Just Shut Up and Ship It

I’m writing this post to myself.  And sharing it just in case you need the same reminder I do.

The past two weeks I’ve written far more than I’ve published on this blog.

I write and I write.

And then I hit “Save Draft” instead of “Publish.”

The post is done.  Almost.  I want to tweak and edit.  Because I’m sure it’s not perfect yet.

The voice in my head whisper, and sometimes scream…

What if it’s not good enough…

What if it comes across wrong… or someone disagrees…

What if someone doesn’t like it and leaves a comment to tell me I’m (insert scary judgement here)…

What if there’s a typo, or a sentence is out of place, or I remember later I forgot something…

What if no one reads it… or people read it and don’t like it…

On and on the voices go.  I have to get past that and SHIP (meaning, let go and get it OUT there, as in “ship the package”).

Will I share even before it’s perfect?  Is it worth the risk of failure or ridicule?

Do I have the courage to just share it and trust it’ll help who it’s meant to help?  Am I willing to be okay with the fact that sometimes that might even just be ME?

That’s what it takes.  I can’t encourage you to get out there and blog every day this month if I’m not doing it.  I’d sure as skippy better be leading by example!

Here’s the “lead by example” thought I’m sharing with you today:  I have those voices in my head, too.  If you have them, you aren’t alone.

So there it is.  And here’s what it takes to get past it:

What is your art?  Is it your blogging or writing?  What do you create?  What’s waiting for YOU to ship it and put it out there into the world?

Your take?  Got voices in your head, too?  How do you deal with them?

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  1. Love this encouragement, Michelle! Whatever our art it is about shipping (as Seth Godin reminds us). Get it out the door!

    This week, I loaded several photographs I’d taken to an online art site. I’m a beginning hobby photographer, and I’m nervous about putting them out there…but I will improve…until then, it’s good to keep the flow of creativity moving out of my door (or from my computer) onto the web.

    Thanks for the great reminder. This is an awesome post.
    Steve Rice recently posted… Life is Like a River–Let it FlowMy Profile

    1. That’s awesome, Steve! Great job getting it out there.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  2. Ah yes, the endless cycle of write-edit-draft-write-edit-draft. I get caught there all of the time! Of course I do it while working on blog posts, but I also do it for school papers and even my Facebook posts! It’s a terrible cycle to be in. Thank you for the timely reminder to just ship it!
    Miss Riki recently posted… Wordless Wednesday-4th of JulyMy Profile

    1. It’s easy to get caught in that whirlpool. But we’re in great company and it’s worth the effort to fight our way out and publish/ship. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Just Shut Up and Ship ItMy Profile

  3. Voices inside my head @Michelle? You betcha. Some of them cheer me on and some hold me back.
    I’m doing more to encourage the positive. Regarding your hesitation to hit “publish” and then find a typo or sentence out of place, you know you can always go back and fix it (that’s the beauty of WordPress, right?).

    So far, anything I’ve ever read by you has been inspirational and/or educational. And, by the comments you receive, I’d say there are other readers out there who will agree with me. You rock my friend.
    Debra Jason recently posted… Do You Embrace Change?My Profile

    1. Yes, encourage those positive voices!! :)

      And thank you, I appreciate the kind words.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s the Only Thing You Should DoubtMy Profile

  4. I also have this problem, and the worst part is that I’m Portuguese so I’m always worried that I’m not writing right… I edit and edit again. But I think I’ll get better with some practice…

    1. Lena, I love one of the things Adam Urbanski says often, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly to start with.” And, he’s a great example of why accents and imperfect English don’t have to hold you back. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  5. Resonates with me, Michelle, not so much with blogging these days, but with the web application I’ve been going to launch for the last year … that ‘isn’t quite ready’. I’ve been writing today about the Minimum Viable Product – an idea introduced by Eric Ries, who believes that’s the key to a successful start-up: putting out the product, or concept … or blog-post … early – to see what people make of it. Sometimes the things that we think are the least successful are the ones our readers or users like best. And sometimes they see an angle that we didn’t.

    Thanks for all the great work you’re doing with UBC. I’m enjoying the ride.’
    Alan Miles recently posted… Jumping to Self-Employment: 10 Tips For A Soft LandingMy Profile

    1. Agreed – it’s a great model to follow.

      And there are so many places we can get stuck with that “perfection” chase, beyond blogging. Products, writing, art, programs, books… get it to great, then ship it. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  6. The thing I hesitate most with is the information products I create. I don’t why but I really procrastinate at even getting them started sometimes though once I actually start the big job it seems to be isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought.

