As I'm sat on my laptop having spent another full day writing and editing and keeping my Snapchat up to date plus remembering to remind people to watch my YouTube videos, I have had to stop to sit and think about why I do what I do. I enjoy it yes, other wise there would be no point in staying up until 3am to get everything done - but what do I really want to achieve out of this whole blogging/social media/public life that I am living? I want people to learn from things I say, to feel as though they can connect with me and gain something from my content, on whatever channel it might be on, I also want to stimulate conversation, even if it is in disagreement with me, I welcome hearing respectful opinions of my work. I feel extremely grateful to have such great followers on my various channels and when they engage with my content it literally makes me the happiest and makes me realise it is worth it. I always refresh my pages to read new comments, the number of likes and subscribers means so little if people aren't talking to me or giving feedback. Without engagement I may as well be showcasing my work to an empty room.
Not that long ago I decided I needed to think about what I wanted to do and re evaluate my work. Blog posts had been going out and videos were being published but I didn't feel a connection with my readers or followers that I had for previous posts and literally thought 'what's the point.' Now like I said, this is nothing to do with the number of followers or likes etc, I'm sure most of us have seen the famous Insta quote:
"The number of followers you have does not make you better than anyone else. Hitler had millions, Jesus had 12."
This could not ring more true. I have actually witnessed people believing they are better than someone else all because they have more followers, when the actual work they produce is, well, rubbish. To me, your work speaks for you. Which is why I care so much about what my readers think about the content I produce, and why I think everyone needs to remember that the number of followers on a social media channel is only important if the people behind those numbers 'have your back' as it were. After spending numerous hours creating content (for my blog, for example) and publishing it being so excited, I would return to the page to see perhaps 1 comment. Now - that one comment is absolutely relevant and the fact that someone took the time to post it means a lot, but in comparison to the number of people that Google Analytics told me had looked at the work that had taken me so long to do, screen shot all of the pictures and then go and post them on Instagram so they could be the 'first' person to post the photos, it's a little disheartening and made me think about what I want to gain and whether the content was good enough for people to comment on it rather than just wanting some shiny new pictures.
I have purposely not included many photos in this post because I want you to read the words. Read it and process it, think about what you want your work to say about you and how you would want your audience to react. Whether it be an online audience, your classmates at school after you've worked hard on a presentation, your boss at work acknowledging the time and effort you have put in to a particular task. And then understand that myself and other bloggers/vloggers/youtubers etc want exactly the same. We don't get paid for every single job we do, it's not just a big money making scheme. We do it because we love it, but I think most of us also do it because we want others to love it as much as we do and get enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of connection from it. I have written a list of 5 things that I found helped me when I was in a 'rut' that helped me focus on what I wanted to achieve. At the end of the day, I cant't force people to interact with me and my work, but I can make my work the best it can be so that I am proud of it and ultimately I am in this world to make myself happy, not everyone else.
This seems like an obvious one but I didn't realise how much I had been focusing on the wrong thing until I hit a low point and basically had a mini breakdown. I spoke to those closest to me and every single one of them said 'why are you worrying about this, think about that instead'. I think that we spend so long concentrating on negative issues that we forget to focus on the task or goal in hand. Focus on all of the things you want to achieve, no matter how big or small they are and then think about what steps you need to take to get them done. The satisfaction of knowing that you have made even the tiniest of steps towards you goal is so amazing and will just spur you on to be even more focused and driven.
Ignore The Unnecessary
I am a blogger/vlogger/social media 'person' along with about 90% of the rest of the younger generation. I am a TINY fish in a huge pond, but if I spent every day thinking about what others are doing and how I can compete with them I could always be chasing my tail. I think it is healthy to be aware of what others in the same industry as you are doing - it allows you to know what is on trend within your world and up your game if you feel others are upping theirs. But ultimately you need to do what YOU want to do. When I started writing this blog post I was on a roll and then lost what I wanted to say so stopped for a day or two until I felt I could continue. In that time another blogger who I follow and really admire, posted a similar post and a had a moment of 'should I not post mine now because they might think I've copied them'. But then I remembered my own reasons for writing this post and if anything made me more determined to get my own thoughts and feelings across. After reading the other blog post I agreed with pretty much everything that was written but knew that I didn't want to just say the same thing. It has actually pushed me harder and made me really think about what I want to say and how I want to say it. There is enough room for everyones work, you just need to make sure that your own is good enough for you to say 'yes that's mine and I'm proud of it'.
React To Your Results
This is something that I have only started doing in the last year or so and am actually quite angry that I didn't do it before as it has helped me in SO MANY ways! I put out so much content, whether it be about fitness, fashion, beauty or travel, on my blog, social media or YouTube. Different posts get different reactions, some have more engaged followers than others, but if I put work out there a number of times, that is all of a similar nature and none of it seems to be received well - stop creating it. Earlier on in the article I referenced people just taking my pictures from posts and reposting them rather than paying attention to the text - it may not be the ideal engagement that I want from my posts but at least I know they are liking something (even if it's not the text that took me 2 hours to write!). If people aren't reacting to ANY of your work then it's time to re evaluate and think about what works and what doesn't
Put In The Hours
If I had a penny for every time I told someone what I do and they replied with 'oh that sounds pretty easy, you just put a filter on a photo and post it on Instagram' I would have retired to a private island and sleeping on a bed of cash! This 'job' if I am to call it that, takes time. A lot of time. Every single photo you see has been carefully thought of and probably planned (even the candid shots) and then edited to make it more 'sparkly'. The text you read has been thought of, typed out, read, then retyped and constantly edited until it's perfect. As well as that it has to be published at a specific time on a specific day to get the correct window and impact that you desire. All of this takes time, so if you're not willing to put time into what you do then don't expect to get very far. Vogue magazine isn't just thrown together the week before it's due on the new stands - they usually work 3-4 months in advance. Fitness experts and Personal Trainers don't just wake up one morning and think 'I'm going to get a six pack today' they work hard at it until they are ready and/or qualified enough to get the credit they deserve. This can be applied to literally anything in life. Put in the time and you will produce great quality work.
Now this seems the most obvious point of all of those I've listed but it's actually the one that I forgot about and led me to a place that spurred me to write this article in the first place. If you're not enjoying what you're doing then why are you doing it? Take a minute to ask yourself that.....go on. No really, think about it right now. 'Do I enjoy what I am doing?' If the answer is yes, then you keep on going and going until you have achieved everything you want, I really hope that you are successful in whatever it is you're doing. If your answer to that question was 'no' or 'erm I don't know' then you need to have a think about what it is that will make you scream 'YES!' when asked that question. It takes some soul searching and maybe even some heated discussions with friends or family who you can confide in, but it is so necessary to enjoy what you do as you will be doing it for a VERY long time. No one has the right to tell you that you have to keep doing something that you don't enjoy. It's your life and you deserve to enjoy every minute of it.
How does this article make you feel? Can you relate to it in some way? Let me know by leaving me a comment - I love to know what you guys think, whether we share opinions or maybe you feel completely different to me. Either way this article was intended to spark something in your brain and hopefully is relatable whether you're in school, college, full time work or just interested in the creative world that we live in.