You Shouldn’t Create Something Just To Create Something
This article is going to be a hard, honest look at myself above all things.
I’ve been dangerously close to committing writer fraud lately.
I haven’t copied anyone’s article, or acted like I am somebody I’m not..
I just, sometimes I come close to writing about something just for the sake of creating new content.
And that’s super, super wrong.
Let me explain.
Creators Have A Major Responsibility
Creators trade time for information and entertainment.
We only ask that our viewers/readers give us their time, and we will in turn give them something valuable.
Like advice on how to grow a Medium following, or tips on traveling, or an entertaining feature-length film about superheroes fighting aliens.
That last one is my favorite type to consume.
Creativity is the most important thing in the world. It helps us solve major political, technical, and social problems.
But as soon as we begin creating for the sake of creating, that’s when we cheapen the most important resource in the world.
We knock it down a notch, and end up wasting people’s time in the process — as well as our own.
My Process For Creating A Blog Post
My process for creating a blog post is ALWAYS the same.
I sit down in front of my computer, stare out my window, and think about what I want to write about.
I tap into my soul, my immediate experiences, and my emotions of the day to come up with something brand new.
Something I’ve never said before.
A hater’s shitty comment from Thursday might lead me to write an article on Friday. One interaction at wrestling practice on Monday might materialize into an article for Wednesday.
I use my immediate experiences to create something new because then at least I feel an emotional connection to it.
And that connection is 95% of the battle when trying to make a compelling blog post.
I never use an idea from two months ago to write a new article. That’s because a lot of times I just don’t care anymore about that topic.
And this has worked for me for the past two years, but..
As A Creator, I’m Exhausted
I really am.
I write three new articles for The Mission every single week.
Many times I feel like I’m mining the depths of my brain for content, and the resources are all tapped out.
Instead of feeling excited to write, I feel like it’s just another thing I have to tick off for the day.
What even excites me anymore?
Then I catch a fleeting idea, get excited for a moment, then drain my thoughts onto the page before I get bored.
And this is fine, but I’m coming dangerously close to creative fraud.
I Have The Creator’s Flu
I call this the creator’s flu. I’m exhausted, run down, and unmotivated to do anything.
The other day I planned to create a video for LinkedIn.
My process for LinkedIn is the same for Medium — I sit there and wait for inspiration to strike. Since I’ve created hundreds of pieces of content over the past year, I’ve gotten good at summoning new topics out of thin air.
But that day I just couldn’t come up with anything — you know?
Then I thought of the idea that later became this article..
Why do we even create in the first place?
Is there a time when we shouldn’t create?
Yes, yes there is.
I realized then it was better to not create and miss a day then create something half-ass. Let me explain..
Here’s When You Shouldn’t Create
I always tell people they need to write 5 new blog posts per week.
I really think this is true.
For the longest time I kept up with this schedule and never got tired of it.
But somewhere over the last 6–8 months, I started to feel something tugging at my sleeve. It was my soul, and it needed a damn break.
But I didn’t want to give it a break. I needed followers, and email subscribers, and I needed to meet more amazing people on the internet.
To do that, you need to create create create.
And create I did.
I’ve probably been just as consistent as any other writer on this platform. I’ve talked the talk and walked the walk (and it’s been difficult).
But now I’m numb to what I write. I write for this sort of “high” that I get at the very end of my posts.
I always start a post with no idea how I’m going to end it then about an hour into writing I figure out how I need to end it and I do.
In that moment it’s like I’m writing a symphony. I become a 10x better writer at the very end as I’m tying everything together, and then, because I feel so good about what I just wrote, I give the post my blessing and submit it to The Mission.
If I get that “high” at the end of my articles, I know the post is worthwhile. If I was excited writing it, I know others will be excited to read it.
And that’s when you know you’ve created something valuable. If you didn’t feel that writer’s “high,” you need to keep the post in a draft and come back to it later.
I’m ashamed to admit that the “high” I get keeps getting less and less noticeable.
I feel it now as I write this, since I’m getting to the end of the article, but it’s like I’ve built a tolerance to everything.
I open up Medium to look at my stats and it’s the same. I get 100–200 fans per post at least, a couple thousand views at least, and then I do it all over again the next week.
More, more, more.
Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of March after my virtual summit ends, I’m probably going to take a break from creating written content for a while.
That’s because I need more inspiration. I need more direction. I need to feel like my heart’s going to burst if I don’t write something.
It won’t take me long to get that back (maybe 2–3 weeks), but I need to do it because I can’t get to the point where I’m creating just for the sake of creating.
Remember This, Creators
It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to postpone writing a post because you need true inspiration.
Just keep listening to your heart.
I use writing as therapy, which is why I probably won’t be able to stay away from it long, but listen closely to your heart because out of nowhere on the way to work you’ll come up with the greatest idea for an article.
An article that the world needs to read.
Please keep listening. Listen always.
Because ironically listening is going to keep you from burnout in the first place.
Want to get started writing online? I actually have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Medium Followers” that will teach you how to build an audience here on Medium! Sign up for it right here. I’d love to teach you a couple things.