Our career path as Marketers and Creators is bumpy. You’re faced with creativity ruts, impostor syndrome and a lack of motivation on a consistent base. Sometimes it happens. It sucks. That’s why I created this document. To remind you of your worth. And to provide ourselves a document to which we can refer if we’re stuck.
Here’s a document, that hopefully provides us solutions whenever a creativity rut, imposter syndrome or lack of motivation has struck us.
Send your ideas, topics, problems, motivations and solutions to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter (DM). I want to update this document on a regular base, in order to provide better ideas, and to be able to help other creators out of their issues.
How to find your Creativity
As Marketers and content creators, we’re gifted with creativity. Sometimes, we’re not, You shouldn’t blame yourself for the times when you don’t produce anything. It’s normal. Creativity is like ebb and flow. And remember the following: If you’re in a creativity rut, you’re still creating more content than 99% of the entire internet.
What to do:
- Listen to your body and mind. Sometimes it’s better to accept your creativity rut. Take some rest, take a nap or go to sleep
- Optimize your productivity when you are creative. Write down all ideas that come to mind and save them for later. Organize them into a file. Then, during the time when you don’t feel inspired, open that file and scroll through your ideas.
- Get inspired by content created by others. Gather ads, copy, books, videos blogs and landing pages you like and put them in an inspiration file. Open that file when you’re out of ideas.
- When you’re out of ideas, it might be time for you to consume more ideas. Make sure to regularly read books, observe social media posts, and skim through useful articles. If then, ideas pop up, write them down immediately.
- Likewise, it often helps to read through earlier content you’ve created. While reading, you might find new ideas for content, iterations for your current creations, and ideas for repurposing your existing content.
- Always have a pen, paper or phone with you. Creative ideas come at the most random times, but they fly by if you don’t save them. So write down your ideas immediately.
- Perform activities you like: Don’t be on your phone or laptop all day. Instead: Go for a walk, read a book, draw sketches, go for a bike tour, hike. During these activities, you’re giving your mind a rest. During these rest periods, the most interesting ideas could be generated.
- Morning Pages: Set a timer for 20 minutes and start writing down everything that comes to mind. Literally: Everything. If you feel like you’re out of ideas, start writing down: “I feel out of ideas and…”
- Write a short but detailed outline or creative brief for yourself, so that you clearly have in mind what you want to write or create. By making things clear for yourself, the creation process becomes easier.
How to live with, and battle Impostor syndrome?
I know how annoying imposter syndrome can be. That lingering feeling can sneak in at any time: When you start a job, when you create something, or when something you’ve created didn’t bring the result you’ve expected.
All the time.
What to do:
- Know that you weren’t selected for a role without a reason: you likely competed with tens (or hundreds, or thousands) of people for that role and they chose you for your knowledge, qualities and competences.
- If you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Please look back at all the things you have created during the past hour, day, week and year. Look at the results they have delivered you. Look at how much you’ve grown, both short-term and long-term.
- You will always make mistakes. There will always be things that go wrong. But that’s part of life. Mistakes are there to be made. Mistakes are part of your research, part of your trial and error.
- You might occasionally look back at content you’ve made years ago, and then cringe. That’s a good sign. That means you’ve improved. So don’t kick yourself for the ‘bad’ things you’ve created in the past. They weren’t bad. You just learned how to create better content.
- Don’t compare yourself with other people. They might be better at something because they have more experience than you do. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on what you can do
- Don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t go your way — It’s not your fault. It’s likely the result of external influences. The only thing you can do is your best.
How to get hyped again when you’re feeling down?
And sometimes you might have the feeling when you don’t feel motivated to execute these ideas. When you feel like the things you create don’t make sense. When you don’t feel like creating, because it takes a lot of time. When you’re just feeling down.
It’s time to get rid of these feelings. Because all the things you do matter. And I hope to hype you up
What to do
- Talk with other people about your ideas. Brainstorming with others might help you clarify your goals, ideas and your paths to reach these goals and execute your ideas
- Know that there will always be people who are following your journey. There are people who appreciate your work. You might not know about them because many remain (unconsciously) silent.