    With blog posts I also do the same. Just today I started one and then hesitated and hit the ‘Trash’ button. Mostly I do it when I think I’m writing something people will find boring or uninteresting.

    Good to hear I’m not the only one who goes through this, and the advice to just go for it. Overthinking is not the way to get out there.

    This blog challenge is GREAT to that end. You don’t have days to think about it when you’ve committed to writing one post per day!
    Angela Wills recently posted… Free WordPress Training: Tutorials to help you learnMy Profile

    1. Yep, that’s why the challenge works so well for so many bloggers–it forces us to get past a little bit of that perfectionist. ;)

      I’ve had the same challenge with programs/products. I LOVE creating them once I get started, but the getting started can be tough.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  7. Michelle…are you in my head? Usually, I write only when I have something to say, but I always agonize about it. This is worth tacking to my forehead….or at least my monitor.
    Thank you.
    Peace and good.
    Chelle recently posted… Simple pleasures…. (this could become a habit, or at least a series)My Profile

    1. I haven’t quite perfected my mind melding skills, but I have found I’m in great company with the things that are challenging for me — and there’s something wonderful about just knowing we’re not alone in what we’re struggling with and knowing how others get past it. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  8. Is there anyone who doesn’t have those voices?
    I am even worse with info products, I have several sat on my hard-drive and just not got the guts to get them out there. What’s stopping me? I know my info is good, but is it the layout just right, does it speak to my audience.
    I tell people good enough is good enough, perfection isn’t required – yet I’m useless at taking my own advice!
    Thanks for the kick, I’ll shut up and ship :)

    1. Right, I totally get that. It’s the cobbler’s children need new shoes syndrome. :) We know it’s great advice and can help others through it, but it’s tough to be our own coach/motivator/fixer.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  9. The art of helping people follow-through is my gift. Yes…to the voices. When they says, “where’s the research to back that claim” the post sits in the hopper. When they says, “that sounds lame” it sits.

    How do I deal with them? I tell them, “thank you for sharing. Thank you for your concerned for me and wanting only the best for me. I promise to get in touch with you if I need to take my esteem down a notch or waste a few hours in worry.” The voices usually quiet down long enough for me to get back to work.
    Rachel Z. Cornell recently posted… What are your declarations worth to you?My Profile

    1. I love that approach, Rachel. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile

  10. There’s always a little nagging voice telling me that I suck and no one will want to read my rubbish. This morning, for example, I was in a lot of pain, so I decided to write about my pain issues and how I am a big wuss when my pain isn’t nearly half as bad as my mother’s is. I’m surprised I received positive feedback (or any feedback at all considering it’s a major holiday.)

    I’ve always been my own worst critic. But I have learned to just ignore the negative thoughts and get whatever is on my mind out of my system. If I don’t, it will just nag at me for God only knows how long.
    Angie Hottentots-Laurel recently posted… I Wish I Could Be More Like MamaMy Profile

    1. So many of us are, Angie. We’re so hard on ourselves sometimes. But the doubts make us human and are part of our connection to each other. I hope you’re feeling better and the pain isn’t as bad today.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s the Only Thing You Should DoubtMy Profile

  11. That’s such a powerful quote, Michelle. I don’t usually have a problem with blogging, but I do with putting my products and services out there. I have to tell the voices to shut up quite often!
    Leanne Chesser recently posted… How Personality Affects How You Manage Your TimeMy Profile

    1. I keep joking that I need that quote tattooed somewhere on me. lol It IS a powerful reminder!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  12. Happens to me all of the time! I have so many unpublished drafts just sitting around. I feel like I’m either complaining too much, my blog doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I just write about a half formed thought and 3/4ths of the way through the blog I realize what I was trying to say the whole time, and realizing it could be said it one to two sentences. It takes a lot to realize that my personal blog is just that… personal — it’s about ME and MY life. Great if it helps others or they are inspired by it. Sure that’s what I shoot for with my writing. But it’s also a huge outlet for me to be able to just sit down and write. It doesn’t always matter if it’s a completely finished blog or there are imperfections here and there, and maybe even everywhere — but that’s OKAY. It will never, ever be perfect.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and words! =)
    Nikki Riddle recently posted… Ultimate Blog ChallengeMy Profile

