Sometimes, when I finish my workday (writing, designing, recording...) and I get to rest, I don't feel okay.
I sit down and instead of unplugging from work I wonder if I should keep doing.
I find this little monster inside my head that yells "It's not enough! You haven't done enough!"
I like to think that I'm not the only one having this feeling. It seems inherently connected to creative work.
It does not happen often, but it really sucks when it does.
This is my short reflection on this problem and how I plan to fight this monster.
You are doing more than you think
Looking back on last year, this is what I accomplished.
- I posted 2758 tweets last year (most of them are replies, but still, that was the investment made in the platform)
- I wrote 14 blog posts
- I published an ebook
- I shipped a free product
- I participated in 3 podcast interviews.
So why do I have the feeling I didn't do enough?
I call it (facetiously) the "creators' curse": being always ON.
Being "always ON" as a creator
Being a creator is scary:
- You don't know when the next paycheck is coming.
- You need to be "always selling" yourself (content, emails, etc)
- You need to be always ON, and that's mentally exhausting.
As a creator, the feeling to be always active ON on social (or making, or shipping, or writing...) to not lose momentum is real.
Is there ever a time to rest for a creator?
Will people stop following if I stop tweeting? Will I be able to keep making money if I don't create?
It's so easy for these questions to pop up in your head.
Why does this happen?
In my case, it's because of social media.
When I stop working, I try to stay away from my phone and not check social (especially Twitter).
Most days this is impossible, so when I check my phone I just see amazing people I follow posting great content, shipping things, etc.
And I instantly compare myself to them, which makes me feel bad for not "be doing".
The solution: systems and processes
My plan to fight this "curse" is by building systems and processes.
- I'm building a process to streamline content creation (so I don't need to be selling and active all the time)
- I'm building a process for lead capture (so I don't need to do client outreach all the time)
- I'm setting "social media schedules", so after 8PM, no check social media or work emails.
- I'm internalizing the fact that these prolific creators also have their own everyday struggles.
- I'm doing daily/weekly reviews of what I did during the week. Sometimes we don't realize how much we do until we look back at it.
Having these in place will certainly help, but won't lift the curse.
The monster is always there and I guess the best you can do to cope with is realize the monster inside your head is a liar.
You did more than you think. You just need to remind yourself of that.
This post was a bit darker that what I usually write about, but I think it's necessary to give visibility to creative struggles, not only the shinny wins we see everyday on social media.
Time to write
- Frist draft: 15 min
- Edit and final version: 35 min
- Visuals: 3 min