For as long as I’ve been creating content, I’ve always had one particular struggle, and I’m curious to see if it affects anyone else.
The problem is that I’m a massive perfectionist.
I have an obsessive need to make everything I produce a certain standard, and usually end up feeling drained and exhausted as a result. This can make creating regular content very difficult, as tasks take much longer than they probably should.
When filming YouTube videos, I would spend an hour (minimum) setting up my lighting and equipment. Sometimes I take hundreds of photographs for a blog post when I’m only going to use four. Sometimes I don’t post to Instagram at all because I get so obsessed with how my grid looks.
I suppose this isn’t a new thing. I’ve always been a perfectionist in some form or another, it's just that this is the first time in my life when it feels like a burden rather than a blessing. Back in Art School, being a perfectionist was highly encouraged. I guess that’s fine when you’re doing a degree and have months to complete a project, but it’s not practical when you’re trying to grow an online following and there’s a much faster expected turnaround time.
I’m constantly torn between wanting to post the best possible content, and wanting to upload something on a fairly regular basis so that people don’t forget I exist. It’s a tricky balancing act that I can’t seem to get right. And this leads to me feeling overwhelmed, which leads to me having no motivation to make anything.
Why do I feel like this?
There are many possible reasons why I feel like this. It could old habits leftover from Art School. It could be the fact that I have Depression and Anxiety, which makes me more likely to be self-critical. It could be the current glamorisation of “the grind” and the workaholic culture for millennials. It could be the way I compare myself to other bloggers with far more experience. It could be a strange desire to be seen as the "best". Or, it could just be who I am as a person.
Whatever the cause, I’ve decided I want to overcome it. I want to learn to find the balance between perfect content and regular content. I want to make blogging fun, and not feel like a never ending to-do list.
What can I do to change this?
The good news is, I know this a problem, and recognising a problem is the first step to solving it.
I can start by figuring out what areas I really need to spend that extra time on, and what could be finished a bit quicker. For example, if I have a sponsored post, I can justify giving something a bit more time and energy; but try not to worry so much about regular posts. Perhaps if I’m really struggling, I could set myself a time limit on some tasks so that I don’t get carried away.
I’d also like to make more content about something that excites me, rather than getting obsessed with my branding or whatever. Blogging is supposed to be fun, right?
I really need to remember not to compare what I’m doing with bloggers who have been around for much longer than I have. Most of them have hired help from photographers or management, whereas I’m a one-woman band. I can afford to cut myself some slack.
On a related note, I want to remember that I don’t have to be better than other bloggers. It’s not a competition. There’s room for everyone to succeed.
I’ve also told my counsellor that I would like to work on this during my sessions, as it’s not just a blogging thing and is affecting other areas of my life.
It’s going to be a difficult journey because I really want to produce blog posts and Instagram photos to a high standard, but on the other hand I want this to be something that I can enjoy doing… and that’s really difficult when you’re convinced you’re doing everything wrong.
I’d love to know your thoughts.
As a reader, do you prefer regular content or perfect content? Do you struggle with perfectionism? Do you find that it slows down your process? How do you deal with it? Whether this is something you’re facing, or something you’ve overcome in the past, or even if you have the complete opposite problem and tend to rush things, I’d love to know. Let’s have a chat in the comments section.