Facing The Blog Beetles

Let’s face it. Everyone is afraid of something. Some, like me, are afraid of lots of things. Clowns, for one. Death, for two. Don’t get me started on shower lights. Zap.

One of the scariest things? Writing that first blog.

As writers, we know that fear has a face. Oh, yes. Like a shape-shifting chameleon, it can assume many forms, giving rise to all kinds of terrors. But fear–specific to this particular instance of which I speak–also has a name: FOBIA.

Fear Of Blogging Is Agony.

Corny, yes. First to admit. But any way you put it, the fear is real. The agony is real. At least in our heads.

Indeed, few things for the first-time blogger are as crippling. Writing a logline. A query letter. The blank page. Breathing.

If you’re like me and just starting out in the blogosphere, the mere mention of that four-letter word sends you running for the razor blades or your father’s .30.30. We write books, not blogs. We don’t even know what they are! They sound like fat alien beetles under the desk.

The thing is, I’ve seen them. I know that they’re there. Just as I know that they’re waiting for me. Waiting for their chance to gnaw on my brain.

Sounds crazy, right? Yeah. Writer crazy.

If you hear the B-word and find you no longer have control over your funkrrs–sorry, fingers, at the keyboard–your toes sweat–have shortage of breath–heart palpitations–suddenly feel a burning need to catch up on your thumb-twiddling–experience the humbling loss of bladder control (or worse)–then you likely suffer from Blogging Anxiety Disorder (BAD). And let me tell you, folks, untreated FOBIA always ends BAD.

It can get downright ugly.

Serious cases of BAD can result in the unexpected kicking-in of the Involuntary Blogging Anxiety Reflex Function (for your sake, I’ll dispense with the acronym). Experience teaches (believe me) that a set of well-placed wet-wipes and a bucket directly adjacent the computer is one of the writer’s most valuable, and essential, tools.

Still, it can get worse. Chronic BAD (CBAD, or REALBAD to the lay person), where the victim finally succumbs to excuse-making, procrastination, and ceiling-dot counting–could be fatal for their writing career.

“Whazzat?” you say, rubbing your aching neck as your glassy gaze falls from that captivating stucco. “What did you say? Fatal? What?”

Well, maybe a little fatal. You can breathe now.

Breathe …

Okay. Time for our hourly affirmative sing-along.

“This is nothing. It’s just a blog. I’m a writer. I write.

Did you hear the beetle? It’s right under your chair now.

“Hah,” you scoff. “I use a bean bag.” Ah, denial. Keeps the blog beetles at bay.

I can hear you. I can.

I–we–the writing community–we all hear you. And we’re all here for you. Every last one of us. Group hug.

Better? Of course not. You’re still thinking you can just go back to your all-important counting game once Cassidy shuts up.

“But my work–my sacrifice–all those years of honing my craft, all those 2:00 a.m. pizzas, all that self-loathing–is this how it ends for me? Struck down by some creeping insect that’s been lurking there, just waiting for its chance?”

For me, it was as if I was an addict who had finally had enough. I needed to come clean and face the music. Had to get down on my knees and risk that look under the desk … look that beetle in the compound eye. Eyes.

You know what I found? The beetle wasn’t there.

Know what else? Dust bunnies. A crusty nickel. Unopened Doritos (why I checked the expiry date is beyond me). That unmailed tax return from six years ago.

Oh, and another thing. I found that, just as fear has a face, so too, does hope.

And her name is Kristen Lamb.

Kristen is wise. Kristen is powerful. Like some kind of holistic writer-shaman. Waving words instead of rattles. With a wonderful wit and some damn good advice–most of it as blunt as a hammer–she’ll lead you out of the blog blackness and into the light. Can you hear the angels sing?

Get her books (We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide To Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer) Get them now. No. Not later. Not after you finish counting (you can do that when you have that query letter to write).

Now.

Let her cure your FOBIA before it gets BAD. I did.

I’m off to the shower now. Maybe I’ll try the light. But at least the beetles won’t get me.