That Loaded Term: Content Creator, aka "how come you don't do x anymore?"

in #update2 years ago

(adapted from my blog post here)

I’ve just written my update post. After looking over the itemized list I created about my shenanigans for the past six months, it’s safe to say it’s actually been super eventful. So much was happening, it should have been easy to go ham on the content creation. But beyond taking photos of my travels and art… there really wasn’t much I was putting out. Even on IG, I wasn’t posting more than I usually did, and sometimes it was actually less.

It’s kind of cheesy for me to say “As a Content Creator” because it brings up images of influencers and youtubers and brands and people doing whatever they can to be popular. “iM jUsT aN ArTisT” I want to caveat, but I can’t really ignore the videos and podcasts and streams and blog posts and personal brands I’ve created or attempted to create… and even “just art” is content. Two or three years ago I probably would have latched onto the label, both ironically and earnestly, since what I wanted most was to be that independent artist, living off their 100% individual content… It’s even referenced in the blog blurb (which I should change). Now… I don’t know, but things are different. My goals and priorities have changed, and so has my relationship with my art. I haven’t given up on that independent artist dream, because honestly that’d be amazing, but my expectations for it have adjusted, and I’m now more focused on creating content in a way that works for me and that genuinely makes me happy or interested, as opposed to doing things just because I “should.”

So what sort of changes have I made regarding my content?

Youtube

In the past six months, there have been plenty of opportunity for vlogging, but I think I’ve come to realize that… maybe vlogging is not really my thing. Specifically the filming part. I prefer to live in the moment without worrying about recording content, and I always forget to hit record after I’ve snapped photos. Coming up with camera angles, making sure I look decent, double checking with the people around me and asking if they’re comfortable being filmed, trying not to be self-conscious… it’s just a lot of hassle. And then editing, oof. Maybe I’ll vlog every now and then, (or rope my future partner into filming me so I only have to worry about looking cute on camera lol) but for now it’s not really a priority.

What I do want to get into more is my drunk animal drawing series, lol. It’s a lot of work (and I’ve pushed off a lot of filming because of the drunk aspect) but… they’re always a lot of fun to do. It feels less lack of motivation and desire, and more a mental block of, “Oh, I have time right now but it’s Thursday and I don’t want to drink on a weekday” but then Friday being busy and forgetting entirely the next week. But I genuinely think if I plan for them (aka schedule them directly in my calendar) and continue to rationalize it as “hey, it’s drawing practice AND a video!” then they’ll be easier to accomplish. Plus my friend keeps bugging me about when the next video is coming out, haha.

Additionally, I would like to get back into animation… I’ve started working in it again for freelance, and falling back in love with the medium. It is a lot of work though, and knowing myself, it’s not realistic to expect fully animated clips on a semi-regular schedule. But I do have a few ideas, whether it’s animating my comics, or doing story-time videos with timelapses or (very) limited animation. My biggest hold-backs (besides the actual labor) are the voice-over and making sure it’s funny. It hasn’t been a priority currently because of all my travelling and lack of routine, but when things settle down and become more standard, it’s definitely on my list to brainstorm.

Blog

I think I hit a block when it came to blogging. I wasn’t sure what to say, or if what I was saying was even interesting to people. Most of my blog posts till now have been very art, or art/travel heavy… but I was finding it difficult to feel inspired to write about that. Maybe it was the depression. Maybe I was feeling pigeonholed. Maybe I needed time to collect my thoughts and impressions after trips, maybe I was afraid of being too generic or boring, or maybe I felt I really had nothing to say… After all, what’s the use of one more blog about Death Valley or the Grand Canyon to join the countless others? Filled with the same flavor of photos, no less?

Who am I even writing for anyways?

I still don’t have a concrete answer or solution, but I have decided I don’t want to limit myself anymore. A piece of advice I think about a lot is that having 0 to few followers is actually a great time to experiment and try new things and do whatever you want, because not a lot of people are seeing it anyways so less judgment! If I want to write about my opinions on a film, or tell a funny story, who’s to say I shouldn’t just because it’s not art related? Or if I want to write yet another blog post about how great the Grand Canyon is. A lot of the internet is neatly categorized and separated by theme, or focuses on one topic, but I don’t really work that way. I’m eclectic. I have multiple interests. I already have regrets on separating my personal and art instas. My fashion sense is a hodge-podge, and I could never be a minimalist because I have so many little things and aesthetic sensibilities. “Organized Clutter” is the best way to describe my overall style, and I no longer see any issue with having that reflected in my blog.

Comics

Nothing quite exemplifies my struggle with motivation, inspiration, updates, and pushing things out regularly this past year like my webcomic. Something I used to pop out on at least a weekly basis for two years descended into a completely irregular posting schedule in 2019, with a four month gap between updates at one point. And honestly, it sucks. It’s sad. It makes me feel bad and guilty. There was an audience, and I let them down.

