(How to Write Epic Shit) Lesson #1: Fear Makes You Tame and Ordinary

  • February 1, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 82 Comments

It’s one thing to tell people you need to write epic shit to stand out. “Great,” you might be saying, “now that I know I need to write epic shit to attract raving fans, hell do I do that?”

Let’s see if I can put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

Now that I’ve told you you need to write epic shit, let’s see if I can show you how. Not just by example (which I hope I’ve been doing lately), but by teaching you some ways to write mind-blowing, life-changing stuff that will help you build a huge following online.

Lesson #1: Fear makes you tame and ordinary.

You’ve heard it before. Fear is what really keeps you from succeeding, not ability or dedication. Yadda yadda. I’m not going to give you another lecture on fear and success here.

Instead, let’s talk about how you can use fear to develop epic ideas.

I’ve noticed something about nearly every successful thing I’ve done, and this especially applies to writing. Everything I write or create that becomes popular, or elevates me to a new level has been a little scary to release to the world.

As an example, the 18 months manifesto I wrote scared me to publish. I was worried about what people would think. “Look what an asshole that guy is, writing about how much money he makes,” I thought people might say. Or, “big deal, 18 months to build a blog-based business. So-and-so did it in 6 months.” Those thoughts scared me, which actually meant I was working on the right thing.

I’ve learned that whenever a particular project gives me those uncomfortable butterflies, it’s usually the right thing to do. Whenever I’m worried about what someone will think, I’m probably letting fear keep me from doing something epic. The manifesto has been read by over 11,000 people. Take that, fear.

This is the lesson and challenge I have for you:

Whatever you’re afraid to write right now, whatever you think you need to say but haven’t for fear of being judged, go write that scary thing right now.

I’m not saying you have to become fearless to create epic shit. Far from it. I’m saying you have to look fear in the eye, realize that fear is hiding some of your richest potential material, punch fear in the face and take whatever it was hiding from you and put that in your writing.

When you write about this scary thing, you don’t have to talk about how scared you were to write it. You can do that, and sometimes vulnerability is a good thing, but you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s good not to let your readers see everything that goes on behind the curtain.

Remember, you’re a leader. Choose the times when you should reveal your vulnerabilities and remain confident the rest of the time.

How to Let Fear Be Your Guide

If you read the last few paragraphs and something scary immediately came to mind, then bingo! You’ve identified something potentially epic to write about.

If you didn’t immediately think of something, let’s go through a couple of quick exercises to figure out what you’re really scared of.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What have you been holding back from your readers, because if they found out they’d think you were an impostor?
  2. What has someone else said online recently that you’ve strongly disagreed with, but decided against writing about?
  3. What subjects do you try to keep out of your writing, because you don’t want to “mix groups?” For example, different groups of people know you differently. Your friends know you differently from your colleagues, and your colleagues know you differently from your online followers. What are you keeping from one group that another one knows about you?
  4. What are you not writing about because you’re afraid of what your mom or spouse or family will think?
  5. What have you written about recently to try and “fit in” with a certain group of people? Is that how you really felt, or did you write it just to be accepted?

There have been times when I’ve had something in the back of my mind for months, that I knew I needed to do or write about, but that I suppressed as I went about my regular business.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes the things we avoid most are the things we most need to do.

A month ago I finally admitted something I had been avoiding for months. I knew that something was missing in my writing here. I preach strong differentiation but often succumbed to writing what I thought would be popular, not what I knew was unique, honest and thought-provoking.

I was afraid of going against the grain and calling out all the typical bullshit advice out there. Once I finally committed to writing epic shit and telling you why Think Traffic is different (and more effective than) all the generic blogging / social media blogs out there, I knew it was the right thing to do. I’ve been on an inspiration high ever since.

What are you scared to write about right now? What have you been avoiding doing because of what people might think? What can you write about that will come from the heart because you’re not just trying to fit in anymore?

Start by admitting it in the comments here, then go write that thing. Link to this post if you feel like it so people can see how this works in practice. Come back and tell us about your results.

Now go write some epic shit. Let fear be your guide.

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photo by flatworldsedge

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Jackie Lee February 1, 2011 at 6:11 am

Corbett, This is exactly what I was going through yesterday. I wrote a post for my site, and it scared the crap out of me. I wanted to say it, needed to say it, but it wasn’t my typical tone or content. I was really afraid of what people would think and say. I contacted my accountability partner and he was like, hit publish. now. So I hit schedule and it went out yesterday. I was a bit like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs all day, but was proud I had done it, and felt good about it.

