I can’t be the only one who’s getting a bit fed up of creating ‘content’ all the time, can I?
It’s my birthday on Friday. I’ve got a lovely day out planned.
For once, I’m approaching it differently this year.
Maybe it’s a ‘getting older and wiser’ thing.
Maybe it’s just a consequence of getting fed up of technology and the social media age.
I’m not sure.
Last year, I took a shedload of photos on my birthday. (Here’s the photo diary, if you’re interested.)
I snapped over 400 photos on my DSLR of that day alone. That’s not even counting the ones I took on my phone for Instagram Stories, and the others to send back home to my poorly Mum who couldn’t make it that day.
That’s too many, isn’t it?
And if I’m being totally honest with you, I feel a bit empty about ‘creating content’ all the time.
For starters, I HATE the word ‘content’. It’s just icky, and overused. We’re all ‘content creators’ these days, instead of human beings.
Creating content means I’m always stressing out.
I’m always bending over backwards to get that photo from that place that I’ve seen on my Instagram explore page from that particular angle. Or for getting enough photos for a photo diary on here. Or for getting pretty photos and videos (on a camera, rather than my phone) for my Instagram Stories.
(Which I then spend ages faffing about with, having to use a special memory card reading dongle on my phone to download them, before putting them through at least two apps to tinker with them before they can see the light of day. Admittedly, it’s ridiculous I put so much effort in, isn’t it?)
And do you know what?
It feels like it’s for nothing.
All the effort feels futile. It’s in vain, because I don’t get the enjoyment I should out of it.
I’m going through the motions, because I’m trying to please everyone. Usually complete strangers on the Internet. No offence.
And I let it sap the fun out of my day – usually by putting too much pressure on myself while I’m doing it.
I don’t get a rush out of it. I don’t feel good about spending what should be a lovely, enjoyable day stressing out about ‘content’.
Because, if you’re solely creating something for ‘online content’, you’re creating it for the wrong reasons.
That’s the opposite of what creativity should be. It’s an organic process, not a forced one.
It should be fun, it should be enjoyable, it should be stress-free…
Back in June, I should’ve had a lovely day out in Manchester. (That’s where the photos in this post were taken, if you were wondering.)
Instead, I got stressed out about filming a video for IGTV.
I didn’t have an Image Stabilised lens, which meant that all my clips were super wobbly, so I beat myself up for that. I didn’t take enough photos for my ‘grid’ and for a photo diary on here, so I beat myself up again. And then, I spent most evenings for TWO WEEKS editing the video in Final Cut Pro, only for it to be a royal flop, which I beat myself up over yet again. (Because no-one’s bothering with IGTV, are they? Silly me.)
What should’ve been a lovely day out was spent stressing over angles, shots, and clips, with an abundance of ‘could you just do that again?‘ and ‘let me take that again’-s thrown in for good measure.
And it ruined it.
Because I wasn’t in the moment.
I was living my life through a lens.
And while that’s sometimes okay to do, because it enables you to create lasting memories, it’s not healthy to do it whenever you’re doing anything out of the ordinary.
It’s not healthy to be constantly snapping and faffing about on your phone, with only Instagram and your blog in mind.
It can often feel shallow and rather cheap. I want to create meaningful memories, not throwaway ones.
I came to a similar conclusion a couple of years back, when my inability to put my camera down and stay in the moment put a dampener on Christmas.
And I really want to be able to enjoy my birthday, instead of getting preoccupied by ‘content’.
Let’s clear things up, though: I’m not against content creation, or anyone who loves being a content creator, it’s just that I can’t trust myself not to get carried away, and I end up letting ‘gathering content’ dominate my day.
Yes, I’ll still be taking my camera.
For a photo diary on here, I’ll predominantly be shooting on my 35mm film camera instead.
That way, I’m limited to 24 shots. I can’t chimp at the back screen of my camera. I can’t immediately pop it on Instagram. It’s slower paced, and it’s more organic. I’m hoping it’ll be more enjoyable too!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still at my happiest when I’ve got my camera in my hand.
It’s just I’m at my unhappiest when I’m allowing the creativity to be sucked out of it for the means of content creation.
So, this time, I’m going to be taking things at my pace.
I’m going to be more present in the moment on the day.
Less preoccupied. Less rushed. Less stressy.
I’m not going to worry about getting enough shots for my Insta grid, I’m not going to worry about shooting enough video for my Stories, and I’m not going to stress over whether I’ve got enough snaps to string together another photo diary because it’s my birthday.
So why should I put myself through the stress?
Do you ever feel the same way?