The frustrating thing is I think about what to draw next for TIMLN constantly. Something mildly funny happens, and I try to figure out how to best show it. But then nothing came to fruition. Not even a sketch. And there’d be other times where I couldn’t think of anything to draw. Nothing seemed funny or interesting or worth sharing. The whole point of the webcomic was to share whatever was happening in my life, but I had consistently shown mostly humorous things. If I was going through a dark point, how could I show that in a funny way, without causing people too much concern or seeming like a constant “woe is me” plea for attention and sympathy? And if I wasn’t sharing the not happy things, was I being disingenuous? Then my brain would waltz in and go “uh oh looks like that thing you wanted to draw about is now 2 weeks old guess we can’t draw it anymore because for some reason we want to only draw current things!” and I’d agree and go “yes you’re absolutely right” and another month would go by with no comic.

Which means my brain would come back and go “Hey remember how that one webcomic panel said consistency is key and you have to stick to your posting schedule or else? You haven’t posted in a month and you’ve been losing engagement looks like you’re F A I L I N G because you’re B A D at this,” and I’d go “wow that’s also correct” and instead of being inspired or motivated to draw, I’d lay down and think about that for several hours.

Now that I think about it. That could be a comic right there, lol.

Fortunately I have started drawing the comic again, although the posting is closer to once a month rather than weekly. I’ve justified it to myself since the recent comics have gone through a style change and are now in color, which takes more time but also looks more refined and polished. Ideally I’d like TIMLN to get back to weekly posting, but I’m not going to force it. I’m taking baby-steps to get back — and surpass! — to where I want to be, and even though it can be frustrating, I know it’s necessary.

As for Notice Me!, unfortunately that’s been a mix of lower priority level and writer’s block. It would be nice to bring it back, it’s just not a focus atm.

Portal House, however, is being worked on, and I can thank my trip to NYC for that. I’m still in the writing stages, but progress is being made, slow as it is.

Art

For more general art, priorities lie with patron and commissioned pieces. I’ve successfully managed to tackle these in the last six months and brought my workload down a lot, so the main challenge is continuing to complete things, this time in a more timely manner.

As for other art, while my plein aire watercolors never took a hit, I find there’s work to be done in creating more standalone pieces, and perhaps more importantly, practicing and actually developing my skills! Creating art for the sake of creating and practicing art for the sake of practice are things I’ve struggled with in this day and age of polished doodles and almost daily art content posted on social media. The audience and stats seemed to be the desired priority, and for years my relationship with my art stagnated and suffered for it, whether under pressure to make something popular that’d get hits, or not posting anything because nothing was good enough. I think this entire year I’ve reflected and worked on that relationship, and I’m at a place where I fully just. Want to make art that I like, first and foremost. I’ve always told myself that’s what I wanted, but now I’m putting it into practice. There are doodles and sketches I haven’t posted publicly, pieces that are only halfway colored, unfinished thoughts and files littering my Procreate library that may never see the light of day. And that’s fine.

Recently I’ve made my own watercolor sketchbooks for painting practice. So much of my painting has a “final product” mindset and doesn’t allow much room for experimenting in fear of egregious errors. It’s a little more lax in my travel journal, but with commissions and such, I need a safe place to explore and try out new techniques, rather than learning on the job.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think I’m approaching my content from a more relaxed mindset this time. At the moment there’s no plans for a set posting schedule or business strategy. I don’t want to have to worry about demographics or engagement or monetization. Obviously it’s nice to get recognition and validation, but I don’t want that to be my focus anymore, because that sort of thinking got in the way of actually making the art. And really, I think the main thing here is I’m no longer trying to treat this like a job (not that it was ever really at job level lol). Instead, I’m working on falling back in love with art and the process and the creative outlet. I want art to make me happy, not stress me out. And if that means going back to drawing fanart of 15-year-old Corinne’s anime boyfriend, then so be it! As someone wrote on Twitter, cringe culture is dead, y’all! Do whatever you want because nothing matters, but we all deserve to be happy anyways!

That got nihilistic, but you know what I mean.

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Yeah, I think you're on the right path, Corinne :)

I hope you'll find more happiness and enjoyment in arting again. I'm kinda trying other stuff too. Steemit really hasn't done me a lot of favours in the last few months and it reached a point where I had had enough of this platform.

Anyway! ALL POWER TO YOU~~~~~~~~

Thank you! So far I've already been feeling better about my art, and I've been overall more consistent too! (Haven't drawn the past 3 days but that's after like. 5 weeks of drawing everyday). That's great that you're trying other things! dm me ur socials so i can followww >:3

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