Are you your biggest obstacle? How an Idealist got over her fear of blogging for social change

Guest blogger Stefanie Muldrow shares her journey of overcoming fear to begin blogging for social good.

“Just do it.”

I stared at my wedding photographer from across our sticky cafe table. She repeated herself: “Just–,” she paused, “do it.” A quick meeting to discuss contract details had become a heart-to-heart as Emily described using her savings after college graduation to pursue her dream and start a photography business.

I admired her for this boldness and confessed that since college I’d been dreaming of starting a blog that promotes social good and community engagement but I had never managed to begin. Her response of “Just do it” addressed the fears I’d been grappling with in three quick, convicted words. That evening, I signed up for a website and began—finally.

penheart

Adapted from a photo by Flickr user Divine Harvester (Creative Commons).

I have always loved to volunteer but it was not until after a service trip to rural Honduras my senior year that I decided to make a bigger commitment to the greater good. Volunteering at a school and an orphanage there, I came face-to-face with poverty and tragedy. But I was also surrounded by hope from the community in spite of it all. Our final day as I departed down the dusty, dirt road to the airport I knew I wanted to be part of that hope somehow.

That feeling only intensified after I graduated a few months later. I searched for a way to use my skill—writing—to inspire hope. I settled on a blog as the medium for this. By writing I felt I could raise awareness about the causes I felt strongly about—education, poverty, and youth issues—and also give visibility to those who are doing things, big and small, to improve the world.

But as I developed the idea in my head, I began to doubt myself: When would I find time? Am I qualified? What if it’s terrible and I fail miserably? Would I even make a difference? It took three bold words from a near stranger two years after the trip to silence my fears. Now that my blog is up and running, I find it so fulfilling and I wish I’d began much earlier.

What I’ve learned along the way

1. The closest thing to the “perfect time” to start is now.
You will make time if it’s something you feel strongly about. One of my largest obstacles was waiting for the “right time” to begin. “Summer break” became “after I graduate from college” which became “when I find a job.” Soon I realized that if I wanted to start before I retired it was now or never. When I finally began blogging I could not wait to get home from work and start on material for the next post.

2. Passion will fill in gaps in expertise.
I wanted my blog to address a variety of issues but I was not an expert; all I had was volunteer experience and a fire for a number of causes. However, when research for a post would lead me to an interesting and unfamiliar concept or movement, I would fervently investigate it. I believe that my passion to make a difference was (and still is) the force behind my thirst for knowledge.

3. Take yourself seriously (and others will too).
The first few months of setting up my blog I kept it a secret. I worked hard on posts that no one even read. It took time for me to realize that if I wanted to make a difference I was the first one that needed to believe that my efforts to make a difference were worth supporting. I started letting my friends, family and coworkers know about what I was trying to achieve. Now they are my best scouts for new post ideas.

4. You are not alone.
After creating a Twitter account for my blog, I learned that there were many others like me who were using similar websites to make a difference. I have had more success networking on Twitter than I have had at all of my college’s career center networking events combined. As soon as you can, find and connect with people who share a common goal. Their support will help you remember that your efforts are part of something bigger and will give you vitality when the going gets tough.

So you have an idea? Great! Don’t let your fear control you for another second. Just do it.

stefanie bio pic resizedStefanie is a Washington, D.C. -based writer passionate about encouraging others to start making a difference. At her blog, The Silver Lining Chronicles, she writes about community engagement, social good and philanthropy. When she’s not writing, she enjoys volunteering, gardening, and photography. Follow Stefanie on Twitter @_BeyondtheCloud.

Tags: , , , , , , ,





Comments (5)


  1. Tex writes:
    June 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for your inspiring words. I hope people take action from this, myself included!


  2. KirkDewit writes:
    June 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


  3. ConnieSta writes:
    June 15, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!


  4. Adrienne writes:
    June 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Stefanie!
    This is a very inspirational post for me. I started my blog about 1 year ago. I wrote a few days’ worth of postings, but did not pursue the networking aspect of it. Needless to say, the only eyes viewing my blog were mine. I think I will revisit it and start connecting with others who have similar interests to mine.
    Great job!


  5. Nonprofit Blogging Resources | A Listly List writes:
    September 8, 2013 at 12:36 am

    […] Are you your biggest obstacle? How an Idealist got over her fear of blogging for social change […]


Sorry, commenting is now closed on Idealists in Action.
Check out our new blog and join the Idealist Network conversation on the Connector Hub.



Like what you're reading?

Subscribe and get fresh daily updates from Idealists in Action.