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In this episode, we are answering a question from GradBlogger listener, Cheryl Lau.
After listening to Episode #11 about three-minute paper reviews, she started drafting her own blog posts and is at the point where she’s ready to hit publish on her website and the first few blog posts, but now she’s faced with a new challenge: fear of sharing her work.
Cheryl asked the following questions:
- How does she get over this fear of sharing?
- What should she do after posting? Should she tweet the authors of any work she’s used or share it on social media?
- How does she get over the feeling of being, in her words, “under-qualified” to share her thoughts?
How to Get Over the Fear of Sharing
Putting yourself out there is difficult. Three-minute paper reviews are a great content machine, but you are putting yourself out there. You’re creating something new by repurposing old material, adding personal insights, and then putting it out there.
This anxiety is likely a throwback to earlier times when being different made you an outcast from your tribe or standing out made you visible to predators. That worry lingers today. So, how can you get over it?
Step #1: Accept That Your Feelings are Normal
The first step is to understand that these feelings are normal and will go away eventually. You need to do your work and keep at it. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised.
Step #2: Have a Routine
Step two is to have a routine. I had one when I was doing three-minute papers. I got it from a book by Seth Godin called [Affiliate] Leap First. I had a quote on my wall from that book: Here I made this, I hope you like it. Here I made this, I hope it changes you. Here I made this, I hope to be able to make something like this again.
That was my mantra. I would say it every time I published something new. I’d go up to the wall and read those three lines. Here I made this, I hope you like it. Here I made this, I hope it changes you. Here I made this, I hope to be able to make something like this again.
I’m not sure why these specific words resonated with me, but the bigger point is this: do something.
Step #3: Ship Your Work
Step three is to ship the thing. Lean into that fear. Now you’ve done your routine. You pressed send and put it into the world.
As I mentioned before, I did 40 posts during my first 60 days online and I was still pretty nervous about publishing after that, but now, after doing over 100 podcast episodes between DustSafetyScience and GradBlogger in addition to lots of videos and other things, that fear has gone away. You do reach the point where you’re able to ship things without the fear of sharing or repercussions.
What To Do After Posting
Cheryl’s second question was about what to do after publishing. Once you get to the point where you’re able to ship the content, what do you do?
In my opinion, you should leverage the work. Let’s talk about how you can do this.
The SnowBall Publishing Strategy
The first one is what I call the ‘snowball publishing strategy.’
I used to publish my three-minute posts once per month over three or four months. People aren’t going to notice that they are getting the same content from you because most people only see a very small fraction of what goes through their newsfeed. By the time you have 30 pieces of content, you’ll automatically have a post going out every day.
It’s like a snowball. You’re pushing that snowball. You do one post and put it out once per month for the next four months. With the next post, you put it out once per month for the next four months. By the time you get to 30, you have something going out every day and now you’ve built up this snowball. Each of those pieces of content is something that can bring people back to your website.
Stack the Content
The second strategy is to stack your content. I used to do this. I’d take three of my three-minute paper posts and write a comparison of the viewpoints or the findings. I’d create a full literature review. At one point, I took 15 papers and said, “This is the meaning and the overall summary of the findings from these papers.”
Do a post about the top five most important papers in your subfield or research area. You can even pull out the practical findings or the implications of the research and create a LinkedIn article.
Change the Form of the Content
If you’ve done a written post, maybe you can create an audio version and publish it as a podcast episode. Maybe you can do a short, 20-second video as a social promotion.
I’m doing this a lot for a conference I’m running right now for DustSafetyScience. I write a detailed promotional email and then take that same material and write a script for a video or podcast episode. The material only needs to be created once. After that, you can remix it in different ways and get it out to different audiences.
How to Get Over Feeling ‘Under-Qualified’
Cheryl’s next question was about tagging cited authors and feeling under-qualified.
I did not tag anyone when I did my three-minute papers, although I occasionally had an author who would see the posts and leave positive comments. They always liked that somebody was reading their work because that doesn’t often happen in academia.
The question I want to ask is: why do you feel nervous about it? Is it due to imposter syndrome? In most cases, it is.
What I want to say about this is that it’s never going to go away. If you’re getting started with your PhD and you’re applying for applications, you’re going to be saying, “I would feel better if I got into a program.” Then, when you start your PhD, you’re going to say, “ I’d feel better if I had written my comprehensives” and then “I’d feel better if I had done my thesis.”
Then, once you graduate, you’re going to go, “I’ll feel like I’m good enough when I do a postdoc or get some work experience.” There will always be some ‘next thing’ that you’ll want to overcome before you feel like you’re ready. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up in a place where you’ll never feel ready and always feel like an imposter.
You want to look that fear in the face and ship your content anyway. Put it out there in the world. You’ll stand out because most people won’t do the same, unfortunately. This means that there’s less competition, and it’s going to help you grow personally.
If you have any fear of sharing your work or you have anything to add to these different topics, definitely tag me on social media @GradBlogger, on Twitter and on Instagram.
Also, tag CheryI at @CherylLau1995 on Twitter. If her website’s up, go read through some of her posts and comment. That’d be awesome.
And if you have your own questions for the GradBlogger podcast, share them in the comments below. Our goal is to help you build your online business, change your life, and create the change that you want to see in the world.
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