A few weeks ago, I saw this comic from The Oatmeal about making content for the web. If you are a content creator in any capacity, whether you write, make videos, draw, sing, whatever…take a few minutes and click the link. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creator, go check it out. Maybe you’ll learn something. Or maybe you’ll just be entertained. It highlights a lot of the struggles content creators encounter. The portion that stood out most to me was this section regarding inspiration and when it strikes (or doesn’t):
The act of creating something isn’t necessarily difficult. In theory, a person just has to put pen to paper, hit the “record” button on their video camera, or start typing into the word editor of their choice. One of the struggles, however, comes when a person DOES create something and they hate it.
We all have standards for our work. We all try to put out something we find “acceptable”, or even “good”, and we all have different ideas of what “acceptable” means. Of course, we all also have different styles. It’s how we determine what sorts of content we choose to create and/or consume; our standards.
I haven’t updated the blog in a little over a month, but it isn’t because I haven’t been writing or taking photos or experiencing things. I have. It also isn’t because I’ve been “too busy to write”. That’s also not true. I’m very busy, but I still have time to write a few times a week, and I do it.
See? I’ve been writing.
My blog hasn’t been updated because, like the bottom frame in that comic above, I really don’t like most of the stuff I produce. I have a certain standard for the content I share with the internet. I can’t articulate that standard in words; I just know something is “pretty good” or “sucks” once I’m done and look it over 2 or 3 or 18 times. Every time I write a post or share a tweet or a photo, I try to make sure it has some sort of value for whoever is taking the time to look at it. Value can manifest in many ways; via education, humor, emotional impact, etc.
I love the idea of a daily blog. I love the thought of putting up a little post or a recap of some interesting tidbit of information from the day, but realistically, I know there is little to no chance of me ever doing that. I’d just never be able to keep up. Besides, the information in those posts would likely not be particularly valuable, since I’d be spitting out some half-assed BS once every 24 hours.
The point of this increasingly essay-like post is this: I want to be producing more content. I like producing content. It is fun and it gives me the unique opportunity to interact with people from all around the world. There are so many people sharing so many great things out there. They inspire me to share more and to do more. So, I’m lowering my standards for myself. Has anyone ever said that? Eeep.
NOTE: I am aware that there is a chance this post reeks of arrogance. When I say “lowering my standards for myself,” please read this as “I will try to be a less nit-picky, perfectionist twerp about my own creations.” When I say “standards” I am referring to my own expectations for myself, not any sort of comparison to anyone else’s work. Most of the nitpicking I do is likely very, very stupid stuff. I would like to NOT do that anymore. Or at least, not do it QUITE so much.
I’m not making a resolution, really. Or at least, I’m telling myself it’s not a resolution. Every time I seem to label an action with something like “resolution” or “lifestyle change” or “healthier diet choices” I fail miserably. So this is not a resolution. This is just a thing I now do.
One of the things that motivates me most to go jogging in the evenings when I get home from work is this: “You never regret the times you get up off the couch and go for a run. It’s all the times you don’t go that you find yourself regretting.” If you don’t put any of your energy out into the world, how can you ever get anything back? We can’t just hang out doing nothing and expect good stuff to happen to us. We have to take action and move forward. That’s what I’d like to do.
This post is my first example of my lowered standards. I am typing this post directly into WordPress rather than writing everything down in one of my stack of notebooks, which is making me feel antsy. I keep facepalming and asking myself: “WHAT IS THE POINT OF POSTING THIS SELF-CENTERED DRIVEL?” I guess the answer is just that I want there to be a clear line between my previous content and what I want to try to do more of in the future. Also, I guess I hope that this post might inspire someone else the way The Oatmeal’s comic inspired me. I actually DO have stuff to write about, and I DO write about it. I just don’t post it because I am weird and a bit scared, I suppose.
All right, this needs to wrap up. I have no idea how to end this post. How about: If you, like me, have a “non-resolution”, SHARE IT! Try beginning with the comments section of this post!
Oh, right: Happy Holidays and have a great New Year!
(We’re off to a good start!)