    1. Hey Nikki, accepting that it might not ever be perfect gives us permission to just share. I’d love to say mine is perfect but I think we could all get a giggle out of that. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  13. Oh I was so happy to see this post as you have just described me to a tee. I always worry that I am pushy in what I post or that I may offend somebody. I save drafts constantly when I know I should have published. I am hoping that I can do it a bit more easily by the time I am finished.
    I am so appreciative of all the help your tips and the UBC is giving me because I would never have set up my blog and promoted it as much as I have if it wasn’t for you.
    Keith Addison recently posted… Do you ever feel tired,I mean really tired?My Profile

    1. You’re in great company, Keith. So many of us struggle with that. I’ve gotten MUCH better over the years (even 6 months ago I wouldn’t have dared use the words “Shut Up” in a headline! ha ha). The first blog challenge I participated in helped a ton and every time I do it again I move a little further down the road. I would say it gets easier but I like the way Brian Tracy says it better: “It never gets easier, you just get better.”
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  14. As there is always room for improvement, we just have to make a decision at one point, right? Sp, why not now? I have run into old blog posts and found things that I should not have said – at least not that way. But this then is actually a good opportunity to either correct it – or write a new revised post.
    Merlin Silk recently posted… When Loved-Ones Stop YouMy Profile

    1. Exactly! And I love that perspective, Merlin–the perfect opportunity to write another post! :)

  15. Michelle,
    What great advice. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Press that publish button for it never will be perfect. Proof read a couple of times, spell check, punctuation and then publish. There will be imperfections, it makes us human. Besides their are probably errors in tis comment.

    David at http://GiveItAThought.com
    David Duane Wilson recently posted… Visualization, Use A Vision Board To RefocusMy Profile

    1. Our humanity is what helps us connect to each other. I’d rather create relationships with real, imperfect but impassioned people than perfect robots. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile

  16. hehe voices in my head! o.O How did you know?!

    I have enough drafts to fill at least 2 weeks LOL Of course most of them were started as “note to self” via my crappy socalled smart phone. But there are at least the beginnings of 12 + posts that I just need to add a little bit to and hit the publish button ;) YAY

    As for hitting the publish button for the ones that get there? I really do not sit on them and reedit or reread. I really do just write, add an image (which is what takes the longest for me LOLz) and send it off. It’s like playing eenie meenie miney moe — or maybe roullette o.O sometimes I hit the nail on the head and sometimes I don’t. But that’s okay because I know those post will get to the one person it was meant for eventually! I really am the eternal optimist :D
    Kimberly ~ Gypsy recently posted… WP Wednesday ~ Simple & Elegant Social Media IconsMy Profile

    1. Eternal optimism helps. :) I do not want to admit how many drafts I’ve got sitting in my posts… but I could fill more than two months worth of blogging… significantly more…
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s the Only Thing You Should DoubtMy Profile

  17. Another great encouragement, Michelle. I’m so glad you shipped it. Thanks.
    Bonnie Anderson recently posted… Happy Birthday, America!My Profile

    1. I ignored the voices! ;) Sometimes it just takes that 20 seconds of courage to hit publish. And surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, you can tell which posts I hesitate on based on how many “you fight that? me too!!” comments I get.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  18. Wise words Michelle. I think many people suffer from this. The best thing is to get the message out there and trust that we have done a good enough job.
    Neil Butterfield recently posted… Top Excuses For Not ExercisingMy Profile

    1. Many do. And you’re right– just got to trust that we’ve done good enough to share the message we want to share and let it fly.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile

  19. I just duct taped the voices inside my head, so there….

    1. Duct tape truly CAN fix anything!! ha ha Love it, Ronda.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  20. It took me ages to put up my first posts – (I’ve only just begun) – not only because of my technical incompetence but because of the sheer terror of looking stupid in front of other people and then lo and behold, when I’ve done it I found that people are rather nice and friendly. You’re right – you just got to jump in!
    Michael Cameron recently posted… And in my beginning – the writer’s dilemaMy Profile

    1. Most people truly are wonderful. And I’ve discovered it’s NOT the end of the world when you run into the ones who aren’t. :) Not everyone connects and that’s okay. The more I’ve accepted that, the easier it’s been to hit publish.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  21. I so relate to this post Michelle! I don’t have it so much for my blog posts but I agonize over my newsletters. Thanks so much for the reminder to just show up and do it!


