The Timid Writer’s Path to Confidence

Confident writing tips

“I am taking on my personal fear: the fear of being read, the fear of being judged.”

That’s a quote from the first blog post I ever wrote in 2006 and explains why I called my blog Get In the Hot Spot. But after that bold declaration I chickened out and never wrote another blog post until 2009. Fear and low confidence held my writing back  for years.

I’ll  never say my writing fears have gone. Every time I hit publish on my blog I worry that no one will read, enjoy or share what I wrote. But I’ve learned to write, publish and share my writing anyway.

Not every blog post will go viral. Some will bomb. But the very act of writing helps improve my writing, and knowing I have amazing readers makes me want to write as best I can. I’ve learnt to manage my fear of being read and judged, not be ruled by it. And sometimes I even feel confident about my writing.

That confidence has come from writing a blog and I hope blogging and writing is helping you change your life too. Now we’ve got Successful Blogging for the business stuff, I’m happy that Get In the Hot Spot can focus on writing and storytelling and I look forward to sharing more travel stories and writing tips with you here.

Most of all I’m happy, and very grateful, that blogging and writing allows us all to find our voice, share our stories and help each other learn and grow.

My First Blog Post, April 3 2006

“Wow, just spent the hour between 5 and 6am creating a blog. After the usual hassles with choosing a password and deciding on a memorable, meaningful and easy to spell name, I now discover my blog doesn’t exist except in my imagination.

I’m setting myself a personal challenge to write, if not daily, then at least on a regular basis. As Joe Rogan (the host of Fear Factor) would say, I am here ‘to stare fear in the face’. I am taking on my personal fear: the fear of being read, the fear of being judged.

Hmm, maybe I need to publish this to get the ball rolling. So here goes, welcome to my world…”

From Timid Copywriter to Confident and Published Writer

Look how short that blog post was. Now I’ve written hundreds of much longer blog posts and hundreds of thousands of words.

Blogging has taken me from timid copywriter to confident, well paid, versatile writer and I’ll always be glad I gave blogging a go. Where I used to hide behind my writing and prefer to remain anonymous, now I’m proud to put my name to my work and confident that, although my writing will never be perfect, it’s definitely getting better.

Join Me for Writing Tips and Off Beat Travel Stories

Thanks for reading. It’s amazing how far I’ve come in a few years and I couldn’t have done it without my kind supporters and readers.

Add your comments below if you wish and remember to subscribe by email now or to the RSS feed so you don’t miss out.

Good luck with all your plans! Annabel

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  1. Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    PS. That’s my daughter in the photo taken 2006. We’ve both come a long way:)

    • Elle B March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      I was wondering. She’s adorable!

      • Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

        Yes, what’s that song… she looks like an angel…. :)

  2. Nicholas Sack March 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Very inspiring story! Opening yourself up to billions of potential readers can indeed be intimidating, but I am glad you pulled through it! Best of luck on your future writing!

    • Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Nicholas, thanks for commenting first:) It’s true there are billions of potential readers out there but for the first 6 months of blogging no one was reading my blog at all.

      In the last 7 days Google analytics recorded 6,509 visitors here which is incredible. No wonder I feel motivated to improve my blog and my writing:) I’m so lucky to be reaching a wide audience and am excited about growing my blog more in the years to come. Many thanks for joining us.

  3. Elle B March 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    As a fairly new reader of your blog(s), I was wondering about the name “Get In The Hot Spot.” You come across as so personable and confident, I would never have guessed that your fears mirror my own! But blogging IS improving my writing and confidence, so I guess it’s like a feedback loop. Thanks for sharing thoughts from your early days.

    • Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Elle, what you say is true and that’s why I really do love my readers. I wrote my blog to try to bring them confidence and joy to travel and be their best selves. Then they gave me confidence and joy with their feedback on my writing. Now I try even harder to give it back to them:) It’s an endless cycle of giving and fulfillment. Mwah, thank you Elle, a lovely reader and writer:)

  4. Catherine White March 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    What a gorgeous photo Annable, you’re daughter is a cutie :-)

  5. Suellen March 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    Another wonderfully honest and appealing post. Every time I hit the publish button I feel a little nervous butterfly flitter around in my tummy. At least now I write, read, have my husband review, edit then publish. I used to read, rewrite, read, read, read, read, wait, wait and then publish. I guess, I’m getting more confident slowly.

    • Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Suellen, ah, that’s why your writing is so good:) All that editing. I’m the same. No need for advice from hubby any more – he always tells me not to publish! But getting less strict with my self-editing. I suppose the first drafts are getting better so that helps. As always it’s a case of practice making well, not perfect but definitely better:) Thanks for commenting and so glad to hear you’re getting more confident too.

  6. Red Nomad OZ March 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Aha! So I’m not alone … but if I’d waited until my first blog post was perfect, I wouldn’t have published anything!! Now for me, blogging is a reverse Catch-22 in that the more I write, the more I post – that leads to more readers and more comments, so I write more!!

    And as for a post going viral? I used to want that – but now I write for myself and my readers without wondering whether I’ll hit paydirt … Ironically, my most popular post is Australia’s Scenic Public Toilets #4 – god knows why as it’s neither my best writing nor a great photo!! If I’d been asked to pick my best post, that wouldn’t be it!! So go figure …

    Have a great day, Marion

    • Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Red, lol, Australia’s Scenic Public Toilets #4! It just goes to show that we never know what will be popular until we get out of our comfort zone and start experimenting.

      “the more I write, the more I post – that leads to more readers and more comments, so I write more!! ” This is so true and well done for doing it. Now my blogs are set up I hope to be doing more writing too. But first I have to help my clients! Maybe after Easter:)

  7. Sandra / Always Well Within March 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm - Reply


    I’m so happy you will be writing about writing and storytelling here too (in addition to travel). Now that I can get behind! I’m so happy Get in the Hot Spot will still be part of my life! :)

    • Annabel Candy March 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Sandra, I can’t let you slip away:) I definitely want to help my readers and me at the same time as that’s what’s worked for me here before. There’s only so much I can say about formatting blog posts and the like but I think we can have a lot of fun learning about storytelling and trying it out. It seems to me that it’s a key element in any type of writing and I think it will be fun. I’m looking forward to learning and practicing the art of storytelling myself and would love it if you join me:)

  8. rob white March 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Yes indeed, Annabel. I’m sure all writers can attest to that flush of fear and doubt that comes with staring at a blank screen. All the howling voices of NO and WOE have a wonderful opportunity to flood our minds. Nature intends for us to express our superlatively creative nature. When we see those NO’s as imposters; we are using our minds to heal our mind of the toxic effect that WOE and NO impose on us.

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:16 am - Reply

      Hi Rob, thanks for commenting. Love the no and woe syndrome – or getting rid of it! I don’t seem to get writer’s block – I have ideas and can write but showing people what I’ve read is scary. A lot of what I write here is personal and exposing that makes us vulnerable….

  9. barbara March 10, 2011 at 2:33 am - Reply

    Annabel, Isn’t it amazing how blogging can improve your writing? When I recently went back and looked at some of my early posts I had to go in and edit them. Not that I expect anyone will go that deep into my archive, but it just made me feel better.

    I’ve learned to use Word for my drafts, which has a grammar edit feature. Sometimes I ignore it, but it’s good for guidance. I want the writing to be correct and precise but I also want it to be my true voice. That can be a conflict at times.

    The community you’ve created is testimony to your abilities. We’ve all benefited from each other over the past year. Thanks for that!

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:18 am - Reply

      Hi Barbara, totally agree, I’m horrified by what my early posts look like:) We really have got a fabulous community here of blossoming (definitely a step above budding!) and advernturous writers with amazing stories to tell. Thank you for being part of it.

  10. Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker March 10, 2011 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    This post really touched me. You and I are similar regarding why we started to blog and why we continue today. Like you, blogging has made me a better writer and has helped me articulate things that perhaps I never would have.

    My blog may never be famous, but it’s good medicine for my soul and that’s good enough for me.


    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:20 am - Reply

      Hi Alex, blogging as soul food. I love that and feel the same way:)

  11. Dave Doolin March 10, 2011 at 3:20 am - Reply

    It’s curious, because while I am not very social (or rather, it’s more accurate to say I’m intermittently social), I cannot stand to write anonymously.

    It feels like theft, like someone is stealing from me, when I do not get named credit for my writing. And I absolutely do not care about the money on this either.

    For a couple of years, I wrote lengthy, detailed, highly technical consulting reports for a game company. None of which I have any rights to in the slightest. That, along with the code I wrote and wrangled, is a 30 month black hole in my resume. Never again!

