Knowing people who are content creators, often times I wonder if my perceived value as a friend and person hinges on the things I make – or rather, the things I DON’T make. During periods of inactivity, I notice that the support from my peers begins to dwindle. Sometimes it feels like I’m not worth talking to at all. I become frustrated and disappointed with myself when I can’t take time to create. So when it seems like those I consider friends don’t view me as valuable unless I’m creating – regardless of whether or not that’s true – it reaffirms all of the negative feelings I already have towards myself as a creator.
I believe I am worthy of the same love and support that I try to give my peers and friends daily. Yet as soon as I take a break from creating, a switch flips and my brain begins to tell me the opposite.
It’s a strange new breed of imposter syndrome.
I’m doing the best that I can juggling socialization and content creation and freelance work. And yet I feel like in my current situation in life, anything I do will never be enough to make people like me or believe I’m worthy of their attention, simply because I don’t have the time or the money to create like I used to.
The content creation community used to have the mindset of “if you want it badly enough, you will make the time.” If that meant sacrificing sleep and time with friends and loved ones then so be it! If it meant working a 9-5 and then coming home and making videos all night and slowly wrecking your body and mind then that’s just what you had to do if you wanted to become a content creator.
But recently more and more creators are realizing what a mistake that was. It seems like every day we see new YouTubers or Twitch streamers acknowledging their mental health and taking breaks. Because the mindset they used to have wasn’t healthy. I could lose sleep and friends and free time to start creating nonstop again. But I won’t. I can’t sacrifice my wellbeing for what for me will most likely never become more than a hobby, as much as I might want it to.
There’s never been a day when I haven’t wished for content creation to become my full time job. But looking at my pattern of creating, you wouldn’t see that. You would think that I’ve been lazy, or that I’ve given up. I haven’t. But the way things are going, I don’t see content creation ever working out for me. I can’t prioritize this pipe dream like I used to back in college living off my parents’ hospitality.
So I create only on the occasions that I can.
I know that I’m still valuable as a person and as a content creator even when I’m not creating content regularly. I know that when I DO create, I am proud of and enjoy the things I make, little or infrequent as they are. I know that working and providing for myself and my tiny family is important and comes before anything else, and there is no shame in putting low to no pay content creation aside for a bit in order to be able to live comfortably. I know that I’m successful as a freelancer (no easy task) and I’m incredibly good at what I do, both of which are something to be proud of. And more than that, I know that I’m trying as hard as I can every day in every aspect of my life to make myself and everyone else around me happy.
So why do I feel so worthless?
If you, the person reading this, are a creator – a YouTuber, streamer, filmmaker, editor, blogger, author, artist, dancer, singer, musician, songwriter, playwright, poet, DIYer, handcrafter, or anything else you might be – you are valuable regardless of what you make or when you make it. If you’re out in the world creating things with your two hands all on your own then it doesn’t matter the quality or frequency of the end product, you are doing something unique to you that no one else is doing and you are absolutely KILLING IT. And so am I! Creative minds are worth celebrating – that means you AND me, and anyone else trying to change the world one creation at a time.
So raise a glass to you today, because regardless of how others may treat you, regardless of how lonely or disliked or worthless you may feel, you are valuable and you ROCK.
Don’t be like me and forget that.