Who The Hell Are You and What Gives You The Right To Blog?

How to finally silence that noisy hater in your head

Anyone who has ever blogged or put anything online has come face-to-face with a version of this question:

“What makes you think you have the right to publish this?”

It’s prompted by a fear of looking stupid, being judged by others, or being wrong.

It’s a noisy hater in your head, questioning your credibility, criticizing you before anyone even sees what you’ve created.

It’s a mild form of Impostor Syndrome, a pesky mental tic that tells you that you are never good enough.

Over time, I’ve learned how to sidestep this line of thinking, silencing that noisy hater and giving myself the freedom to create, express myself, and add value to the world.

So if you’re ever dealing with this, keep the following in mind:

First, it’s a perfect example of a Broken Telescope Question.

This is a question based on a faulty assumption: in order for you to blog, you first need approval.

Well, not only is this untrue, it also happens to be a shitty mentality that you should never have in your life. A sure way to never get anywhere in life is to assume you need approval for everything.

Second, asking whether you have “the right” to blog presupposes that there is some authority that bestows this right.

A brief reflection on this point makes you realize there is no such thing.

Third, think about how your writing can help others.

If thinking about the semantics of the question isn’t enough, then consider how sharing your ideas can add value to the world.

Many people stop themselves from publishing their ideas because they think “that should be left to the experts.” At first blush, that sounds reasonable.

But let’s think about how that would play out in practice.

If we say that only “experts” should blog and have public writing — then we must first determine who qualifies as an expert.

This quickly gets very tricky: What is the criteria for an expert? Who decides? What makes them qualified to decide? And even in the case where we somehow do decide on who counts as an expert — we may find that these true apex experts are too busy to blog and write. Or that they will only share their knowledge for profit. Or they are terrible writers that can’t communicate their ideas. Or they don’t even care to share their ideas.

The reality is, “expert” is a relative term

Look, there is a near-infinite continuum of skills and abilities. A novice to you may be an expert to someone else:

Take chess as an example.

via Tristan Martin

Let’s say your chess skill is rated at 6/10.

There are 3s and 4s who would love to be a 6 like you. You don’t view yourself as an expert, but many people who rank lower than you do. They would love to learn from you and hear about how you got to a 6.

There’s always going to be someone smarter or more of an “expert” than you.

Focus on adding value for the people who are at your skill level and below.

You have a voice. Use it.

At the end of the day, just create. You have a voice; people can choose whether to listen to you or not. Don’t make the decision for them.

When you work up the nerve to perform in front of an audience, there’s always going to be some people who don’t like it. And that’s okay. Because there are going to be a lot of people who do.