I am going to write a list of things which are impossible.
Balancing upside down on your nose, disliking kittens, going an entire month without spending money on ASOS and scrolling through Twitter without someone feeling downbeat about Instagram/their blog/engagement/the internet/content/you get what I am trying to say.
And the thing is, everyone has an opinion.
We all like to think that we know best, that we’ve online SaVvY enough to spot trends and know what works. That we’re all some kinda clued-up social media guru.
When actually, we’re all just mumbling through and praying for a fucking miracle.
Because the truth is, none of us really have the answers and none of us know where the magical digital content world will be next year, let alone in five.
So my advice, is the opposite of advice. My advice is to just do you.
Groundbreaking and helpful, I’m sure you’ll agree.
But let me explain.
Everywhere I look, I see people panicking. People leaping into hardcore no-green, no-yellow, no-orange, no-dark Instagram themes. People screaming ‘BUT YOU MUST FOCUS ON YOUR BLOG ABOVE ALL ELSE BECAUSE IT’S THE ONLY THING YOU ACTUALLY OWN’. People spreading themselves across a blog, YouTube, Instagram, a newsletter, three podcasts, a panel, a wedding and a book proposal with the hope that something, anything might stick. People becoming slaves to LiKeToKnOwItPlzMaKeMeMoNeY.
And I won’t pretend I haven’t done all of the above.
Because anyone who’s keen to be a success in the influencer (can’t think of a better word, soz) world has done it.
It’s an addictive industry, whether you’re just starting out and keen to make a success of your blog so you can quit your 9-5, or you’ve been knee deep in five figure Instagram collaborations since day dot.
There is nothing that puts you on a faster, sexier, more delicious power trip than new followers, new likes, new comments of positivity from strangers and new emails offering you money and clothes and free trips abroad.
So the minute things start to slow, if even for a day, you start to question what’s wrong.
One Insta upload that garners three-quarters the likes of the last one and you’re questioning your entire self worth and your place on the internet.
You wonder if you’re shit, if no-one likes you, if maybe you’ve lost it.
And, whilst there’s this rational part of your brain that’s lazing back on a deckchair and laughing at you, there’s another MUST.GET.MORE.ONLINE.LOVE part that is desperately searching for its next addictive hit of the good stuff.
The good stuff being y’know the emails and the followers and the likes and all that.
And so we start to lose sight of what we were doing in the first place, of what, and this is a biggie… of what we actually fucking like doing and creating.
And so we’re miserably distracted during our Sunday morning brunch with friends because we’re frantically trying to think of what we could create and upload next. Maybe a cute outfit snap on Instagram? But who will take it? And where will you take it? And is your outfit even nice enough? Interesting enough? Or maybe a ground-breaking blog post that everyone will share and discuss at great length on Twitter. But do you have any good ideas? And time to write? And FUCK WHAT IMAGES WILL GO WITH IT?
And, when you’re placing so much pressure of every single little thing you put out there, you start sucking all the joy out of it.
Because the likelihood is that the majority of things will never live up to the expectations you place on them, and if they do, you’ll only be left anxiously trying to think of the next thing that will outdo your previous efforts.
And so my advice is to step back, breathe and remember what it feels like to just exist without trying to turn every move into content.
I like writing and I love collating an Instagram grid, but I never, never had passion in YouTube and it always showed.
I started a newsletter and stopped the minute it became a chore, but that – that is the absolute beauty of the internet and being in charge of your own channels, you can chop and change and switch direction at any moment.
You are in control.
So do not drain yourself focusing on what everyone else is doing and working out what performs the best. Instead, use that energy to work out what the fuck makes you happy and what brings you creative fulfillment because the benefits of that far, far, far outweigh the benefits of a paid campaign with a salad dressing company and a free £12 jumper.
(Although granted, digital happiness doesn’t pay your water bill – but when you love what you do, I’ve found everything else seems to slow into place. People are naturally drawn to the positive vibes of others).
There is something incredibly liberating about uploading something – whether it’s a blog post or an Insta shot – and knowing it won’t harvest the likes and the comments you’d like it to and pressing publish anyway.
Because if you like it, really, what else matters?