Even the most influential content creators struggle with fear of judgement. Here's how I push through my creativity anxiety.

After our discussion, Cultivating Creativity, I was inspired to help get YOU inspired to shed YOUR fears, destroy YOUR roadblocks, and help YOU dive into a new creative project.

Early in the creativity podcast, John mentioned his admiration, which I wholeheartedly share, for mommy bloggers. Mommy bloggers use their everyday experiences to inform their content, which is shared to the world via social media.

It occurred to me that, as many mommy bloggers as there are (more than four million according to Neil Patel), there are many, many more mommies and daddies who would like to write a novel, create a blog, start an Instagram page, or become a YouTube sensation. Most will never do it because they’re afraid.

I think that might be the saddest thing in the world.

Here’s the deal: we all fear judgement. It’s primal. But to grow, we need to overcome our fears.

The internet gives us the ability to research any subject in history and reach any potential audience on the planet – all for free. That power is at the heart of the most astounding revolution in human history. We’re living in incredible times. If you’re not taking advantage of them, you’re missing out. And if it’s fear that’s keeping you back, you’re not alone.

But that’s no excuse.

You may think “there are already four million mommy bloggers out there. How can I possibly compete?”

Ah, competition. It’s the first roadblock on the path to creativity.

Stop thinking of your creativity as a competition or even a business. It’s not about making money or crushing other creators. That’s like saying “I’m really hungry, but there are already seven billion other people eating.”

There are always more cupcakes to eat, and there are always more people to consume your cupcakes content.

John and I created this podcast at a moment when there have never been more podcasts. Still, I meet people, all the time, who have never before listened to a podcast. Same with blogs and Instagram stories. People are hungry for content, and audiences are growing. But many consumers still haven’t found their channels.

In 2013, there were 13 million people listening to podcasts. Six years later, there were 62 million. The world is a much bigger place than you think, and the internet brings together enormous audiences with very specific interests.

I was geeking out on car camping over the past few months. Car camping is exactly what it sounds like: you sleep in your car during long road trips. Yes, hotels are comfortable, but sometimes I like to sleep in my car. I’m weird like that.

The problem is, I hate being hot when I’m camping during the summer. I’d heard that, if you have a hybrid car, you can run the air conditioner all night and the gas engine will kick on for just a few minutes each hour until the battery is recharged.

Turns out this little niche fact has been explored and dissected by hundreds of content creators. I watched lots YouTube videos and read tens of blogs by car camping enthusiasts. I was so inspired, I ended up buying a Toyota Hybrid SUV with the plan to never again stay in hotel during a solo road trip.

When I asked the car salesman about car camping, he wasn’t aware of the air conditioning trick. He wasn’t even aware of car camping. It was the online content creators who sold me on the car.

Without the internet, never would there have been a critical mass of people interested in “Toyota RAV4 hybrid car camping” to create an audience. Today, there are many, many content creators filling that niche.

That’s a bit of a long story, I admit, but it speaks to the power of your own passion and the surprisingly large number of people who share it – all brought together through the magic of the internet.

In fact, the narrower your interest, the more likely you are to find your audience. That’s because small niches tend to attract loyal audiences. What’s a small niche? A search for “car camping in a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid” yielded 2.55 million results.

Still, identifying a niche doesn’t speak to fear of failure. Fear of failure is about creating the content.

I’m so thankful that those geeky RAV4 Hybrid car campers were brave enough to document their experiences. They not only provided really useful information, they validated my weird niche interest and made me feel like part of a community rather than a weirdo who likes to sleep in his car.

Howard and his new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
I bought this car after finding a tiny niche of online content creators who shared my interest.

So, instead of thinking you’ll be judged, think about all the people you’ll be helping with your creative content.

Not sure where to start? A great way to identify a niche and start creating content is to look at your browser history. Here’s the thing about our browser histories: they’re truly honest. After all, when’s the last time you asked Google a question just to look cool?

If you’re searching for information online that you simply can’t find because it’s too niche, you’ve struck gold. The questions you ask Google over and over are clues that you’re onto something valuable. Frustration is opportunity. Create content around the problems you face and you’ll be amazed at how many others will appreciate your answers… and if you don’t have answers, they’ll appreciate that you validated their problem.

So, that’s one subject. Now, spin that subject into 10 blog posts, videos or whatever medium you like. Start by writing 10 “headlines” or post titles that tease out the what makes your little niche so compelling. Set a timer for 20 minutes and just “vomit” them up, as John likes to say. Before you know it, the super tiny “car camping in a hybrid” subject starts to look very broad, which is the point of the exercise.

Each headline addresses a specific micro-issue within the overall topic of “car camping in a hybrid,” such as:

  1. Cold weather hybrid car camping
  2. Hot weather hybrid car camping
  3. The best hybrid cars for camping
  4. The worst hybrid cars for camping
  5. Troubleshooting your hybrid car while camping
  6. Hybrid car camping gear checklist
  7. How to find a hybrid car camping spot
  8. How much fuel does hybrid car camping consume?
  9. Hybrid car camping horror stories
  10. Staying safe while hybrid car camping

You get the idea. And you can see how ideas flow, once you tap your genuine interests.

If you’re still afraid of judgement, just publish without promoting. You don’t need to announce your content on Facebook until you’re ready. The goal is to make a routine of creativity.

Are you afraid of putting yourself out there? Have you been creating content, but struggling to promote it? Sometimes just leaving a comment on another person’s post is enough to jumpstart your creativity (hint hint)

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