This post was originally posted at http://allfrillsbeauty.com/2015/11/creativity-killers-5-ways-you-may-be-sabotaging-yourself/.
I feel like I’m not alone with this topic today. I know there are people every day that wake up trying to find the motivation, encouragement and inspiration to chase their dreams. You know there are things inside of you that need to get out, but for one reason or another, today moving toward that dream today is just not an option.
I could probably write a whole library of articles about the things that kill our dreams, but today I want to welcome myself back to the All Frills Beauty blogosphere by talking about why I lost my passion for writing. Ouch. It’s true. I was over it. But I wasn’treally over it, because once I stopped, I missed it so badly. I decided that it was important to figure this out. So I did. I learned some really amazing things about myself, and more importantly some ways to make sure I never allow these 5 Creativity Killers to stop me from producing the things I love.
Beware of these 5 Creativity Killers
I could have approached this differently and told you how perseverance, determination, and will-power will get you to where you want to be. But sometimes you don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about someone having real struggles, and really figuring out how to overcome them. So since I promised myself that I would only write truth and authenticity, I did it my way. I hope my story helps someone today.
Living Inside the Box
When I started blogging, I really just threw an article out into the universe hoping I would get a few readers. I remember how excited I was when I looked on my analytics and saw 12 people had read it. Whaaaaat?!?! I didn’t know much about what I was doing, so I decided to do what I always do and find everything I could about how to have a successful blog. There are a ton of marketing tactics, expert how-to’s, and forums that will tell you how to make money and gain followers from your blog. There are a bunch of checklists, webinars and e-books, out there that tell you all of the keys to success.
I made it my business to consume as much information as possible about blogging. But there is a very thin line between being technically correct and being interesting. I don’t believe that anyone else caught that I was starting to do everything by formula, but I could tell… and it was whack. And it happens in so many other areas of our lives too. Whether you try parenting, praying, selling, relationship-ing (it’s a word today) by the book, you’re more than likely missing some major moments of brilliance by assuming everyone knows better than you. It’s really better to use the things you hear and read as guidelines vs. rules. Get multiple points of view and take time to interject what you know, to create your own plan for success.
Too Much Focus on Results
I love data. I know that sounds weird, but when people tell me “everyone is doing it” or “no one wants it.” I ask for numbers. How many is “everyone”? Anything online is full of data and analytics. You can find out what people are doing and how they are interacting in real-time these days. It’s great for making decisions and knowing what’s working and what’s not. So of course, I set my Google Analytics account to my website and watched what people were doing. It got crazy. The days I would post an article, I would share it on all of my social media networks, and check the numbers every hour to see if anyone was reading my stuff. Did anyone like me today? Was I relevant? Was I successful? Was I popular?
If the answer was no or not as popular as last time, the freak outs started. I began looking at numbers and trying to replicate the successes or fight the failures. Honestly, it wasn’t even an issue, but it becomes one when you ONLY do things for the immediate results they give. What happened to a great read? What happened to writing things you enjoy? I don’t know… I was too busy looking to see how many spikes I could get on my charts. I was too busy trying to be popular.
Whatever your individual goal is, it’s easy to get completely focused on your end game and miss all of the opportunities you have around you. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, goals are important, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. And I’m a big proponent of having goals within goals and learning from things you’ve already done to get to your destination. But you have to make room to live life a little outside of your area of focus, and make room for detours. If not, you’ll always have to look extra hard for sources of inspiration.
So here goes the real death of my creativity. Once the blog really started getting some good readership, I started to feel a little pressure about what I should be writing. I was looking at other popular beauty bloggers to see what they were doing. I was watching YouTube tutorials from different makeup artists. I started to feel like I wasn’t doing enough or putting out the right content. I mean, I don’t really consider myself a style maven… though I have some stylish contributors. I love doing makeup on other people, but scheduling hour-long makeup looks for tutorials didn’t really seem like a good use of time between my son and other businesses I’m running. But “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Right?! Only if you want to be a sell out!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” – Charles Caleb Colton
This quote may be true, but imitation is one of the top Creativity Killers out there. Creativity is all about using YOUR imagination or YOUR original ideas to produce something. Whether you’re producing a weekly blog post, developing a solution for a work-related problem, or determining the best way to help your child pull up their math grade, it’s important to look within first. The thing that will make you different and ultimately a standout, is what you bring to the table that’s unique. Your unique perspective, angle, and experiences.
You Fall Out of Love With Yourself
In the end, it was a stacking effect that got me. It was one thing after the other, piling up and piling up, slowing killing my love for what I was doing. I was focused on trying to follow that “foolproof” plan to success. Lasered in on it, but wasn’t getting the results that I thought I needed fast enough. I was too busy trying to be someone or something else. I started obsessing about my success compared to everyone else’s.
I was panicked about the lack of growth and quickly enough, my contributors started falling off, and I had the pressure of keeping this glittery boat (I didn’t care for very much anymore) afloat. And I knew I had done it again. I was about to fail at something I wanted to work so bad again. So I just stopped. I didn’t love it anymore. It wasn’t helping me feed my son. No one was really writing for me anymore… so I said screw it… I’m out.
Then the guilt rushed in. Uggghhh. It happens. That diet gets too tough and you’re not seeing results, so you eat a cookie and the guilt rushes in. You put your kid in Pop Warner and they suck, and now you’re wondering where you failed as a parent. You can’t believe how hard you worked to build your blog and put out quality content, to just walk away from it all.
So when I went back to think about the things that I used to love about my blog. I remember thinking that when I got the biggest adrenaline rush, was when I was writing about things that I didn’t know everything about. It’s great to be able to write off the cuff about things you do know about, but I really enjoyed learning new information and facts. The articles that were based on an interview with an entrepreneur, expert or influencer, finding the latest research on a health trend, or doing a review on a new product or service, were my absolute favorites! You know what else? When I went back to look at my numbers… those were the articles that people read the most!
Forgetting Your Purpose
I was having a meeting with one of my marketing clients, who hired me to help support and expand her current brand. She was ready to add a blog to her business, and she was describing all of the things she was intending to talk about, and a little bit of excitement started building in my belly (yes, it was excitement and indigestion). I was excited about the things she was planning on for her blog pages, but I was also excited about the process.
She was talking about the things she enjoyed doing, and those all became sections of her blog. Some of them fit perfectly in her existing brand, but other things were just things she really liked. A huge lightbulb went off in my head. I never really started blogging exclusively for popularity. I wrote because I really wanted to help people, by sharing my experiences as well as spark a conversation about beauty from the inside out. I had forgotten my purpose. I couldn’t remember that there was a bigger “why” to my “what” or “how”.
I always knew my message and content wasn’t for everyone. I knew even as a makeup artist; I wouldn’t compete with the 18-24 year old YouTubers killing the game. I knew I wasn’t going to stay up on the latest Gucci, Balmain, or Versace trends… I can’t even afford most of those brands. So why on earth did I try to conform? No clue… but I do know there is a way to bring myself back from the madness.
The Big Takeaway
So, take a step back and remember that your uniqueness is what will make you successful in whatever dream you’re chasing. Never forget your purpose. If you don’t know your purpose, keep pushing toward your passion. Your purpose will eventually show itself.
So welcome to All Frills Beauty, a place where creativity will not be allowed to die. I would love to hear from you, and know what ways you stay inspired. Let’s turn these negatives into positives!
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