- When people hype you up, thank them and save or bookmark their comments. Regularly reopen these comments to remind yourself that people care about you.
- Ask people wat they think about your work.
- Just start creating. Sometimes, you start being motivated right after you start to create.
- Create an ‘Emergency file’ for yourself. This file should include content that inspires you, sparkles your creativity, hypes you up gets you going.
- Start a gratitude journal. Each day, write down three things you’re grateful for. Write down things that make you happy. And when you feel down, open that folder and reread all things you’re grateful for.
- List down reasons for why you create
- If you’re faced with a problem, ask yourself a lot of questions on how you could tackle that problem
- You don’t create because you must. You create because you like creating and because you want to create. You write because you love playing with words. You create photoshops because you want to test out colours and designs. You love experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. You write create you’re constantly looking for ways to make your content better.
- And again, if something doesn’t work out: Don’t get emotional about the result: Be rational about your content. Approach creating and analyzing content like a scientist.
- Make screenshots and notes of the people who have appreciated you in the past. Open them when you feel down. These screenshots might hype you up again
How to stay focused and overcome procrastination?
As content creators we are great procrastinators. Especially when we are faced with lots of tasks or larger projects. So what could we do to deal with our procrastination so that we can get the job done? Here are some ideas I gathered from other Marketers
What to do:
- Make sure you go unplugged when doing an important task. Either turn off your WiFi or put your phone at a difficult-to-reach spot. Turn off all notifications.
- When planning tasks, don’t only write down what you must do, but also write down why you must do that. Finding a solid reason behind doing a tasks might help you get going
- Activate app blockers, so that it will be difficult for you to access Social Media during deep work time.
- Set a timer. For instance, set a 30-minute timer that tells you to not be distracted by anything. And use these thirty minutes to solely focus on creating content. After the timer goes off, you can give yourself some time for distractions
- Use a Pomodoro app: 25 minutes of work, 5 minute break, then more 25 minutes of work, then a longer break.
- Include time for breaks.
- If you are distracted by the thought of doing a small task (like loading the dishwasher or going outside for a minute), complete that task and then focus on your work again.
- Block off time for focused work and block off time for distractions. You can alternate between deep focus and distractions, but you must set clear timeframes. Say, for instance, that you focus on deep work from 9 to 10 AM. Then, you grant yourself time for distractions from 10 AM to 10:30 AM. As long as work and distractions are separated, you’ll be fine
- Because if focused work and distractions follow one another up too quickly, you won’t be productive when performing a focused task nor when performing a distractive task.
- Similarly: You can consider doing a distractive task as a reward of doing deep focused work. Tell yourself that you will get food/access social media if you’ve finished your task.
- In a work situation: Disclose when you will focus on something, for what reason, and why colleagues shouldn’t distract you. Say, for instance: “if you allow me to focus from 9 to 11, I can help you solve your problems and talk with you during the remainder of the day. If you don’t allow me to focus, I will likely produce lower quality work.”
- Create an environment for yourself that makes you focus. If that environment includes music, that’s more than fine!
- Sometimes you might be tired. Take a nap and make sure you’re well-rested. A walk outside does wonders as well.
- Add relaxing to your to-do list. Relaxing is important if you want to be productive. Watching a TV-episode for 30 minutes is more than fine. It’s a nice break and after watching a Netflix episode you are ready to get going again.
- Embrace your procrastination. Admit that you are procrastinating.
- Plan your tasks.
- If you’re faced with a big task: Set smaller goals, such as “just start writing 200 words”, or “just write the first two paragraphs of your blog article.” These small goals don’t sound overwhelming and quite often you will find the momentum to continue once you’ve started.
- You might often start procrastinating when a task sounds difficult. What helps, is just start working on your task
- If you’re not feeling it, see if you can delay the task to another time.
- If that’s not possible, work in short bursts