I think sometimes the programming we received all our lives comes into play when we try to step out of our nice neat little box. Things like people won’t like you if you’re not smiling and nice and shiny… well, it seemed people still liked me even when I got pissed, and told my true feelings about a subject.

Thanks to you… I probably wouldn’t have published it at all if I hadn’t been reading your stuff. I would have talked it out with people, and then come back with a nice friendly, sunny version ~ boring, and forgettable.

thanks Corbett.

PS. did you write a “how to write a manifesto” book somewhere? I stopped by looking for it and found this great post. :)

Hector Cuevas February 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

Jackie.. just read your post and commented – THAT was awesome. I’m glad you didn’t let fear stop you from putting it out.

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Great post Jackie! It’s funny you just went through the exact same thing I was talking about here. And you’re absolutely right, it’s all our “societal norms” that push us towards being nice and amiable. Sometimes you have to rock the boat and say what really needs to be said. Well done.

Nate February 1, 2011 at 7:12 am

Excellent, excellent post Corbett. I have really learned to embrace fear and it get’s easier, that’s for sure. I’ve got an EPIC 12-part series coming out on my blog in the next month that I’m excited/scared about. Its going to change the world

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Damn Nate, a 12-part series is serious business. I hope you kill it with the series. Let us know how it goes!

Jackie Lee February 1, 2011 at 7:13 am

Thanks for stopping by Hector, and leaving a comment. I really appreciate your feedback. Glad to meet you. :)

Hector Cuevas February 1, 2011 at 7:15 am

Corbett, I gotta say man, you’ve been doing a great job lately with writing epic shit. My fear (for a long time) was putting out articles, videos (and not audios) that gave away the farm. I mean everything!!

I now know it was the scarcity mindset that was keeping me from feeling OK with giving away so much information for free. The fear of not having anything to sell later, kept me from pressing publish for a long time. But after seeing the stuff that people like you, Pat, Glen, Francisco and a few others have been putting out, I have no other choice but give it all away – if not, I’ll be eating all of your digital dust. Lol

Anyway, I agree that fear must be used as a motivator. If it’s there, then you’re probably on the right track.

John Muldoon February 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

Hector, I’ve been in the same exact boat as you, and arrived at the same place too. If it’s good enough to sell, that should be the litmus test for content that’s good enough for your blog.

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Great point Hector, I bet “giving it all away” keeps a lot of people from ever building an audience. Like you said, the truth is you have to give a lot just to compete with what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to worry too much about not having enough to sell though. People will pay for convenience and different formats, even if the content is only 50% new stuff (some get away with less). I like to reserve some special details for products you can’t get anywhere else. I also like to deep dive into topics that I couldn’t possibly fully cover in a blog post or series.

wilson usman February 1, 2011 at 7:41 am

fear is a bitch, but its also our friend. I think I like him more than I did before, because I understand “it” much better.

Like you said when I’m about to do something and that voice starts fucking with me I know it’s something that needs to be done.

I word of advice to people struggling with fear: listen to it, and then say fuck you fear…I’m gonna do this shit anyway.

Okay that sounded like a rant, but I hope you get the message.

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Rant acknowledged and accepted ;)

Living the Balanced Life February 1, 2011 at 8:12 am

This post came at a great time for me, although I didn’t really want to hear the answer to the question I have been asking myself. I try to write from a place of openness and rawness about emotional and mental health and well-being, and it is difficult at times, but my readers like to know they are not alone in how they feel. I have a subject that is really digging at me right now, and I REALLY need to write about it, but I have been afraid. And so I think I am going to have to just do it.
Bernice
Be authentic, be engaging, and be ready for change

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Awesome Bernice, it sounds like you have some fertile ground there. Best of luck with it. Remember, it’s not about 100% transparency, it’s about using the right amount of transparency to help your audience and achieve your goal.

Linda/Positive Spin February 1, 2011 at 8:45 am

Wooo! This is inspiring, once again!
I’ve just written a couple of posts in draft but was fearful they might be a bit too poetic for my site. But now I realise that they are authentic and reflect how I feel about the isues. I’m going to follow my thoughts far more and in so doing, I’ll find my true voice.

