In the movie Julie and Julia (11/10 recommend), main character Julie has doubts about her new blog. Specifically, her blog about cooking through Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking. During one of the scenes, she bangs her head against the table, typing desperately to her readers:
Is anyone out there? Anyone?
As a new blogger, I understand (a little too well) where Julie’s coming from. Over the past few months, I’ve put myself out there: I’ve created a YouTube channel, updated social media to look more “professional”, and created a website I’m happy with (for now) after hours of blood, sweat, and tears.
Why? What’s the point if no one is reading/listening/watching?
I used to create content with the hope that it would inspire many people. Hundreds, thousands, millions. I think that’s why so many of us create in the first place--we feel we have something unique to offer. We most certainly do, but it’s easy to become upset if your work doesn’t get recognition right away. And if it does? Even if it’s from thousands and thousands of people? You want more. You feel you can do better. It’s human nature.
I used to become upset when a video didn’t get a lot of views or likes. I would go back to the drawing board, wistfully hoping that maybe it would get more attention. Now, I’m just upset at myself for caring so much about what other people think. Why do I need to have x amount of subscribers to be successful?! Why do I need to have a million views, likes, shares, reposts in order to feel like I’ve done something… well?
^I’m an Enneagram Type 3, in case you couldn’t tell.
Society associates success with fame. To be famous means to be at the top of your field, so if you’re not well-known you must not be good enough. Right?
WRONG. So wrong.
The idea of “being famous” is something the average person needs to rethink. If you’re constantly creating for views, you’re putting your happiness in the hands of other people, and I don’t think that’s a healthy way to live.
If I did things only when people validated me, I’d never get anything done.
You’re never satisfied as an artist, and that’s something I’m learning to accept. Something that gets a lot of attention one day might not be “good enough” a year later. It’s easy to focus on the negative aspect of this fact. There will always be someone better than me, so what’s the point? Why bother?
I bother is because I’m hopeful. Hopeful that someone somewhere will see what I do and it will change their day. Maybe they will feel inspired to live more authentically, or to discover new ways to express themselves… I may not have a thousand followers, but why should that matter? If I can inspire one person, I’ll already have made a difference.
So I’ve started comparing myself to… myself. I realized a few days ago that I had been so focused on other people that it was making me sick. Forget fame, forget being “the best.” The only person I want to be better than is myself.
That’s what’s kept me going. Last night, my friend tagged me on Instagram to share an unedited freestyle. I wasn’t in a nice studio, and I didn’t have my dance gear on. I danced in my pajamas, in the comfort of my room. For the first time in a while, I danced with my soul. I had gotten so caught up in the numbers and likes on my YouTube videos that I forgot why I fell in love with dance. I forgot the euphoria of putting emotion into movement, of not having to impress anyone.
Ironically, it received more attention than any of my “scripted” things on YouTube. My point is, to my artists, creators, and anyone trying to put something into the universe, don’t stop. It’s so easy to give up because you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. You're following your own path. Not someone else's.