will it hurt me if I use a pseudonym?”

From one of the course participants:

“What’s your view of blogging using a screen name or a pseudonym?

The fear I have of being visible has a big emotional component, but also has a practical component.

My transition from a corporate career into unrelated psychotherapy/associated cool careers is a multi-year one, so in the meantime, I’d like to fly under the radar in my old world.

But I also know that in the “social media” world, being authentic and transparent contributes hugely to success, maybe even being detrimental if one is non-transparent like hiding behind a screen name / pseudonym?”

My short answer would be … it depends.

Lots of people — not just Black Hockey Jesus — use a screen name, a nickname or some variation of a pseudonym with great success.

In this particular case, your fear is acting as a barrier from even getting started.

So (personally) I think it would be absolutely fine if you start that way to get used to feeling your way into things.

At the same time, in your particular case, as you’re trying to — eventually — establish expertise and move into a new field, it’s going to be important to own your name so that your career can go along with it.

But for now you might as well start just by being “________” (first name only) and then kinda ease your way into it.

You know, when I started my site, I didn’t want to have a picture or a phone number and then later those things didn’t worry me anymore and I made changes.

So … I would say, do what you have to do now to help yourself feel safe and supported, while keeping in mind that as you grow it, it will involve some coming out of the closet, which (she types hopefully) by that point won’t be as frightening and intimidating as it is now.

Basically, it’s “do a practical compromise right now while you work on the emotional stuff” … and then see where it goes from there. Is that helpful? I hope so!

“I’ve heard you’re supposed to start with ‘practice articles’ and I don’t want to!”

“Occasionally I’ve had the thought that I would be better off just starting, rather than pre-writing some “practice” articles (if I don’t just go for it, I’ll never DO it). Am I crazy?”

Oh, not crazy at all!

Not everyone needs practice articles. Some people do. But it sounds like what you need is someone to give you permission to just start. So …

Just start!

Seriously, you know best.

And you know what? You can always go back and delete a post or edit it if it turns out you don’t like it.

“But I don’t have the name yet!”

“If I start now, and I wind up going with a different business name or whatever (changing URLs?), is that going to make a big mess of things?”

No.

Your original domain can always be redirected to the new one, so you’re not trapped by your first choice. I spent about three months agonizing over whether my blog should be here at The Fluent Self or not.

Or if it should be HaviBrooks.com because I wanted to also write personal things, or if it should be at MindfulBiggification.com and have a business angle. Blah blah blah. Process process process.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time whining about this to Nathan Bowers who probably gave me better advice than I’m giving you, but ultimately just told me to shut up and that everything would be fine. And he was right.

Anyway, right now HaviBrooks.com redirects to Fluent Self.

If you already have a domain that people are visiting, then stick your blog there. You already have traffic and attention, so keep that momentum. No reason to start shuffling people around to different places if they’re already congregating somewhere.

If you don’t have a place that’s a hangout already, you can use your name for the domain. Or choose a less-than-perfect name — and when you come up with a better one later, you can set up a redirect.

And when you do come up with something great, put it in the header or make it your tagline, so it gets its share of love and attention. But really, in most cases you won’t need to start changing things around too drastically.

I don’t think it’s a reason to delay. I mean, yes, I did think that. But now I kind of wish I hadn’t! :)

Bonus piece of advice, again thanks to Nathan. I had forgotten to buy TheFluentSelf.com in addition to FluentSelf.com.

Nathan told me horror stories about super famous people finding out that the “the” version of their name had been taken by evil squatters who were siphoning off their traffic. Fastest domain buy ever.

Be smart.

“What if I can’t come up with posts consistently?”

This was something I spent an obscene amount of time worrying about before I started the blog, and haven’t thought about a single time since!

But if it does happen, give yourself some love. And patience. And time. It does take a while to find your voice and get into a rhythm. It’s a practice.

Also keep in mind that sometimes a post can really just be a response you wrote to someone in an email. Or a thought you had. Or a link to something interesting you read.

Or I can give a list of oh, about a hundred post ideas I have that I still haven’t done anything with.

Not to mention the enormous and ever-growing pile of Ask Havi questions gathering dust in a folder. Just kidding — not going to farm out the Ask Havis.

But seriously, if you’re really not coming up with post ideas, you’re going to have to give in and start doing my wacky yoga brain training stuff so you can start making some crazy neural connections.

I promise that Shiva Nata will take care of the “I don’t have post ideas” problem.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because it will replace it with the “I have too many ideas for posts” problem. Which is a much bigger question and we’ll … uh … have to deal with that one later. *scrambles to find a solution*

That’s it for now!

Next week we’ll be back to a more traditional Blogging Therapy post.

In the meantime … Selma and I aren’t going anywhere over the holidays and it only takes a couple of minutes to light Hannukah candles … so, you know, we’ll be around.

Goofing it up tomorrow, something a bit more serious for Thursday and then … good grief, Friday Chicken. Again!

Good luck to my Blogging Therapy course participants and to all the other readers who are secretly working on blogging it up over their holiday break.

Can’t wait to see what happens!