Now I’ll do more of the fearful stuff!

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Fantastic Linda. Sometimes the things you think are too “out there” for your audience really catch on. Other times they don’t. Either way, it’s worth the experiment.

Sarah Russell February 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of writing tame posts lately (hey, I’m a baby blogger – give me a break!). I’m trying to find a balance between “how to” information (that isn’t, inherently, gutsy), and the kind of epic shit you’re talking about here. I definitely need to work on getting into topics that scare me :)

And I find it so hard to believe that you were scared to publish the 18 months manifesto – that was some brilliant stuff!!! :)

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm

At first I thought you meant you blogged about or for babies. Then I realized you meant you’re a new blogger. At first I was going to give you a pass, but now that I don’t have to worry about you offending babies I’ll revoke that pass ;)

And thanks for bringing up the “how to” type of information. You can write epic how to stuff as well, it just takes a different approach. I’ll try to cover that soon.

Onibalusi Bamidele February 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

I can also relate with this post Corbett,

I have a lot of posts that I know are unique and the truth but I’m yet to write because I think traffic is all that matters and I go on writing posts that bring traffic – the end result is that I’m still regretting my action as far as this is concerned.

I need to face my fears and start doing what I think is right!

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Never forget the end game, Oni. I assume you’re trying to build a business. Is all that “traffic” you’re attracting going to be interested in buying what you eventually offer? Quality trumps quantity every time. I know people with far smaller audiences than mine or yours who are killing it financially because they focus on making a big impact on each visitor instead of attracting tons of half-interested people.

Cordelia February 1, 2011 at 10:28 am

This posts comes at exactly the time I needed it most.

My boss just this morning learned about my blog–which is, in large part, about how I’m unhappy with the 9-5 life and aiming to leave in a few years. I was petrified–not of his reaction (I haven’t said anything bad about him or the company), but of having to censor myself in the future now that he “might” be reading. Would I be able to say what I really feel knowing there was a chance it might reach his eyes now?

After struggling with this all morning, this post finally solidified in my mind what I know I should do. I’ve been drafting a post in my head outlining the things I am paid to do (and how I will do them well) vs. the things I am not paid to do (care personally about my work, want to stay there forever, etc.) It’s not a declaration to my boss so much as a declaration to myself, and to my readers, that I will be ethical and hardworking while still pursuing my goals 100%. It should be up in the next day or two, and I already feel immense relief at having decided to post it.

Thank you, Corbett, for giving me courage to confront the necessary (but scary) truth.

Corbett February 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

That’s an especially tough situation Cordelia. You’ll have to be comfortable with the potential that your boss and company won’t like it (or worse). If you aren’t comfortable with that, you’d probably need to blog about a different non-conflicting topic altogether. I assume you knew this potential conflict was coming when you started blogging on the topic though. Let us know how it goes!

Moon Hussain February 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Corbett,

I have to leave a comment quickly. Your content has picked up here recently and I’m loving what I’m reading here, so keep it up.

Yes, especially with guest posts that I’m working on, I have this immense fear that people will hate it for one reason or another or think I’m an asshole (like you mentioned, haha).

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 8:06 am

Thanks Moon, appreciate the comment as always. I feel the same way about guest posts, they’re always harder to produce than regular posts for some reason.

Jo February 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Hi Corbett

Your post has come along at exactly the right time! This is something I’ve been struggling with myself and I’ve had discussions with others about ‘putting it out there’. When you’re hiding something important to you and try to mask it in your writing, it still comes across. Your readers can sense something isn’t quite right. For me, I’ve been trying to write to please and water down any strong opinions I have because I don’t want to rock the boat. I’ve now realised, to attract your ‘right’ audience, sometimes the boat needs a rockin’.

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 8:07 am

Indeed, sometimes the boat does need a rockin’ ;)

Shae February 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This post could not have come at a better time. I am in the process of establishing my own new epic business and your recent posts have been guiding me to establish the vision, USP, personal brand I want for my business. I don’t want my business to be one of the typical ‘me-too’ blogs that exist far too much aleady.

Like you said face fear in the eye and that is what I intend to do!

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 8:12 am

“me too” is the trap most people get stuck in. What’s your secret sauce? How will you get that message across?

