5 Reasons You’re Not Working On Your Smutlancing Dreams
I’m guilty of a very bad habit as a creator.
If the stars don’t align just perfectly to give me the perfect parameters that I need to create something – write a blog post, record a podcast, or work on future goals (like course creation and ebooks) – I won’t do it.
So what does that mean?
It’s too cold (or too hot). I don’t want to write at the kitchen table but Starbucks is too crowded or noisy (or I don’t have money for a coffee). Instead of the hour I want, I only have 15 minutes which means, clearly, my fingers have forgotten how a keyboard works.
I’m Goldilocks and my perfect moment to create is the three bears’ house with no baby bear. And it can derail nearly every project and plan I have.
When my anxiety kicks in or I’m worried about failing (or succeeding), I have plenty of reasons why I don’t start the next thing. I’m not alone. Plenty of creative people find reasons not to start on their work.
You’ll Never Have as Much Time as You Want
Until you’re retired, living in the lap of luxury, or find someone who lets you live in the lifestyle you want to be accustomed to, you’re never going to have as much time as you want. Even if you have the “perfect” life situation, you still won’t have enough time.
Why? Because it’s a myth.
When we’re determined to create our art – write a thing, take a picture, test a toy, do something – we get to work. But when we’re afraid or uncertain, we use the lack of the “perfect” time as an excuse.
For years, I didn’t write because I didn’t have eight hours of interrupted silence. Until the day I decided I wanted to be a freelance writer and I learned that, when push comes to shove and a client waits with a deadline, I don’t need eight hours of silence. It was an excuse I’d made up.
Want an hour but only have 15 minutes? Then use your 15 minutes. You might only write a paragraph or a page, but it’s more than you had before. And it all adds up.
You’ll Never Be Perfect
To the writer, creator, photographer out there who holds back from creating your art because you’re not good enough, no one is good enough. At least, not to themselves.
Be wary of the person who thinks every word they type or piece of art they make is perfection from the moment they produce it.
The rest of us worry over commas and colors. We question ourselves before we start, while we’re creating, and long after we publish. When someone genuinely likes our work, we have a split second where we wonder if they’re really talking about us.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been blogging for five minutes or fifteen years, you will always question yourself, at least a little.
None of us will ever be perfect but by putting in the work, we get better. Better is the goal, not perfection.
Your Idea Won’t Be Completely Unique
Too many people think they have to come up with the newest idea that no one has ever thought of in order to get started. Actually…no.
Completely new ideas are one in a billion. A trillion? Possibly even one in a zillion. A lot of things have already been done.
Two types of people never get started…
The person waiting for a brilliant and new idea to hit them.
The person who thinks they can’t start because their idea isn’t new.
We don’t need new ideas as much as we need new voices and perspectives. Yes, you’ve had sex as have billions of people on the planet. But no one else had your unique set of experiences, feelings, thoughts, and perspective. The situation might not be new, but your telling of it is unique.
Yes, other people make sex toys or take pictures. Other people are into BDSM. Plenty of people have opinions about sex or relationships. Millions of people want to write a book. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.
But they aren’t you. Your story, your view, your outlook on life, your experiences – this is what you bring to the table. This is what makes you unique.
You’re Afraid of Failure
As a creator, what exactly does failure look like? For most of us, it’s that we’ll be ignored, criticized, found wanting, or told we have no talent.
Let me clear something up for you…
No matter how long you write or create anything, no matter how good you get at it, and no matter how many awards you win or how much money you earn, someone will always think you suck.
Failing isn’t putting your work out there and having it rejected by someone. That moment is guaranteed.
Failing is never showing up at all. Not hitting publish on a blog post. Deleting the picture from your camera. Refusing to put your product up for sale. That’s the failure.
Will you always earn what you want right away? Of course not. Audiences, attention, and income take time to build. So does talent, skill, and a catalog of work. But if you never show up, you never get the chance to find out how far you could have gone.
You’re Afraid of Success
Hear me out on this one. It’s one I’ve come to recognize in myself more recently.
There will come a time when you’ll get into a groove with your work. You’ll publish, write, and make your thing on a regular schedule. People will notice and some of them will like you for it.
Numbers will go up whether it’s readers, followers, or orders. Money will be earned – a trickle at first but more as time goes on.
You’ll be on your way to the place you said you wanted to be. That pie-in-the-sky goal that you told yourself was a little crazy.
To get yourself over the edge into new territory and greater success, you’ll have to do new things. Make new stuff. Put yourself out there in new ways.
And you’ll come to a dead stop. Life will get in the way or you’ll let it get in the way. You’ll question everything you’ve ever done.
Staying small will feel good and comfortable. Why rock the boat? Why put yourself out there even more? It only equals more criticism and hate.
From my perspective, that’s a fear of potential success talking. No success is guaranteed but when you’re on the right path, you can feel the potential bubbling up all around you. And it’s just as scary as when you first begin. Maybe even scarier.
Just like the person who needs the perfect place and time, you’ll have to force yourself to move forward if you want to achieve those big, hairy goals. Swallow the fear, make your thing, and put it out there anyway (she whispers to herself).
This isn’t a complete list of things that stop us in our tracks, just the things I’ve personally experienced. Are there other reasons you’ve used to delay your work? Share in the comments below or on social media!
I was just talking about defining success with my partner and what it means for me as a blogger who is trying to broaden and grow their horizons. I know that for me a failure state can include any writing or situation that I’m not perfect with, like being afraid to ask a question perhaps. As for my actual success states, I’ve realized that I don’t know what those benchmarks are. Thanks for making me think about it a little harder!
You are so welcome! And the benchmarks will change…sometimes after you reach the first one and sometimes when you’re on your way towards it. It’s a little bit of a moving target, but if you’re moving in the direction you want to go in, that’s okay. 🙂
Oh Kayla I see a bit of myself in all of your reasons =) I think I also often fall into the trap of thinking that what other people want me to do is more important than what I want to do – so I end up saying ‘OK then’ to a bunch of requests that are just things people want, and which won’t really further my career or blog or anything, because I hate saying ‘no’, then I run out of time to do the things that I really want to do or that are more strategically helpful in things like building blog traffic (or making sure I’ve got the £ to pay my bills at the end of the month). This is a great piece, thank you for it. It’s a helpful reminder of what matters and what doesn’t <3
You’ve touched on one that I’ve only recently noticed in myself – saying yes to things that don’t do anything for me at all. Not to say that I don’t want to help – I do. But like you, I say yes so often that my priorities are set aside.
I’m glad you enjoyed the piece and that I’m not the only one who feels these things. 🙂
Your last point so perfectly describes how I’m feeling right now. I’ve finally got what I wanted and am getting requests for work… and I’m just freaking out completely. I know I need to just face my fears, but I’m scared. The higher I climb the further I can fall. I’m so glad I read this as it’s made me realise that all the doubts I’m having are just fear. Thank you for all you do on the Smutlancer, I think your blog and podcast really are fantastic and have been so incredibly helpful.
((HUGS)) You can do this, I promise you can. I get scared too, before every new client that I take on. But, believe it or not, the writing is the writing. You already do it on your blog, and they wouldn’t have wanted you to do it for them if you weren’t any good. And if you ever need help, feel free to reach out — Twitter or email. I’m happy to help if I can.