Whether it’s a part time hobby or a full-time job, being a content creator requires you to constantly put yourself “out there” for the world to see. The constant exposure can take a toll on your mental health, if left unchecked. Feelings of self-doubt can creep in, causing a lack of praise to drain your motivation, and small criticisms and negative comments can break your spirit. Even worse, the negativity can spread into other elements of your life, and cause you to further spiral into a bad mental place.
Taking control of self-doubt is an important step for any content creator. Whether you’re a streamer, artist, YouTuber, or even just a popular Twitter user – knowing how to identify and handle those moments where you don’t feel great about yourself can have a huge impact on your ability to work through creative slumps.
Acknowledge the Negativity, and be Rational
Negative thoughts are about as subtle as a fireworks show. You know it when you feel it, but we often don’t think about our negative thoughts rationally. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you generally hit 20-30 viewers on average during your streams. This past week, you had a day where only 8 people showed up. You start to wonder if people lost interest in your stream. You start to feel like maybe streaming isn’t a good fit for you.
In this scenario, you are looking at one instance of what you consider a “failure” (I didn’t get very many viewers) and interpreting it as an indicator of a larger problem (I’m not a good streamer). However, if you try to rationalize it, it’s kind of a big leap to say “I only got 8 viewers, so I’m a bad streamer.” Stepping back, there’s a few things to consider that could have played into your bad day, which would indicated that it was just that – a bad day. Sure, you only got 8 viewers, but that’s 8 human beings who took time out of their day because they love your content. And yeah, 8 viewers is less than your normal numbers, but it was just one day.
Reflect on Your Success
When you’re not feeling confident about the content you’re currently putting out, sometimes it helps to reflect on your past successes. Go back and watch a VOD of a recent stream that went really well. Read the positive comments on an art piece you uploaded. Think about what you’ve put out over the past month or two that you’ve felt good about.
Reminding yourself of your success not only has a positive impact on your mood, but by reflecting on “what went right,” you can hone your focus to implement those successful elements into your current work.
Confide in other Creators
Your friends, family, and fans don’t always understand what you’re going through… But there are others who do. If you know another content creator, reach out to them and express how you feel. If you feel like it’s just a rough patch and you just want to talk, ask them about how they deal with it. If you think you’re in a creative rut and want their advice on how to improve, most creators are happy to share their insights. In a previous article, I discussed some of the perks of joining a streaming community. If you’re a member of one such community, you have a plethora of other creative individuals within reach. This doesn’t apply just to streamers by the way – there are many creative communities out there for all types!
Tune Out Negative Influences
One comment can make you feel like you’re on top of the world, or ruin your day completely. If the source of your self-doubt comes from negative comments, hecklers, or bad interactions with others – find ways to tune them out. It should go without saying, but if someone is harassing you – mute or block them. If comments on your channel are mainly negative, take steps to disable comments until you’re in a place to receive them.
Some days, you just don’t have the spoons to deal with negative feedback, and that’s totally okay! Good self-care is knowing when you should step away and take time to rejuvenate yourself emotionally.
So, you’ve rationalized your self-doubt. Maybe you found some weak areas in your content, and would like to do something about it? That’s great, let’s make a plan!
Identify an action plan consisting of easily achievable steps. If your plan is to rebrand your channel overnight, stop. If you think you need to relearn your art style, pause and assess yourself. Go back to the “rationalization” part of this article, and think through things a bit more.
The goal is to give yourself a roadmap back to a spot where you can feel confident. Going about it rationally and taking things bit-by-bit will increase your chances of success, as well as keep stress levels to a minimum as you make changes!
Go Easy on Yourself
At the end of the day, you put your heart and soul into the content you create. It can be emotionally and mentally draining at times. Just as it’s perfectly normal to have high points, it’s perfectly normal to have low points. It happens to all of us. Learning to handle it and overcoming it are just steps towards personal growth. You can do it!
Relax on yourself a little … we all go through stuff … go through it pic.twitter.com/AlKwkJOf7R
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) June 6, 2018