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

James M February 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Fear has been holding me back in the past with everything, but I have slowly overcoming a lot of my fears to make progress. One of the hardest things I decided to write about on my blog was about my sex life. I wrote a massive review of Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Body and decided to not only try the techniques but share that experience for the benefit of others (meaning to help improve others’ sex life, not to turn them on). I have written a lot of things that go against the grain and I hope to keep pumping out posts that get people riled up.

Incidentally, Seth Godin just released information about his new book, Poke the Box, which is about getting over the fears which hold you back from creating your art.

Great post and I hope to share it on my blog in the near future.

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

Hey James, congrats on getting over your fears, just keep in mind that the goal of transparency is to help your readers or to for stronger bonds with them. Transparency for it’s own sake is just TMI. I haven’t read your post or blog, but whenever someone talks about their sex life, I think about transparency issues. Hope it’s going well for you and thanks for the comment!

Dan Blakely February 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Corbett – love the idea that if you are feeling the fear in your gut that it is a sign that you must be doing the right thing. So true in my experience too. Having just gone through a few big changes in my life, I’ve just learned to push through and get it done. Only looking back after I’ve done what I set out to do. Just ignoring the fear and concerns of what others might think.

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

I think there’s a fine line there as well, Dan. Sometimes that fear might be holding you back from something for good reason, but most of the time it’s just holding you back unnecessarily.

Louisa February 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for this. I had a post in draft. Just hit publish thanks to your push. The fear for me is that the one post makes the whole impression that people will form of me – which is crazy because my whole purpose is to encourage others that you don’t have to be perfect. crazy!

Phill Turner February 2, 2011 at 1:55 am

Swearing is a post is always a big question for me?

I do swear in moments like most people even if it is under their breathe but is it good in a post?

You use it like magnet in this post and I see exactly what your saying here, tough for me to use it wisely but I will think of you position here.

Great post again, I haven’t read a bad one yet

Phill

Mike Reeves-McMillan February 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Thanks, Corbett, that helps me feel more OK about a post I have scheduled soon. I’ve been holding back from ranting against some of the crap in the personal development space because I didn’t want to be the “my therapy is better than your therapy” guy (I hate that guy).

But it needs to be said. Silver-bullet, one-size-fits-all, shallow quick-fix thinking is no way to approach personal development.

It’ll offend some people and I’ll almost certainly lose some subscribers, but those people weren’t really my people in the first place.

Torrey February 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I remember listening to Jerry Rice, Hall of Fame football player talk about fear.He said he used fear of losing his job to train harder and longer than other players that could take his job.

This has always stood out to me as a healthy motivator versus allowing us to remain boing and safe because of fear.

I think that’s what I’ve begun to use personally to create extraordinary entrepreneurial work and free myself from working a typical 9-5.

Mair Alight February 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm

This is the first blog of yours that I have read. I’m reading your voice as authentic and caring. Thanks for the perspective.
My perspective? Oh! Glad you asked.
This is from the Course of Miracles:
Love is Real
Fear is Unreal
Nothing Real can be threatened.
Nothing Unreal exists.
And from someone else: FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. i.e. I just Think that fear exists, and so think it into my experience. Without my attention is fades back into the nothingness from whence it came.
Love, Self Love, Empathy, Compassion don’t fade away because they exist whether or not I am aware of them.
This is some of my ‘epicness’, dared here. :-)
Wonder how that lands in you, Corbett?

Daniel February 3, 2011 at 4:29 am

Good timing on the article Corbett. I was one of those wondering, “how do I actually do it” so Lesson #1 was helpful as a began writing my latest post.

Fear of what people will think really can smother potential. Even when I was linking to this article in the note on my latest post I was thinking, “man, now Corbett might see this and think I’m a weird conspiracy theorist or something.” It’s impossible to explain everything you think and the entire meaning of what you intend to communicate with all people. That’s a risk we take with writing publicly like this and it’s something we can’t let make our writing bland. I can’t remember who -I’ll attribute it to Tim Ferriss- said, “It’s the people who DO get it that matter.”

Thanks again!

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

Hey Daniel, I read your post. Interesting perspective. I’m not overly concerned about privacy in general, but I can see what you mean, and I don’t think you’re a conspiracy theorist or whatever ;) Perhaps a little paranoid, but that can be a good thing. You definitely shouldn’t be afraid of what I will think though, focus more on what your regular audience will respond to. Thanks for the note.

