“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”
~ John C. Maxwell
So you know that content creation is important. You don’t need convincing that it makes good business sense to consistently share meaningful and useful content with your audience. You’ve heard that you need to be sending a regular newsletter, publishing weekly blog posts and showing up consistently on social media but try as you might, you just can’t seem to make good on your content creation promises.
I’m here to shed some light as to why that might be. There are in fact a number of very real obstacles to you becoming consistent in your content creation, that, when understood, become easier to overcome. In this post I’m going to share with you what they are and how to finally achieve the consistency you’ve been yearning for.
1. A propensity towards the shallow
We live in a time where shallow living is the norm. Smart phones, social media and round the clock connectivity all serve to keep us in a fractured, scattered and distracted state of mind. Nowhere does this show up more than in our day-to-day business lives. As solopreneurs, working from home, it’s all too easy to be seduced by the shiny appeal of checking facebook, watching YouTube videos or falling down the internet rabbit hole. We think nothing of having ten tabs open on our internet browser with social media and email notifications blinking on our screens every few minutes. Let me tell you now that it’s impossible to create meaningful content under these conditions.
“Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.”
~ Mahershala Ali
Content creation requires going deep, getting into a flow of writing, allowing our minds to become engrossed with an idea or argument and giving ourselves adequate time to create. To work deeply, we must eradicate the shallow. Turn off your email and social media notifications (there are apps for this), close down the internet (there are apps for this too!) and give yourself a chunk of distraction free time to do deep.
2. A lack of schedule
A desire to create and publish daily content for our business is not enough to make it so. If we want to create content everyday (or fairly consistently), we absolutely have to schedule it in. I know that for some people this is a struggle, they want to write when the feeling takes them, they prefer to wait until inspiration strikes, yet some of the most accomplished and prolific creators of our time will testify to the fact that this is not how it works.
“We’re all nothing without the Muse. But the pro has learned that the goddess prizes labor and dedication beyond any theatrical seeking of her favours. The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it. He knows that when the Muse sees his butt in the chair she will deliver.”
~ Steven Pressfield
So rather than waiting for inspiration to strike, schedule a chunk of time in your diary to show up and create. Whether it’s writing, making videos or recording audios, the solution is the same. Make sacred space to create and then honour it.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
~ Stephen King
3. An inappropriate environment
Deep work requires sacred space and as well as scheduled time, free from distraction, we want to be sure that our environment is conducive to creativity. Take a moment now to look at your workspace. How does it make you feel? Is it cluttered and disorganised or is it clean and tidy? Does it feel like a good space to create your best work or is it a disaster zone for creativity?
Make sure that the place you choose to create is conducive to your concentrated creativity. If that means, going to your local library to get the peace and quiet you need, do it. If it means spending time reorganising and decluttering your office space, do it. The rewards are worth it.
4. A case of bad timing
Are you trying to create content at the wrong time of day? Did you know that for most people, our most productive hours are first thing but that many people waste energy on more meaningless tasks like checking Facebook or emailing people.
If you, like me, experience a slump in energy straight after lunch and that’s when you usually try to create content, then no wonder you’re struggling. Be mindful of when you feel most energised and creative and schedule your content creation time accordingly.
For me it’s definitely first thing, so before I do anything else (especially before going on the internet to check social media or my email inbox) I have a 60-90 minute (depending on other commitments) chunk of time dedicated to content creation scheduled in my online calendar.
On Monday that’s usually taken up with my weekly e-letter, on other days it might be blog post writing or crafting long form social media posts. The content itself doesn’t matter, sticking to the commitment of creating content every day does.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”
~ Dale Carnegie
Because creating content often requires more of us than other business tasks, it makes sense for us to tackle it first, because if we put off the hard job until later in the day, we’re far less likely to do it. Trust me when I tell you that getting your content creation done first thing feels amazing and sets you up for a much more productive and fulfilling day.
5. Misguided expectations
One of the biggest barriers I see to consistent content creation is actually internal rather than external. We often place all manner of expectations on our content creation efforts which only serves to make content creation all that much harder to achieve.
When we want the content we produce to be perfect and we become attached to the outcome of our efforts (for example, number of likes, shares, comments from our audience), we make creating content that much harder. You wouldn’t believe how many people fail to create content because of fears that it won’t be good enough or well received.
If we can instead focus on being present to our creative process rather than attach to the outcome of it, creating content becomes a whole lot more enjoyable, a whole lot more fulfilling. This then allows us to create more consistently and in turn makes us better at creating content. Consider how impossible it is to master our craft, if we avoid doing it because we want it to be perfect from the get go.
So there you have it, 5 things that could be standing in the way of you creating content more consistently and what to do to overcome them. I’d love to hear from you which of these you relate to the most and also do share in the comments below if there are things getting in the way of you creating consistently that I haven’t shared here.
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