When you regularly get work your out online, it’s easy to be overly judgemental when you cast your eye back over what you have previously shared.
I’ve found a secret:
Release it. Move on to the next one.
If you’re continually pouring over your past work with an overly critical eye, you set yourself up to be worrying about what has happened, rather than what is happening right now.
It seems simple, but too many are caught in place, static. Waiting for something to happen, or inspiration to strike.
Spoiler alert: It won’t.
When to Release Your Work
There’s a reason you feel anxious before you post something online. Something fundamental exists within the modern generation that they’re scared of what other people think, this was instilled in you during your youth by overly critical parents or teachers, but you aren’t a fucking kid anymore. You’re not waiting for a grade on your work or some random act of approval, and if you are, you’re going to be waiting a long damn time.
So why do you care so much?
You shouldn’t. You should care a lot less because no one else gives a shit about you or thinks about you as much as you do.
Have you ever got caught up in your head wondering about the things you’ve said to someone?
“What impact have I had? Did I waste their time?”
“Do they care?”
“Maybe they hate me now…”
However, when you speak to that person again and ask them about what you discussed, they give you a response like:
“I didn’t think about it that much.”
“I hadn’t even thought of that.”
It’s because you’re overthinking things WAY too much. You should stop that. It doesn’t make sense. The reason spending all of your time critically thinking through the impact a single thing or piece of work you put out there doesn’t make sense is:
That was then. This is now.
I hear people calling to me right now in the future, saying things like: “But Jamie, sir, you haven’t answered when I should be sharing my work” – Whenever you can is the answer.
Working in the Now
When you have a new idea, you have the most drive and inspiration. It’s those moments you can scope out an entire book or new side project, maybe you’ll get the fundamentals done, but then the project sits there unfinished for… the rest of time probably.
You’re thinking too big.
When starting something new, it’s easy to spend hours and hours writing out plans of how the project could work and what you might do. However, eventually, that wave of inspiration dies down, and you won’t follow through on all those plans you made.
The key to working in the moment and acting on your enthusiasm is to get stuff out there in as short a period between the idea and the execution and publishing.
When committing to share content to grow your business, it might seem like a great idea to get months and years worth of content done in advance, but this causes complacency and laziness. Something like getting 52 newsletters written and then deciding you’re going to post one a week is super easy. Honest.
I did it recently over a couple of days, only to find when I was done, that a weekly cadence didn’t work for me and the thought of having thoughts I’m having and writing down now being released in a year stressed me out.
By then, everything could have changed.
Think back a year.
What was happening?
Are things exactly the same?
Of course not.
As a designer at heart, it’s commonplace for me to come up with ideas and them be in the hands of the client the same day. So why, when I write to make content, do I need to plan things out weeks and weeks in advance, bending to a schedule that “makes sense” rather than what works for me and how I create.
Instead, I focus on the moments of inspiration and today, the now and what I care about most at the moment, then how I can get it out there as soon as possible.
Because of how much I think and the amount of content I produce, I NEED to work in the now, rather than looking months and years into the future.
Without that immediacy, I get lazy, and no one ever got what they wanted being lazy.
You’ve summoned up the gumption to get your work or content out into the world, good job! But when you look back and read through it, you cringe and wonder how you could have shared something like this. You want to delete it and get it off the internet.
Feeling this resistance means you’ve progressed and grown as a person and a professional since you shared that opinion. With every piece of content you share, you care less and gain the insight you need to improve things and grow.
Every new thing you try is naturally met with resistance, change is difficult, and people don’t like change.
The way that you push forwards is to think of the results and how every action and forward movement is another step along your journey. It’s why when you’re trying something new, you question everything so much. You care way too much about what others think. However, to push yourself and your work forwards, you need to stop over complicating things so much, and get on with it, to do this take one of your ideas, break it down into smaller stages and steps, just as you would with a client or at work. In doing this, you make the idea less daunting and work out precisely what you need to do, so you always have something to be working on, and push forwards.
To help this process along, you should be in constant communication with those who benefit from what you’re creating so you are always learning and adjusting your trajectory to be heading in the right direction on the journey to your dreams.
Always be educating yourself on what the audience wants, and you’ll never have to guess or make assumptions. If you’re struggling to relate, take some time to talk with the people you seek to help, in doing so, you’ll find out a raft of inspiration and triggers that your demographic genuinely care about. When you get that data, you can find and relate to the mindset you need to frame your decisions through, to validate them.
Only You Care This Much
Just like everything in life, it’s easy to overthink. But keep it simple. Work out what you’re helping with, and whom you’re assisting, then find them and get to helping, rather than overcomplicating achieving what you want.
The key to being able to release your work, without having a panic attack, or boring yourself to death, is to always be pushing your vision and finding the people you impact the most. Use that to inspire you and distract from your monologue telling you to stop or give up.
You’re better now. Create something fresh with that new mindset, rather than wasting your power critically pondering what you’ve done before.