For the last several months, I’ve been trying to keep up with working a full time job while simultaneously growing and maintaining my personal brand. It’s been a challenge, having little to do with time and more so with having energy. I knew that I would only be able to blog at least once or twice a month, and for the most part I’m okay with that. Most of the (self-imposed) pressure comes from trying to be consistent with Facebook and Instagram, though lately I’ve felt insecure and even afraid to post certain things:
Pushback (“Why are you always so dramatic? Can’t you ever say something positive about life?”).
Wondering if I’m oversharing, period.
Disliking how my voice sounds on recordings (why I’m hesitant to dive into Instagram stories and Youtube).
Not wanting to live life entirely through a filter, spending present moments wondering whether or not it would make for good writing or some kind of posting.
And not feeling entirely ready.
Yet there’s a nagging voice in the back of my head, one reminiscent of my first professional venture in marketing: Be one with social media. If you’re stats aren’t going up, you’re not doing something right. You’re supposed to get better and better!
What is better, if it makes you feel like you’re just a voice in one respect, and a face in another?
Do followers, shares, and engagement really matter if the numbers behind it are constantly going up and down?
And if you succeed at something, whether it’s ending up on a best-seller list or something going viral, do you keep at it while the going is good, or do you take a breath and collect yourself first?
The answer is different for every artist, but it comes down to this: tell the truth, and the rest will take care of itself. Be genuine. Engage when you feel led to do so. But don’t get so caught up in the neon glow of internet fame where you start to slide from creation to production.
Creativity is an expression from your heart, for yourself. Production is making things pretty, and it becomes more about the masses. Yes that first part is important, but not at the expense of feeling like you’re feeding into a machine for the sake of keeping your audience happy and fed. You are a human being before you are a brand.
Deadlines are there for a reason, and discipline should be cultivated. But there is grace for those who don’t post exactly the same number of times per week, as well as those who love to write but seek to balance living life as much as they write about it. There is power in not letting stats and strategy dictate how you use your gifts, and there is power in refusing to apologize for rest and figuring out what truly works for you.
I know I am; I would love to find a mentor and attend events where creatives can encourage and help each other out. As much as I love pouring into people, I need to have those same things being done for me too.
At the heart of it all, I’m a storyteller, and I want to be able to tell my story with as much truth and love as possible. If those things are missing, and if this so-called pressure becomes too great, then I’m obviously not doing it for the right reasons.
Dig. Sift. And then speak.