I was recently assigned to make writing and editing contributions to a Wikipedia page. The moment I saw the assignment, I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. Around 2004, I tried to create a new Wikipedia page for my business and quickly abandoned the idea. It was more complicated than it looked and required specific webpage language knowledge I did not have. I became frustrated and decided to never again revisit that idea. Hence the anxiety over the new assignment.
Even after twenty-plus years of business ownership, I still have insecure moments when tackling new projects in which I have no experience. Thankfully, I am not alone in that feeling. Experienced entrepreneur and Shark Tank expert Barbara Corcoran confirms her insecurities have been more challenging to overcome than her competition. Reading about other entrepreneurs using their insecurities as a driver for continued growth, I forged ahead with my Wikipedia assignment.
I had to assume I was not the only one feeling intimidated about editing a Wikipedia page and wondered what the repercussions are for making an editing mistake. I Googled my question to see if my hesitation would subside. My anxiety was not relieved. With results and answers referencing “vandalism” and “blocking vandals,” there may be some justification for feeling insecure about this project. Wikipedia’s own Jimmy Wales believes that people may be “afraid” to edit pages because of the “complicated” code.
Presented with an empty page, I took a deep breath and decided to use a couple of completed Washington newspaper pages as inspiration. The Othello Outlook was one of my inspirations, as well as the Lake Chelan Mirror. Having a page layout plan, I began to add content with HTML code borrowed from those pages. The Liberty Lake Splash page began to take shape.
The first content added was from information found about the newspaper on mondotimes.com. This search revealed the Liberty Lake Splash’s date of origin, current owner, copies circulated, and circulation frequency. From there, a Google search returned the newspaper’s home page, along with names of individuals related to the newspaper. I used this information to further my research on this newspaper to discover the paper’s owner timeline and current staff roster.
Having found a significant amount of trustworthy information, the task seemed to take off. However, I kept digging to find any piece of information related to all owners, sale and purchase documentation, the publishing companies for the newspaper, and biographies for current paper contributors. The one piece of information that I was proud to find was a 2009 award the Liberty Lake Splash received for their newspaper page design and excellence in their environment and science reporting.
Once I exhausted my search for all the credible secondary sources related to the Liberty Lake Splash, I no longer felt insecure about this project. Editing a Wikipedia page and contributing facts from cited material is now removed from my believed “impossible” list and moved to my “I did that” list. With my newfound confidence, I submitted a completed page for review and am hopeful Wikipedia will approve the updated Liberty Lake Splash page.
This experience taught me a valuable lesson. My anxiety helped drive me to be a more responsible media creator. I also understand even more now that responsibility is a vital component of being media literate. My closing message is one of encouragement. Every entrepreneur has moments of insecurity, and it is okay to have those moments. Let that moment be what drives you. I offer you one of my favorite inspirational entrepreneur quotes to help overcome roadblocks:
“I have a list I reference called “the once impossible list.” It’s filled with things that I once thought felt impossible (running a 5k, getting into a healthy relationship, getting my master’s degree, sitting on a plane for 18 hours, etc.). It’s a great reminder that I’ve had the feeling before, but look what I did anyway!” Chelsea Turner Avery