• Anna Milward

Why is it so Hard to Write About Ourselves?

Microphones surrounding businessman

I’ve recently been redoing my website and about page and it’s been a struggle. Considering I make a living from writing, you’d think I’d find it easy, but no! For some reason while I have no problem writing someone else’s professional bio, when it comes to writing my own I stare at the blank page like a deer in headlights.

Apparently I’m not the only one. I speak to a lot of business owners who really struggle to put their business or personal qualifications into words even though they might be able to talk (or write) under wet cement about pretty much everything else.

So why do we find it so hard to write about ourselves? I did a little digging and found out there are actually three main reasons why we struggle to write that professional bio, about page or job application personal statement.

  1. Lack of clarity about what we should be writing

  2. Fear of sounding like a dick

  3. Lack of self belief.

The good news is that all of these obstacles can be overcome. Let’s take them one by one.

Lack of clarity

Understanding expectations is key to being able to write about yourself effectively. Writing a professional bio is different from a personal statement so a good first step is to think about one or two areas to focus on. If you’re writing a website about page remember you aren’t aiming to appeal to everyone. By narrowing your focus to a few different areas, e.g. your qualifications, business story, personal motivations or other things you can reduce the feeling of overwhelm.

Fear of sounding like a dick

Most of us, when growing up, were taught not to brag, but when you’re trying to self promote you need to do just the opposite of what was drummed into you. This can be squirmingly awkward and uncomfortable and many people worry that they are going to come across like an idiot.

Chances are if you’re worried about sounding like an idiot you probably won’t, in fact most people err on the side of not talking themselves up enough rather than too much. One way to avoid coming across as arrogant or obnoxious is to back up any claims you make with evidence. Another good idea is to get someone else to read it before you go live. Choose a friend who is honest and won’t be afraid to tell you if what you’ve written sounds too self promotional.

Lack of self belief

This is probably one of the main stumbling blocks for anyone trying to write about themselves. It can be made worse by reading other bios or about us pages and feeling inadequate. Remember you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be yourself and authentic. Sometimes this lack of self belief can be paralysing and you might find it impossible to even start. The best way to combat this is do a brain dump, just write bullet points for whatever you have in your head. Take away any expectation for it to sound perfect or even coherent. Once you’ve got your main points down you can tweak them until they sound right.

Because so many people feel uncomfortable writing about themselves, it’s often easier to get someone else to write your personal or professional bio. Writing about someone else’s achievements and accomplishments is always far easier than writing about your own. If you need any help with your professional bio, drop me a line!

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