Murlu February 3, 2011 at 11:32 am

There’s been quite a few things that I’ve wrote but ultimately deleted before hitting publish – I’m not entire sure it’s because of fear because my idea is that it’s my blog, I can do what I want. It was more that I don’t want to bring a heap of negativety – they were mostly posts pointed at other bloggers and their practices which I completely disagree with.

Who knows, maybe I’ll write these posts again in the future if they pop back up.

Funny thing: one of my most popular posts was me disagreeing with a lot of things bloggers talk about in terms of blogging.

Another that was interesting was about how commenting can destroy great blogs – it’s all interesting shit overall, the harder you push at people, the harder they’ll push back but it creates great buzz, awesome discussions and people enjoy the change in viewpoints, ya know?

Karen Hutton February 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Awesome post, Corbett… just what I needed to confirm what I was already thinking regarding my blog posts lately…. I’m gonna spice ‘em up now.. no more holding back for fear of what others might think…

Cheers

Karen

Spencer Corzine February 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I tried something simple with my last post. I changed the name to something completely off the wall (Who’s your daddy) about Legalzoom and had my best response yet. I agree…you MUST step outside your comfort zone….if someone wants boring they will turn on the TV…it’s all about capturing their attention.

Stuart February 5, 2011 at 2:26 am

Ah Corbett, this is the first time I’ve come across your website today, and I’ve learned so much. I came across to here when I followed a link from Pat Flynn’s website, about whether blog comments are worth. You know, that post you created which got one hell of a debate going ;-)

Needless to say, there’s a lot that I could be doing now with my own website. It’s still young, and I’m happy with how far I’ve come since I created it 4 months ago (especially as it’s my first website), but there’s still a long way to go before I reach my targets.

Incidentally, my targets are to make money out of my website, once I’ve generated a certain level of traffic. How much traffic? I don’t know yet. But I’ proud of my website, and I want it to grow and grow until it becomes as big as ProBlogger, or CopyBlogger, or Zen Habits, or Think Traffic ;-)

Anyway, I’ll be checking out your material over the days Corbett, so I’d like to thank you in advance for the wonders that will open before my eyes :-)

Wayne @ Southern California February 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I recently wrote an article that outlined a number of my fears, and I was terrified to actually post it. I did, and the results were awesome actually, and doing so felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I find myself become more ballsy with my writing, and that’s a good thing since the alternative is writers block.

Glad I found this blog, I like your writing style. Cheers!

Lee Cole--Home Based Freelancer February 6, 2011 at 7:28 am

Another way of thinking about fear is to be divisive. Quit trying to do the big corporation thing and not piss off anybody. Piss people off! Take a stand. Make sure, though, that your stand is in keeping with your values.

Caitlin Kelly February 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Great post.

The piece I was most scared to write — ever — was an essay in The New York Times that attracted the most comment, worldwide, than anything I’d ever written. http://caitlinkelly.com/news/newsart14.htm
I was scared people would laugh or make fun or me or my opinions, as some of the things I wrote were sure to piss off more than a few people.

Then it became the book that is coming out April 14, 2011.
http://malledthebook.com/

Face your fears — and write something gutsy! Readers, of all age in every medium, are hungry for truth, authenticity and candor. The world is filled with bland, banal and safe already. I am amused indeed to see that taking what felt like the biggest risk of my writing career has brought the most heartfelt and appreciative responses,

Nick Stewart February 7, 2011 at 6:24 am

Thanks for the advice. After reading this I decided to go and write something more epic than normal:
http://nickstraffictricks.com/4856_how-to-rank-1-in-google/

And I mention you in the “special thanks” section at the bottom of my post.

Thanks,
Nick, The Traffic Guy

Melissa February 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

I got here through CordeliaCallsItQuits’ blog, and had to laugh. This morning, after years of not writing about something that bothers me very much (namely, the penchant for society to devalue art and artists and assume that “Support Your Local Artist” means to tell them their stuff is nice), I finally said the hell with it and wrote it. I hadn’t wanted to before, because I was worried about offending people. Then I realized that I, as an artist, was offended by the idea, and that wasn’t alright either. So I posted it. Then, I read Cordelia’s post and read this. Synchronicity is an amusing thing sometimes. :)

Great post, and I’m glad I read it!

