And how I’m navigating them — so you can do the same.
It can get lonely sometimes as an independent content creator.
My friends sometimes get surprised when I say I’m tired. They think because I love my work and I quit my job to pursue my passion, I’ll never be exhausted.
Ha, I wish that was true; that there was some magic if you did what you loved, you’d never crave for a break
Turns out, we’re all humans. And humans need breaks.
This article is for every creator who’s lately been feeling stressed, overworked, or unfulfilled. This is a reminder to never blame yourself for needing a break. You aren’t competing with anyone else. Your growth pace might be slow, but it’s still valid. You don’t need to burn yourself out to deserve to take some time off for yourself.
If this is relatable, read on for the three unexpected problems I faced when I started my career as a full-time content creator. I’ve also included how I’m navigating my way around them so you don’t have to face the same issues on your journey.
1. The struggle to find balance is real
I talk a lot about mental health and work-life balance. But sometimes, it’s hard to follow what I preach.
In 2021, my dream was to earn a 5 figure USD monthly income by the end of the year. But I had to work so hard for that goal, that by year-end, I was burnt out.
I realize now that though money is important, it’s much more important to wake up with enthusiasm each day and have the fire in your heart to tackle your work.
If you’re always exhausted, or if you let your self-worth be defined by how much you’ve achieved, it’s hard to reach that balance and peace of mind.
This year, my goal is to spend each day only working for 5 hours. The rest of the time is to engage in things that truly make me happy and aren’t related to work in any way.
I am trying to stick to this routine, but sometimes, the guilt of not working enough is too strong. Sometimes, I fall into the abyss of overthinking and wonder how much more I can achieve if I only put in extra hours of work.
I try to not let such thoughts force me to go back into the grind and wear myself out by overworking. Every day, I don’t succeed. But every day, I am closer to my goal of a 5-hour workday.
If I truly want to let go of one negative trait this year, it’s the trait of letting my self-worth be defined by how productive I am or how much money I make.
This year, my goal is to be truly present in what I do, be grateful for all that I have, and not let “work” become my “life.”
2. The “real” definition of consistency
Life as a writer is a topsy-turvy curve full of ups and downs.
The sad part is — most people are only familiar with the positive sides, thanks to social media. But very few creators talk about the constant anxiety to perform and the sleepless nights spent stressing out over a deadline.
There are days when I make no progress at all.
Days when I can’t write a single word, make any sale or do anything worthwhile that justifies feeling proud of myself for getting some work done.
On those days, the urge to give up is the strongest, but I hold on.
I hold on because I know progress is never linear. If I give up today, I’ll rob myself of all the amazing possibilities that can come my way soon.
I hold on because this is all that I know.
I’m positive my future self will thank me for not giving up.
Consistency doesn’t mean you have small wins every day. Sometimes, it means losing every day for several years until one day you finally win big.
3. Getting used to the fact that ideas are meaningless
Thinking up ideas is the easy part. Studies have shown that humans have around 6,200 thoughts in a single day.
It’s the execution that stumps most people, especially when you’re at the start of your journey, and it will take a few months or years to see any real concrete results.
The three elements of success
- Iteration based on feedback, and
- The shameless self-belief that it will all work out in the end
are the three elements that separate a successful creator from the sea of nameless people trying to make a living as a self-employed creative.
If you have all three, you’re already a winner, irrespective of what your stats or income reports say. If you don’t see the results today, keep pushing on, and one day, you surely will.
If you’re an independent content creator, I’d love to hear your take on this list. Please feel free to share your story in the comments.