    1. I do that with newsletters, too, Monick. It’s a toss up for me on which is tougher! lol
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Content ConsistentMy Profile

  22. Love this post – I’ve stopped striving for “perfection” and am focusing more on the moment and seeing that imperfection in itself is perfection – because it’s who I am – imperfect…Loved & shared on Twitter!

    1. I adore the way you phrased that, Glenda — imperfection in itself is perfection. Beautiful.

  23. It’s Refusin’ Roy, here.
    I disagree. I write my blogs in advance. Long in advance. Which also gives my ideas further time to gestate in this block above my mouth…So, that when the time to post comes nigh, I can review what I wrote and be truly critical. Does it deserve the light of day? Is the subject matter now moot? Is this the best i can do? I either erase the post, letting it float among the ethers (never to see the light of the web) or i tweak it to insure that it deserves its presentation on my blog…
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… It’s not “until death do us part…”My Profile

    1. Hey Roy, I always appreciate your challenging perspectives. :) I agree there’s definitely benefits to writing in advance and reviewing posts before we share. I admire your approach and dedication to sharing only your best.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile

  24. Hey, are you in my head again? Heehee! I so resonate. I’ve had to really tell my inner critics to shut up, especially the past year, due to my book writing process. Right now, I’ve been shipping out the jams, meaning getting my first microphones for podcasting and singing. Oh, heck, I was scared to hear my voice. I mean, what if I don’t sing like Stevie Nicks, right? Hee! So, hearing my own voice wasn’t too bad. I’ve read my own voice, but not heard it. Just have to feel the fear of imperfection and yes, ship, ship, ship it out. If someone criticizes, it’s only ’cause they don’t have the courage or moxie to ship it out too :)
    Lisa recently posted… Are You Being a B*tch…To Yourself?My Profile

    1. That’s awesome, Lisa. And it’s a continual process, isn’t it? As soon as we get good at “shipping” one thing there’s another waiting for us — words to voice and so on.

      I listen to all my teleseminars/webinars afterwards and at first it was really tough to listen to myself. I’ve gotten more used to it and there’s such value in critiquing ourselves and learning from it.

  25. Voices are there all the time:) Thanks for the reminder to just go for it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

    1. Yes, go for it! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  26. I am especially guilty of having ‘drifting drafts’. I have hundreds of them. If I completed them – I’d have a years worth of daily posts. It’s almost shocking to wake up to that fact.

    It’s obvious to me in this moment – that I have been ‘resisting something’ – and rather than what I have been calling it “just not having the energy for it”.

    I think on some level – this is funny to me now.
    Anne Preston recently posted… Self Leadership – When Someone You Know is Being ResistantMy Profile

    1. Sometimes the smallest perspective shifts can make a big difference. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  27. Thanks Michelle,
    I have those voices in my head, especially the one that says my work is not good enough. So I just do the work, take a deep breath and press post. I still get butterflies in my stomach every time I press post. So thanks for motivating me to keep posting and not getting to bogged down with perfection.

    1. Yep, just keep going! The butterflies stick around but I think we get better at dealing with them. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… The Easy Way to Create Your Own InfographicsMy Profile

  28. What? Really? You mean not all the way 100% perfect could be good enough? Whew!

    (Hmmm… I wrote that and then realized I was sitting here wondering if I should add anything else.)

    Nope! It’s good to go as is!

  29. Hi Michelle,

    Spot on as usual. I suppose it’s good for the rest of us to know that deep down we are all the same. Loved the title. Thanks
    Madonna recently posted… No Posts Were Found!My Profile

    1. That’s one of the most valuable things about my mastermind group to me, Madonna. Learning that I’m *not* alone (or crazy) my the challenges, questions, and fears.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile


    yes I just discovered 40 plus posts either almost complete or started yesterday so your post resonates with me.
    Love the Seth words and image
    now I am off to complete a couple of those so called draft for the next few days posts

    1. Way to take action, Suzie!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  31. That is funny. I do sometimes save things as draft but I probably have more of theTurretts kinda problem where I just blast stuff out there without looking at it closely ENOUGH. lol… This sure is a fun challenge, though, Michelle! Thanks for thinking of this! I am really enjoying the community of seeing all the blogs and have a few read my posts. So glad I signed up!
    Amy Putkonen recently posted… Want to Be Famous One Day?My Profile

    1. LOL Yes, we can go too far the other way. :) It’s worth pausing for a moment to make sure we do want to put it out there.