~Melissa
(The post referenced: http://ravenfeathersandcoyotebones.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-does-support-your-local-artist.html)

Matthew Needham February 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

To some extent, most of the stuff that I write scares me. I worry that people won’t like it. I worry that people won’t re-tweet it and I worry that people won’t comment on it. I think I’m on the right lines (at least getting there) but what I don’t know is what other people think to it. (As in really think about it – do they take action or just nod and move on). That worries me too…!

Ryan Yokome | Authentic Inspiration February 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

Hey Corbett, great post man. I love how you tapped on a lot of the emotional issues that hold people back. Especially #4 is hilarious. haha

First time visitor and I’ll be coming back!

Neil Ferree February 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

Corbett – in case you’re tracking such matters, I found your blog by way of the These DIY page. Your icon was on the top row w/ alt text “think traffic”. Your headline “Write Epic Shit” caught my eye, as I’m sure it did with your loyal readers. I need to write Epic $hit too and glad I found your composition. Strong work! I’ll be back for more. BTW, you echo some of the concepts in Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchanment, and that’s a good thing! – Neil

Brandon Wilcox February 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

I also stumbled across you at the Thesis blog. Specifically, your article “Not Getting Enough Traffic? Here’s Why…”

It was a great enough article that I clicked through here and started trawling your site. Actually, it trawled me. I’m hooked. It truly is epic shit. You take a different tack to others, and it’s the *differences* that give me a reason to follow you.

Jeedo Aquino February 10, 2011 at 12:06 am

Hi Corbett,

Thank you, this post just pushed me. I have been contemplating on writing an article about my apprehension in venturing online. I’m having second thoughts writing it because I might appear “weak” as a male author. Then this article reminded me of my promise to be honest and sincere.

Screw it if anybody judges me, at least everyone will know I’m just as human as anybody else. Important thing is I’m not letting it get in my way and that I have the power to do something about it! Bookmarked your blog :-)

- Jeedo

L.M. February 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I think that people pleasing is a big issue for a lot of people in everyday life. There is so much drama in the world these days that it makes people fearful to do, say, or write what they are thinking or feeling.

It seems silly that some of us would feel this way in the online world. Why does the prospect of pissing off total strangers in cyber space scare a lot of us? I guess humans want to be liked and accepted by everyone, but this will never happen.

I know that for myself, a lot of my people pleasing came from years of working in the corporate world where office politics and “playing nice” and being a “yes” person, etc. is encouraged (if not required). I call it dancing on eggshells with people. I noticed that I was behaving the same way online when writing content. I did not want to “offend” anyone.

Back in 2009, I had a personal blog at the time and one day I just let loose and wrote exactly what I was thinking and feeling. To my surprise, I had nothing but positive feedback from people who felt the same exact way, but were afraid to say it themselves. A lot of these people thought they were alone and realized that other people out there felt the same way.

After that happened, I decided to not let anyone stifle my words or creativity.

Sergio Felix March 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

There’s way too much things I could write about that could be defined as ‘epic shit’ but not only would that raise controversy but it may also stab me right back in the eye!

Apart from that I believe that if done properly, traffic generation would become a secondary thing because success would definitely come hand in hand with those kind of posts.

Funny that I came into this post because of the traffic keyword and I’m leaving with a complete different idea (being fearless) LOL thanks for sharing this!

I will definitely come back ;-)

~Sergio

Paul Wolfe March 5, 2011 at 10:00 am

Hey Corbett

First up, I’m loving your idea of write epic shit. I think there are wayyyyyy too many bloggers out there pumping out 400 or 500 words of crap that says nothing, hitting publish, and sitting back thinking they’ve done really well.

Second up, I love your concept of the price of entry.

Third up, whilst it’s easy to say ‘write epic shit,’ in practice a lot of people will find it hard. People find writing hard – the ‘bible’ on this is Steven Pressfield’s book The War Of Art (Pressfield is a very cool writer – and definitely writes Epic Shit!).

Fourth up, the good news is that you can learn to do ANYTHING. Learning to write well – so that you CAN produce epic shit – is something that will put you leagues ahead of your competitors. In fact you’ll be playing at a whole different level.

I’m subscribing so I can watch the Epic Shit series unfold! Great job!

Corbett March 5, 2011 at 10:14 am

Hey Paul – thanks for the comment. You’re the third person to recommend that book “The War of Art” to me recently. I’m definitely going to check it out after I finish what I’m currently reading. Cheers!