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:23 am - Reply

      Hi Dave, interesting you bring up anonymous writing. It tempts me because while I do share personal stuff there’s reams more personal stuff I don’t share but would like to. But once you’ve let the cat out of the bag you can never let it back in;) Love that putting yourself into your writing and making sure everyone knows you’re the man behind it is important. It shows you take responsibility for who you are and what you do. It brings trust.

  12. Dana Udall-Weiner March 10, 2011 at 3:47 am - Reply

    I’ve been thinking so much about blogging and risk, blogging and safety. And wondering, is it scarier to hit publish and know that others will read your work, or to hit publish and know that you posts will languish and die? Because both are fraught–being known and being unknown. Some of us fear both. I’m trying to decide which is scarier to me. Regardless, I’m always glad to read your words and learn about your own creative process.

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:25 am - Reply

      Hi Dana, I absolutely understand this and thank you for sharing it here. It was so frustrating for me in the early days when no one was reading my blog and I never got feedback or comments. For me as a writer I want readers so that was important to me. Others really do write just for themselves. In the end only you can decide what’s the best result and aim for that. But I think it helps knowing that you’re in a group of people who’ve experienced and are experiencing the same things:)

  13. Cordelia March 10, 2011 at 4:52 am - Reply

    I feel the same way about my blog. It’s given me a chance to stop wanting to “be a writer” and to actually be one, on a regular basis.

    It’s enabled me to shake the rust off my (very rusty) writing skills and have a motivation to keep writing, every day, because somewhere some people actually want to hear what I have to say. It’s a wonderful source of confidence, as you say, and also a great little writing boot camp for people like me who are horrible at keeping their writing up regularly. I feel like I’ve gotten my writing back in shape more in the past few months since starting my blog than I did in the decade of so-called “writer’s block” that led up to it. Blogging is a quick, easy way to find your voice, build an audience, and also meet some incredible new people along the way.

    Three cheers for blogs and bloggers alike. So glad you kept up with it!

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Hi Cordelia, what you say about motivation is true as well, In the beginning I only had one friend reading my blog but that made me keep trying and writing and posting. That’s a great summary of the things blogging can do for writers. I’m glad I stuck with it too and happy to have connected with you through our blogging adventures… and even the odd mishap;)

  14. Sally Foley-Lewis March 10, 2011 at 5:00 am - Reply

    By sharing your very real and personal experience to blogging you’ve inspired others to acknowledge that fear and concern and work through it rather than ignore the challenge.

    I look forward to the reading more from you with respect to travel and writing tips!

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Hi Sally, thank you, I appreciate that. Hope I have some entertaining travel stories to share soon. They are all in my head, now I need to get them online:)

  15. Connie March 10, 2011 at 5:09 am - Reply

    My first blog post was on and although I don’t remember the content, I do recall the title of the entry was “Virgin Territory”. Love that you are changing it up around here…why not? :-)

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:31 am - Reply

      Hi Connie, amazing how far you’ve come! One thing that’s sad about the Internet and blogging is a lot of the old things get lost. It would be great to have a permanent record of our progress from blogging zero to hero.

  16. Jen Gresham March 10, 2011 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Absolutely! The fear of rejection and failure never goes away. The trick is to use the fear to propel us to greater skill and success. If you’re not somewhat afraid to hit publish or send off to a publisher, there’s probably not enough at risk.

    Love it!

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Hi Jen, ah, there’s truth in that. If you’re not scared you’re not pushing yourself of not experimenting enough…. That makes sense. Thank you:)

  17. It’s difficult to think of you as “timid” in any circumstances, since you’ve moved to and lived in so many foreign countries. I know from experience this is not for the faint of heart!

    I’m looking forward to your travel tales!

    • Annabel Candy March 10, 2011 at 8:33 am - Reply

      Hi Miss F, I am very good at pretending not to be shy or timid:) But most of all I’d like to be confident all the time because I have achieved and done a lot and I really shouldn’t be timid. It’s annoying.

  18. Leanne Berry March 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Your an inspiration Annabel – keep it up :)

  19. Jane | Find All Answers March 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    That is really an inspiring story Annabel and quite resonates with my thoughts and fear I had back in 2007. I deleted those first couple blogs of mine so I cannot quote my first blog post.

    But even with Find All Answers, I still have some immature, short, off topic posts that were written in the beginning.

    As you say writing gets better everyday and the more you write the better it gets.

    Your daughter surely does look like an angel.


  20. Teresa Long March 11, 2011 at 4:27 am - Reply

    Wow look at everything you have accomplished in that time! Amazing!

