This post is inspired by the fact that for most of January, I found myself in a funk. I started off the year feeling strong and pretty hopeful about my work, but ended the month on a weird note that has left me feeling a little overwhelmed and uninspired.
I think it’s important to share because I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, and also because I can’t help but notice that there are people out there (especially those who are trying to market MLM products) who post on social media every single day or create content every single day just to check a task off of a list because that’s what they’re told to do. While I admire and even aspire to that kind of consistency, I’m starting to think that my instinct not to put any original content out into the world on days when I feel like a sack of trash is actually the right instinct. For me, at least.
Considering that I’ve decided that my theme for the year is essentially “anti-perfectionism”, I’ve been struggling with knowing exactly what to do with this particular slump because it’s less that I’m concerned with being perfect than the fact that I just really don’t feel like creating anything right now unless it gives me a YES feeling when I create it. That’s how writing this feels right now because I think it’s important to explore the difference between procrastinating because one doesn’t feel “inspired” and just legitimately not being in the right head space to create, even if it’s just a social media post.
The way I see it is that if you’re your own brand or you promote yourself or your own services, you do need to be “on” when you create. Unsurprisingly, Gary Vaynerchuck echoed this in one of his live videos almost immediately after I was thinking about it, which I personally think confirms that we are actually the same human being (except he’s way smarter than me and I somehow don’t benefit from his success at all…? It’s not a perfect theory). I definitely have filler content and sometimes it’s necessary for those in-between, not-inspired-but-not-uninspired days, but I hope that the majority of what I post on social media and on my blogs is of value to whoever reads them.
My point is, if you need a break, take it. I don’t think there’s a blanket set of rules, and I think there’s a lot more common sense involved in content creation than a lot of us are comfortable with. Obviously, consistency is key and starting and stopping whatever you’re doing isn’t going to yield the results you want. But, consistency doesn’t necessarily mean “every day” or “three times a week” or even “once a week”. Consistency is relative to the time frame you’ve assigned your goal.
If you want to see results next week and you’re doing whatever you’re doing with the intention of playing the short game, then yeah, you’re nuts to only spend one day this week doing whatever it is that will get you there. But if your project (or whatever it is) is something you’re committed to for life or at least the foreseeable future, consistency is relative to that.
A couple of weeks ago I texted my best friend about how I didn’t feel like I had much to say and I was worrying because I wasn’t sticking to my plan. She reminded me that a few unproductive days wouldn’t kill me, which is what I needed to hear. That conversation drew me back to one of my absolute favorite quotes from an author named James Arthur Ray, which is “being in a hurry is fear disguised as passion.” If you’re really not in a hurry, then why create things just to fill a short-term quota?
Again, I’m not knocking the fact that small, consistent action over time leads to results, I’m simply saying that the word “consistent” is relative. If I plan to spend the next five years building this blog, will these last few weeks really be the linchpin of the whole operation? Realistically, no, probably not.
Yes, it’s commendable to “show up”. But it’s also commendable to rest, take care of yourself, and to be self aware enough to realize that what you’re putting out into the world isn’t really necessary or valuable. Having had a little experience in the MLM world (for the record, I still love the products, just not the company or its structure), I know that you’re told to post every day, 1-3 times a day, with at least 1-2 Instagram stories. I also know that it feels like you’ve failed if you don’t adhere to that schedule and you think, “BUT WHAT IF TODAY WAS THE DAY THAT 30 PEOPLE WERE GOING TO RESPOND TO MY TOTALLY NEEDLESS SELFIE AND I WAS GOING TO MAKE ALL THE SALES?” They weren’t. It’s okay.
Honestly, I probably shouldn’t even publish this because a lot of my freelance clients check out my blogs when they decide if they want to work with me or not, but my freelance work isn’t what I’m talking about. If I’m given an assignment, I can finish it regardless of how “inspired” I feel, and I obviously wouldn’t advise anyone to flake out on work that they’re doing for someone else just because they’re feeling off. Again, I’m talking about passion projects that require content creation, whether that means art, music, writing, or even the social media posts you create to promote the project.
The world has enough garbage content circulating around the internet and beyond. Don’t knowingly contribute to it! And let’s be honest, you know when you’re not feeling it and you put stuff out there anyway. I know it sucks that you can’t wrap the rules of content creation and promotion into a neat little one-size-fits-all package, but truly, you can’t. Don’t do that to yourself or to the people you’re trying to reach.