The courage to create
Recently, I shared a link to my blog with an acquaintance. At first this was just a passing, “Oh I wrote a blog post about that.” Meaning, I didn’t think to worry about being judged. However, within a few days anxiety started to creep in. Thoughts such as, “I hope I’ve fixed all the punctuation.” or, “Is my personality coming across as too much?” all the way to, “Should I change the style all together and be more serious?”
Keep in mind this was a passing exchange. If you too, have these types of thoughts, you can imagine when I shared my blog on LinkedIn. Over the years, building a career during the 2000’s required a multitude of personality traits, including tenacity within myself. But also, smiling just enough but not too much. Perhaps this only applies to some of us (and I’d love to hear your personal experiences down below). During my early career days, influencers, as we now know them, weren’t yet a thing. “Content Creator” is a new-ish job title that still isn’t taken seriously. Even the title of Entrepreneur doesn’t yet glean the same respect as working for another, at least in main stream.
This reminds me of the first and only conversation I had about wanting to be a YouTuber with a member of my family. They thought I had lost my mind. This particular person, didn’t know I had a business plan and financial analysis complete before even considering buying a camera. On the other side, I realized their perspective was one most people have. Meaning, how could anyone dream of giving up a stable secure job with benefits to risk it on a platform like YouTube?! Or, even more common is disrespect toward those who make a living from their content. I have heard people discussing YouTubers as though their work isn’t ‘real’ enough. Or that they didn’t work ‘hard’ enough to be making millions.
Being a creator
Interestingly enough, those creators I know (some which I work with at my day job) are pouring their heart out in their content. Even a well established content creator or entrepreneur is working intensely. It isn’t always about the amount of hours. Instead, it is about emotional stamina. In addition to the idea generation, production of new content and any editing; there isn’t yet a true science behind all of this. Therefore, one piece of content you don’t think twice about could take off and produce far better results than one that is toiled over. Over and over, the mentality of ‘feel fear and do it anyway’ is what keeps most creators going. The empowerment which comes from overcoming the fear also keeps us going.
No matter the type of creation, a blog, a book, a video, music or any other creation; there is an element of the creator that must be present. The creator is putting themselves ‘out there’ and, in my experience, most creators are hyper critical of themselves. Before clicking the ‘publish’ button, their work has been through many different versions. Potentially starting in one place and thrown away and started completely over.
All this to say, it takes a special person to publish their work. It takes someone who can finally put the pen down and say, ‘good enough’ to publish. (I will say I am fortunate. After I write my blogs I can easily go back and update them. This isn’t something most creators are able to do.)
It takes COURAGE to create. Even being able to believe in oneself enough to sit down and start creating. It takes courage. Once the work is ‘good enough’, it takes courage to put it out there. Knowing there may be mistakes here and there or something you’ve looked at or reviewed so many times you’ve missed something obvious. It takes courage to truly listen to feedback and shift. And, it takes courage to stay TRUE to yourself instead of chasing the mainstream (what in the 90’s we used to call selling out).
The last thing I’ll mention here is that any type of creation is a process. I am fortunate to have so many creative people in my life, some with Etsy Stores (OtterlyShay), some who create music (VH x RR), some who create YouTubes and many more! No matter the type of content, or the overall vibe, the courage to create and keep going MUST be present. Some days it feels so simple and easy and some days it seems silly to keep going. It is all apart of the process, being true to yourself and continuing on until it isn’t fun anymore.
For those that read this and aren’t creators – keep your creator friends in mind. When you think something good, tell them. Even if the style isn’t something you are naturally drawn to, it helps to know you are supportive.
A dear friend and role model, Kelly Walk has completed a number of books. Soon I will be interviewing her on my blog about her book, “Memoirs of an Invisible Child.” Deeply personal and extremely hopeful, this book is an account of her life as a child.
“The Courage to Create” by Rollo May
A positive and euphoric dive into the topic discussed in today’s blog from a psychologist’s perspective. Rollo May writes:
“That’s why I say the courage to create. Creation does not come out of simply what you’re born with. That must be united with your courage, both of which cause anxiety, but also great joy.”