Being a creator is somewhat of a delicate balance: you are constantly balancing what you want to do with what your audience wants to see. I’ve flip flopped in all directions with this, sometimes creating only what I want, to hell with everyone, and sometimes creating what the audience wants to see, to hell with what I want. Both have been unfulfilling, and honestly I spent the last year exhausted, overwhelmed and frustrated.
I, like most, had previously set goals on follower numbers, engagement rates, and things that, quite frankly, are a little out of my control. I mean, I know the algorithm acts on human behaviour however once the algo makes a decision about you, it’s hard to break. I was quite frankly getting sick of setting goals and targets that were largely based on what others would do, or not do. Which when you think about it is rather silly.
This search for the numbers has made me dreadfully unhappy and often feeling like I’m failing when in reality, I have been doing this work since I left university and I’ve managed to make a living from it, so I must be doing something right!
Part of the problem has been focusing on the outside wins rather than the inside feels if that makes sense. So this year, I’ve decided to focus more on me and what I’m good at and almost shut out the rest of the noise.
I’ve decided to call the things I want ‘promises’ because let’s face it, that feels way better than goals, targets, or anything else.
I’m sharing this merely out of interest and to perhaps inspire someone else to focus on what we have control over, verses what we don’t. If just one person perhaps focuses on the inner feels this year, I’ll be happy.
So here are my creative promises to myself this year.
1 I promise to ‘stay in my lane’ and not focus on what other creators are doing
I have spent a long time following what others have done, or at least been influenced by them, and trying all sorts of different things and ideas. And while I dont regret this one bit, I’ve decided that this is the year I need to stay in my own lane. I’ll focus on what I’m good at, what I do naturally, I’ll stay in my lane and let everyone else stay in there’s. Their path is not mine and mine is not theirs. So while I will look and admire other creators, I won’t think I should be doing what they are doing because their path is not mine.
2 I promise to not follow viral trends if it doesn’t work for me and what I do
I’ve seen it said a lot, that we should jump on viral trends to grow and in reality that makes sense. However, there is nothing more cringe inducing than seeing someone doing a viral trend when they are clearly uncomfortable doing it. Whilst going viral would of course be lovely, I want to go viral on my own terms doing something that I love and want to talk about more rather than a trend that is way off base for me. This is a trap we can so easily fall into as creators, and I’m going to try hard not to fall into this trap or be seduced by the latest viral thing.
3 I promise to learn new techniques and try new things
I am my own worst enemy sometimes. I am a creature of habit and I stick to what I know. I was one of those that had to be dragged into the reel idea on instagram. This year, I have decided to give everything that interests me a try. I want to get better at what I do, I want to improve and I want to be able to at least say I gave things a try.
4 I promise to not be swayed by what others are doing. Just because it worked for them, doesn’t mean that it will work for me!
I have fallen into this trap so many times, seeing something work for another and then thinking it will work for me, trying it and failing. This year I’m not going to focus on other creators as much and focus on my own creations more.
5 I promise to push myself creatively.
I have put myself into a box creatively, and I want to redefine what creativity is for me by trying other creative things and other creative pursuits. I’ve already started this and can’t wait to show you how far I have come.
6 I promise to not compare my journey to others
My journey is not yours and yours is not mine. I will stop comparing where I am and where others are. I’m in this for the long haul I might be going at tortoise speed sometimes but I’m good with that.
7 I promise to form authentic bonds with other creators
What I have found, particularly on Instagram, is that the relationship we form with creators can be really inauthentic. People will only comment on your post if you comment on their etc: and I did fall into that trap. But by doing that, I ended up commenting on things that honestly don’t move me or I don’t really care about just to get the comment and like back. I mean what is that all about!!! So this year I want to show real love and appreciation for the creators I love, adore and follow, ones whose work really touches me and moves me, creators who I generally like . It may mean my engagement goes down, it may mean I annoy people but I am after quality engagement not fleeting popularity.
This is the same for the brands I want to form meaningful bonds with the brands I love.
8 I promise to listen
I will look and listen to my audience, what they love, what they want and what they don’t want. I will take that in and hear it but I won’t necessarily have it lead me and put me in a box. My job, I feel, is to show you what you want but also to show you what you don’t know you want yet 🙂 So I will continue to listen to the numbers but not be lead by them.
9 I promise to have fun
This hasn’t been fun for me for a while and I want to put an end to that. I want to enjoy everything I do. I’m not saying I want it to be easy or effortless but I want it to be fun. This is going to be my prime decider on most things.
10 I promise to keep my promises.
When I started out this work I made my Bee Good Do Good Manifesto; a promise of sorts to my followers on what I will and will not do. Largely I feel I have stuck to these and will continue to do so, only today I have turned work down because I felt the product was designed to feed into a narrative about women I do not agree with. I continue to make decisions in my business as to hopefully have no negative impact on the people in my orbit.
I’d love to know what promises you are making to yourself this year, creator or not, tell me what you promise yourself this year.