After a couple minutes of editing the brightness, contrast and a variety of other photo settings, you finally muster up enough courage to post that Instagram picture from last night. You close the app only to immediately open it back up to see that only Karen has liked your photo so far. I get it. It can sometimes be easy to get wrapped up in the number of likes, comments and shares our posts get. I totally get it. I do the same thing when I post to Instagram, Facebook, Medium or any other social media channel.
This whole internet thing has created a near-immediate feedback loop that has us yearning for approval on everything we share. Within seconds of releasing something into the social-sphere, we can tell just how well it’s received by our friends, family and colleagues. It’s this constant worry of how our content will be received that has us second guessing if we should even share that transformation photo or the lasagna we made for dinner last night.
And that’s exactly why you shouldn’t hit the ‘Share’ button to begin with.
Now please allow me a second to clarify.
If you are in a place mentally where you don’t care at all what others think about your posts, that’s awesome! And I’m ecstatic for you and think you should share what you’re passionate about. But some of us just aren’t that lucky or haven’t taken enough crap to be in that place yet. This is for those people who are too afraid to share anything. They’re too afraid to hit ‘Post’ or ‘Publish’ or ‘Send’. They’re too fearful for what people will have to say.
I agree, it can be really scary putting everything you have into something — all of your thoughts and emotions — and getting no traction, or even worse, negative comments or reviews. And that’s why you just need to create. Write that article you’ve always wanted to write. Create that post you’ve always wanted to create. That hilarious video of you tripping while just walking down the street? Edit that as well.
Write and create everything you’ve ever wanted to — and then stop. Don’t hit the ‘Send’ or ‘Publish’ or ‘Share’ button.
What I really mean is just create to create. Get used to transforming your thoughts into something concrete. Create for yourself. For the sake of self-development or self-betterment. Don’t create for someone else. And definitely don’t create to optimize views or likes or shares. Every photo you take or article you write does not have to be shared. It does not have to be perfect. And it for damn sure does not have to be perfectly polished for the world.
A lot of times, by simply moving the needle forward on your creative process, your confidence will grow. But if it doesn’t that’s okay too. Regardless of the outcome, you will have documented your thoughts at a specific time in your life. This is invaluable. A snapshot of the way you thought and viewed the world at a specific time in your life? Imagine how you’re going to feel reading that when you’re 85 looking back at your life!
So start by simply writing what you are thinking or feeling everyday. And then don’t feel obligated to publish once you’re done. It’s totally okay to let your words slowly marinate in your ‘Drafts’ section. Maybe you edit the content a few times while the post is sitting idle. Maybe one of those edits you really like and think someone could really benefit from you sharing it. And maybe you want to help that person so much so that, in a short bout of confidence, you hit the ‘Post’ button. And maybe, just maybe, that post changes someones’ life. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But all of those maybes definitely won’t happen if you don’t start by just simply creating without the intention of sharing.