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Why Self-Promotion is Hard and How to Do it Anyway

Hello, dear readers! Today’s post is a little different from the norm. Often, when I receive emails or messages, I’m asked less about DIY and more about writing/blogging/creativity/life. So, once a week or so, I hope to share a post along those lines. I’d love your feedback, and hope to make this a regular thing. xo

Why Self-Promotion is Hard and How to Do it Anyway

The struggle is real, and it’s fairly universal among writers and creatives.

paint brushes

I started writing here in March.

Since then, I’ve shared my profile link exactly zero times with 99% of my friends and family.

This week, I started a Patreon account and have shared it on my blog’s Facebook page and nowhere else. I haven’t sent out emails to friends and family as they suggest, I haven’t shared to Instagram or Twitter or even created a blog post promoting it.

I’ve been blogging for a decade and can count on two hands the number of times I’ve shared one of my 1500 posts on personal pages.

I just don’t do self-promotion well. Never have. Maybe you’re the same?

I received my first patron a few hours after I posted about my new page. She’s a good friend and she chose my most expensive tier.

Was I excited to have my first patron? YES. Did I also lose sleep that night fretting about whether or not I “deserved” her patronage and did I have enough interesting things to offer? Also, YES.

Self-promotion is, quite simply, hard for so many of us writers and creatives, and for a variety of reasons.

For me, I tend to believe that if my friends and family want to keep up with my professional/creative life, they’ll follow me on those accounts. If they don’t, then they’re just not interested and I should save my breath.

There’s also a tendency, I think, for creative people to feel some insecurity about what they’re putting out into the world. It’s a natural, and, I daresay, an integral part of the process.

As American film director Francis Ford Coppola, states,

“I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”

Reassuring words, of course, and it’s always nice to know I’m not alone, but it doesn’t exactly solve my self-promotion dilemma.

There are a few things I’ve found, however, that do help.

Let me be transparent and state for the record that I don’t write about self-promotion because I have it all figured out. I write about it to figure it out and hopefully help others along the way.

More than anything, what has helped me become more comfortable with promoting my work is this: 

I‘m absolutely crazy about supporting my creative friends in any way I can, and I should give my own friends the opportunity to do the same for me.

Really. Knowing what’s important to those close to me, and encouraging them, whether it’s with my words, shares, or dollars, is important. Why wouldn’t I let those who love me do the same?

Secondly, self-promotion is a muscle. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become with it.

There’s a balance that needs to be here, of course. We all have those friends we mute on social media because they just can’t quit with the doTerra/Stella & Dot/Rodan+Fields/whatever else they’re into at the moment.

 There’s a big difference, though, between letting your friends know what you’re up to and posting six times a day about it.

That balance is the sweet spot, and it’s one I’m striving for.

And so, I’m going to aim to self-promote my work once a week until it becomes more comfortable.

It won’t be easy, but I owe it to my friends and family, my art, and myself.