Paul Wolfe March 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hey Corbett – you’re welcome. If your learning modality favour audio, there’s also an audiobook version (I think published by Nightingale Conant) that Pressfield himself narrates. Unlike most authors, he’s a pretty good speaker too.

It’s a quick and easy read – it’s one of those books that will repay re-reading – as it’s pretty deep.

From reading your writing, I think you’ll really, REALLY like it.

Paul

Corbett March 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

Awesome, I just picked up the Kindle version. Thanks!

The Fire Finder March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I stumbled onto this site through researching Thesis Theme for my site and I am really amazed at your posts. I have read a few of your articles and really feel like you have a great niche here. I have a question about this post and hopefully you can help. I want to write about something and it scares me but it is about a topic that I do not know a lot about but I want to learn along with my followers and in turn, help us both. I don’t know if anyone else is doing it the way I see it in my head, so it scares me in that I haven’t seen it anywhere because I think people are afraid to attempt it and fail in front of everyone and also, since I have never done it or know how to actually do it yet, I am not sure if I should attempt it. But because I feel like that it makes me want to do it even more to prove that I and anyone else can do it. If you could let me know your thoughts I would really be thankful.

Dorian DeWick March 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

Awesome! Great stuff Corbett. This post really strikes a chord with me. You’ve essentially written about how we can all find our passion.I’ve been trying to find mine by reading other blogs, but nothing’s come close to this. Great writing speaks to the unconcious, and you’ve done so, magnificently.

Bobi March 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I needed to read this. I’m definitely going to do what you said. What I’m scared to admit on my blog is that sometimes I really don’t like my hair and when you have a blog about hair that isn’t something you want to say out loud to your readers. But I’m going to b/c if some of them hate their hair too, I don’t want them to feel alone. I’ll be sure to link back to it.

L March 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hm… I guess I could start by using my real name, not a fake name. I recently started my blog (like 2 weeks ago) so it’s not to late. I don’t nkow what posessed me to choose a fake name. I’ll be sure to link back to this post.

Dindy April 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

Corbett, you “write epic shit.”. So refreshing to read something that makes me sit up, pay attention and read every word. Reposted, Tweeted and signed up for your newsletter. Keep rocking my world and I will only need one espresso rather than three at the 4pm slump.

Corbett April 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I’ll take that as a big compliment, thanks Dindy!

Kadie Kelly November 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

Hi there-I am now a huge fan of yours. I recently learned of you because I did something that has been scaring the shit out of me for years-I started writing a series of emails to friends – from the perspective of a fictional character, who I created, based on my life experiences. I shared it with a colleague of mine who emailed me a link to your blog. I love what you are doing and your encouraging words are like really exciting. I have just begun to do some of the most scary things I have always wanted to do. Thanks for being on the same page. I will be moving forward, so let me know if you want to be on my list. Happy Thanksgiving. With much love, gratitude and happiness, Kadie Kelly, author of Katie Epstein’s Life

Corbett Barr November 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

Hey Kadie, thanks so much. Congrats on getting over your fear. I hope it leads somewhere amazing for you!

Eric Cole December 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm

While my first post at Inner Tracks may not quite make the epic shit grade, it is out there. Now, I’m in the epic shit mind set while coming up with ideas for future posts. Which I’m discovering I have no shortage of because I’m allowing myself to consider ideas that are not “safe.” Oh and combining the golden circle thinking from that TEDTalk you linked to today with the epic shit mind set is powerful stuff! Thanks!

Spot a Leopard July 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Lol, I gotta tell you I had this blog post idea for sometime now but the only thing that’s stopping me from publishing it is my friends’ would-be reactions. Working title is What Were You Thinking Posting These 5 Things on FaceBook. It got me chicken feet because I have a large network and half of them are present in my post.

Reading this actually made me finish my post and will publish it asap as soon as it’s polished and those death-inducing GIFs are installed.

Thank you!

Hector Cuevas February 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I see what you mean.. there are definitely topics that would need several tutorial videos to really explain fully. ..and great point about “some people getting away with less”. Darren Rowse did put together his 30 days to a better blog ebook by combining a series of blog posts that were available on the blog for free.

Daniel February 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm

In a way it’s a game or hobby. Being paranoid I mean. Like when I was a teenager and read the many adventures of Sherlock Holmes for the first time and then went around inspecting things for minute clues. In any case…Thanks for checking the post out.

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