Whoops, it’s Wednesday. I forgot to post Off-Topic Tuesday yesterday and the alliteration has such a nice ring to it! Ah well, I’m here anyway!
Today’s off-topic post is about doubt and about worrying too much about what other people think about what you’re doing. At the weekend, I was asked to speak about blogging at the Kidspot Voices of 2013 masterclass. A real honour. One of the questions to the panel (with the fab Viv from Ish & Chi and Rebecca from Wee Birdy, moderated by the fabulous Pip from Meet Me At Mikes) was do you ever doubt yourself? Now, it may seem from my blog and even from meeting me in real life, that I’m a super confident person who knows their stuff. Let me let you into a little secret: I am as self-doubting as the next person. I worry about what people think about me and might be saying about me behind my back. ALL THE TIME. I live in constant fear of being found out. What for, I’m not sure!
There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, I blog about interior design, styling, homewares and furniture. I started doing this two years ago because I loved this stuff and having a blog was a way to keep together all the pictures and inspiration I found online and out and about. The intention was never for anyone else to read it. But now I find myself writing about this stuff day in, day out, for my job. How lucky am I?! I love it. However, the fact that I have no design qualifications, even though I never ever claim to, fills me with self doubt and worry that people will think I am trying to pretend I am an expert. For this reason I go out of my way to state that I DO NOT THINK I’M AN EXPERT OR TALENTED IN THIS FIELD. Could I be any clearer? The silly thing is, the vast majority of my readers do not think I do, do not care that I’m not an interior designer, and I am told time and time again that they like and connect with my blog because it’s accessible to everyone and because my enthusiasm (if not skills) for interiors shines through.
So what happens is, when a company wants to interview me, as a blogger and interiors person and produces a lovely article about me, like Retrojan did today (read it here), my first thought isn’t “Oh, what lovely publicity that it is, how nice!” Not at all. It is more like “Oh my God, I am going to be judged by stylists out there thinking I think I can do what they do! OMG freakout, because they’re calling me a style icon in the headline and I am anything but!” At the end of the day though, it’s not like I called myself a style icon, or went and pitched myself to them. They, very kindly, wanted to feature me, and I should be able to feel proud and happy about that.
I need to get over it, and I’m trying really hard to get over it, but it’s hard. I need a thicker skin. I want people to like me, I don’t want people to get the wrong impression of me and to think I’m a fraud or that I wrongly think I’m some kind of expert. I’m paranoid by nature. If I see a snarky anonymous Facebook status, I’ll always assume it’s directed at me (sad, isn’t it?). Sometimes they are though.
Even when it comes to blogging, and being asked to sit on panels, like the weekend’s, or talk about blogging, I think “what do I know?” I think this comes from having trained as a journalist. I can talk about that quite happily, because I feel qualified, but blogging? Hmm. I kind of fell into that, and although it’s working out really well, I don’t feel like I’ve been in this game long enough to teach anyone else how to do it. What I do know is that I work bloody hard and am proud of my blog, and I should really tell myself that a bit more often.
I’m not sure what the answer is to this self doubt and paranoia, but acknowledging it feels like a good place to start. I guess all I would say is that if you’re genuine, transparent and passionate in what you do, you shouldn’t go far wrong. There will always be a small minority of people who try and knock you down and who misunderstand you, but why should their opinion be counted as so much more important than all the positive and supportive views in your life? Because we’re all human!
Feeling a bit vulnerable to hit publish on this post, but I want anyone else out there feeling any of the same things to know it’s not just you!