These days, I’m sure like many, my primary source of reading material is via the internet, or more specifically my feed reader. There’s a lot of great content out on the web and filtering out the cruft to get to it can be a bit of a mission. We are bombarded with information clamouring for our attention the moment we open our web browser, so finding a way of weeding out the crap to reveal the good stuff is imperative.
The trouble is once you’ve found a few choice blogs which provide you with quality and fairly regular content, doors are opened. Opened to a world of inspiration. Inspiration to create for yourself, be it design, writing or whatever floats your boat. This in itself is fantastic. The more good stuff out there the more everyone benefits and the more people are inspired to go out and create. Let’s face it at the heart of everything that’s created there’s an inspiration that’s been harnessed to produce something unique.
On the other side of this there’s a negative. Once you’re up and running creating content that you are pleased with, the distractions appear. There’s traffic stats, how many people are visiting? How many people are staying? How many people like what you’ve done enough to subscribe and be notified when you create more? Then there are the comparisons. How come they get more than me? What’s so different about their writing than mine? Why can’t I execute my designs like that? It has an impact. It stops you creating, you lose your focus and the things you do create don’t bring the enjoyment they used to. Creating becomes a chore as you try to find the break through that will bring you the traffic, or is it the recognition, of the people you look up to?
It’s a nasty spiral and something we all go through. For whatever reason, it seems to be human nature to compare what you create to those around you. It starts early in school. There’s the competition with grades, that feeling you’ve put your heart and soul into something yet you only get a B but your mate gets an A and did it all the night before. Every time you go home your parents remind you, there’s no proof they did it the night before. Chances are they worked on it just as much as you did, if not more, and therein lies the reason for their higher grades. Similarly the same applies to the blogs and designers you come across on the internet. They’ve worked at it, and they’ve worked damn hard. It doesn’t just come over night, for some it comes quicker than others, but every time it’s deserved.
The trick is to make it enjoyable. Find that thing that makes you smile. That gives you the satisfied feeling up on pressing publish which can only come when you’ve worked at something. Remove those barriers, get rid of the nagging questions. Push them aside and concentrate on making what you create the best it can be. When you have those crises of confidence. Take a step back, review the situation, look at what you’ve done in the past that has satisfied you and know that you can do it.
Most importantly check your motivation. If you’re creating to try and satisfy others what you create won’t be the best it can. You can’t satisfy others because you don’t know exactly what their requirements and needs are. You only know what will satisfy you, and you’ll only know it when it’s been achieved.
So what satisfies me?
Knowing that I’ve done my best to bring to glory to God in all I do. As a Christian my priority is my relationship with Jesus. I try and begin each day with spending some time with my Lord, reading His word, listening and speaking with Him.
I go to work in the knowledge that I’m not going alone. That He is with me, my source of inspiration, my motivation. I try to work in a way that demonstrates this to my colleagues through my behaviours and the way I approach my work. All in the hope that they will see something different with in me.
So what’s the reason for this post?
It’s somewhat of a reminder. That if that’s the way I approach my work, why is it that the figures in my Mint installation matter so much? They shouldn’t. The reason I like to create is the same as the reason I apply myself to my work in the manner I do. I want to use my gifts to bring glory to Him. I want to create quality content, not because it might increase the numbers, but because I want people to see that I’ve something in my life that matters far more. Something that drives me to do that best I can in everything I do, not just in certain areas of my life, but in everything.