      Glad you’re enjoying the challenge! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Content ConsistentMy Profile

  32. I think you are way too hard on yourself Michelle. Your posts are well written, insightful and thought provoking. Keep em coming and keep entertaining and informing us. :-)
    Wade recently posted… Cheating is okay!My Profile

    1. Hey Wade, I appreciate that. Isn’t it interesting how differently we sometimes view ourselves than the world around us see us?
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  33. Oh, Michelle, Michelle, thanks for the reminder that, more often than not, our inner dialogue has no connection with reality. It’s just our fear talking to us.

    Fear is a great morpher (probably not a word). The best way to overcome fear is to do the thing you’re afraid to do. It will build your courage muscle and make it easier and easier to move forward in spite of fear.

    You’re a prolific blogger and you share rich, relevant, useful content for your readers. They appreciate your offerings and take the time to comment. And yet, you question your ability. I always knew you were human and now I know I’m right. :-)

    Keep doing what you’re doing because you do it well.
    Adalia John recently posted… 21 Habits of Successful PeopleMy Profile

    1. Ooooh definitely human. :)

      One of my favorite quotes came to mind when I read your comment: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

      It’s so true, isn’t it? Somehow the “doing” of what we fear makes us realize there’s no reason to be afraid.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s the Only Thing You Should DoubtMy Profile

  34. Geez, I wish I had this problem! I struggle to come up with enough stuff to write about. I don’t want to post the same ol’ stuff, so if it’s not unique, at least in some little way, I won’t bother. And that’s even if I can come up with the content ideas to start with.

    1. Theresa, I came up against that in this post — so many others have written about this same challenge. :) But I remind myself that just because I’ve heard it before doesn’t mean my readers have, and the way I share something will be unique to me if I stick to my own voice. That helps me. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile

  35. This one should be framed, Michelle! This is so common. The unfortunate thing is, so many people feel “I’m the only one who is afraid to put myself out there!”. When nothing could be further from the truth.

    Kate Winslet, the youngest person to accrue six Academy Award nominations, can’t stand to watch herself on screen. (True!) At some point you just gotta get over this.

    I had a colleague who posted a cool graphic to her FB page that got her 4,000+ likes in 5 days. But also brought out a few haters. Personally, that is a ratio I will do every day to Sunday.

    I have colleague who says, “If I’m not getting some hate mail, I’m not doing my job!”. The upside soooo outweighs the downside.

    1. It is something so many of us have in common. At first I was surprised how quickly this post hit my top commented list. And then I sat back and went, “Yeah, that makes total sense.” To think I almost didn’t write it!

      If Kate Winslet gets nervous about seeing her art, we’re all in great company! :)

      I remember the first time I got a negative response to a blog post I’d written. There was a blog post written about how wrong I was and why on a particular blogging strategy. For a moment, I couldn’t decide between crying about it or being excited because someone had noticed me and disagreed for that exact reason, Rob — maybe I was finally doing my job.

      After the initial shock, I went with the middle ground of get the emotion out then reasonably leave a nice comment on the blog to thank them for the traffic and their perspective in an “agree to disagree” thought (they never published it). Still, the experience did help as I realized it truly wouldn’t kill me if someone publicly disagreed with me. In a weird way, it was quite a relief to know I could handle that.

      Would have actually loved to bring them in an open discussion about it and would have invited them to guest blog over here with the opposite perspective if they’ve published my comment and engaged with me. What I shared absolutely worked for me and many of my clients and colleagues but not everything works for everyone and I think it could have been such a cool thing to get into more.

      Like you said, upside outweighs the downside and so many possibilities of ways to spin it into good things!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Let’s Try a Different Kind of ChallengeMy Profile

  36. Love this! Relauched my blog today after a little hiatus and though I was pretty fearless before, this time all of the above popped in my head. Took me hours to let it go. I shut down ‘the voices’ by looking up great sites like this! Thanks!

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