  21. Bree March 11, 2011 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Your daughter is GORGEOUS! What a precious little thing!

    • Annabel Candy March 14, 2011 at 11:51 am - Reply

      Thank you Bree, she’s grown a bit since then, now aged 6:)

  22. GutsyWriter March 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    I find myself wondering, “Did I say something I shouldn’t have? Did I write professionally? Did I make a mistake? Every time I hit the publish button, and yet, I love it. It’s just those few minutes/hours afterwards while I’m driving and away from my computer that I question myself. You daughter is adorable in her orange swimsuit with pig-tails.

    • Annabel Candy March 14, 2011 at 11:52 am - Reply

      Hi GutsyWriter, hopefully only a few minutes:) I love the orange colors with my blog design:)

  23. Taty March 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I think we are successful when we get to do what we want. And if by doing what we want we conquer our fears, that is a fantastic way to live life don’t you think?
    I personally fear spelling errors when writing. So I’m learning to accept them as part of me. I also think we put too much attention at what we fear of doing wrong. But we are all winners by just doing it, participating in life and sharing who we are with the world.

    • Annabel Candy March 14, 2011 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Hi Taty, I fear spelling mistakes and pesky typos too! Love your last line. What great thinking. Thank you.

  24. Matty March 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    When I started blogging in 2009, I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. I wasn’t even sure why I started. I had no concept or ideas, and certainly had no goals. Although I never really dove into it like many others have, I have learned quite a bit, and now how a better idea of what direction I want to go. With that in mind, I recently updated the look of my blog, and hope that it motivates me to write more often.

    • Annabel Candy March 14, 2011 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Hi Matty, loved reading your story. I think the look and feel of your blog is so important. A good blog design imbues the blogger with confidence and makes readers want to keep coming back for more:) Motivation can be a problem but promise yourself you’re going to stick with it and do it. There’s so much to be gained:)

  25. Sarah Allen March 22, 2011 at 6:45 am - Reply

    I can so relate to this. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Susan Liddy March 25, 2011 at 9:13 am - Reply

    How cool that you have been essentially blogging since 2006. Isn’t that about the time that we were just learning about blogs? I recall hearing the word blog and scratching my head… didn’t know what the heck it was! Didn’t think I’d ever have one… now I have TWO! My, how times change. Funny, huh?


  27. Jamillah March 30, 2011 at 4:02 am - Reply

    wonderful :)

  28. Ayesha Usman April 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    This is a very inspiring post and I am glad you shared your initial fears with us. I have just started a blog on motherhood but dont have a lot of posts as I am too scared to hit the publish button. I think your post has given me the courage to share my writing. Knowing you are not alone helps:)..Thanks!

  29. Catherine White October 17, 2011 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Well done Annabel, your a blogging force to be reckoned with.

    Great knowing you

  30. Sunshine December 31, 2011 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Wow, it’s like looking in a mirror! Everytime I see the blank WordPress screen I am so scared that I am going to write something stupid that nobody cares about or that nobody will read. I have barely had any comments, but I do continue to get blog followers…though only a few. Even those few make me wonder… why??? Why would somebody want to read something I wrote? Which in turn makes me afraid to let them down in future posts. What if I write something they don’t care about and they stop reading? I have so many different things that I could write about, but I always am afraid people won’t want to read it if it’s not about exciting travels! Who really wants to know me? Or what I think? Or read a random poem that pops into my head?
    I titled my blog “Endless Discoveries” because not only is it about all the wonderful things I have seen, learned, and discovered. It is also about self-discovery and growth even though I never write about anything that personal. I am always too scared to let people get to know me, because they may judge me if I am not who they think I should be.

    I am glad to know that I am not alone in my fears.

  31. Rose Perlmutter February 3, 2012 at 1:13 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    Thank you for your inspiration. So here goes. This is my first comment, anywhere! I’m looking forward to writing more comments, more blogs, and perhaps even some Tweeting and Facebook. Thanks for leading the way. Now, if I could only get my hands to stop sweating as I press the submit button.

  32. Lana February 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Here is to to us coming out of our shells and facing our fears! We have so much to offer:) Cheers, Annabel!
    BTW, your baby is gorgeous:)

  33. Jamila April 1, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    you are so inspiring, creative and courageous. I’m working on it :) and I will get there. Even though it is scary, it’s good to give it a go. Thanks for sharing all your amazing stories!
    (Kiara looks so cute)

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