About this episode
I've not made an episode for 4 months! Why? Why did I quit? Why do we all sometimes consider walking away from our creativity? And how do we get started again?
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After a four month break, I’m back and I thought since I technically quit for 4 months, I’d talk about why I quit, why we all sometimes want to quit and what happens when you do quit. That is this episode of The Positive Creatives!
Oh hi! It’s Adam here and it’s been a while since the last episode. First of all I thought I’d take a break for a week and then a week became two and then two weeks became two months and now it’s been 4 months.
So let’s call episodes 1 to 23 series 1, ok? And so let me welcome to series 2. I’m not sure that’s exactly how podcast series are supposed to work but just go with it…
I’m going to change some things for this series, which I’ll tell you about at the end but I know you’re sitting there thinking “Adam, where the heck have you been?”, or maybe you’re not and you’re like “nobody cares” which is fine too, but let me tell you where I’ve been anyway.
I’ve been right here. Same place I always am. Nothing happened to me.
But when I went to make the last episode at the end of May, I just didn’t want to.
So I put it off for a week. Then I didn’t want to again. And again and again.
And before I knew it I had no momentum any more. And as you know if you’ve listened to any episodes before this one – momentum fuels motivation. So after the momentum went, so did my motivation.
But it’s not just momentum is it. Why didn’t I want to make that episode that week when I had all the momentum in the world. It was the first week I hadn’t wanted to make one and before that I’d made one for 23 weeks in a row. So why then? What changed?
I’m calling this episode ‘so what if you quit?’ because effectively that’s what I did. I stopped creating this podcast.
In the meantime I’ve been creating more than ever in the photography side of my life, but that’s more of an excuse than a reason. I’ve definitely not been too busy to make the podcast.
I’ve thought long and hard about why I stopped so suddenly after 23 episodes that I’m really proud of, and I was going to say that I felt like I’d run out of things to say. But being totally honest I actually felt like I’d run out of things worth hearing. I stopped feeling like I was worth listening to.
I felt like I wasn’t saying anything valuable that a hundred other people weren’t already saying, better than me, and to more listeners and followers than me.
I felt like I was doing what loads of other people were doing, but worse than they were doing it.
Imposter syndrome? Maybe. I don’t know. I mean sure it almost certainly is that, but why then?
I think it’s because my focus had shifted to all the wrong things. I just mentioned them – listeners, followers… attention.
Before not recording that last episode I had started to think that it just wasn’t ‘taking off’ like I wanted it to. Not many listeners, not many followers, slow growth. Why wasn’t it exploding in popularity, going viral, making me rich and famous.
So I quit.
Just like that. I quit.
I’m not telling you all this for a woe is me story, I’m telling you all this because I think we can all recognise this pattern in ourselves… I’ve talked about it many times, and I’m sure I’ll talk about it many more. We start because we’re obsessed with the creating, with the creativity, with making something and that unique feeling you get when you put something new out into the world for people to consume and enjoy.
But as soon as people do begin consuming it and enjoying it, you become hyper aware of that and so something shifts and that becomes the thing you chase more of… the attention, instead of the creativity.
I’ve done it in my photography businesses in the past, and now I’ve done it here too with this podcast. And unless that’s the game you love – and I do know people who love the game as much as the craft, and that’s cool for them – but unless you love that game, and I do not personally love that game, it can suck all the enjoyment out of your creativity.
Playing the game introduces rules and things that you have to do to achieve more of the attention that you’re told should be the goal. Get more attention, it’ll make you happier, it’ll make you more money etc etc. We all know how it sucks you in.
So yeah, that’s where I got to.
That wasn’t specifically why I stopped making episodes and instagram posts and tiktoks, but when I really thought about why, that’s what I came up with.
But I’m back. Why am I back. What’s changed?
I told you from the beginning I made this podcast just to make it. Just like I think we should all make our stuff for the joy of making it.
I don’t do the podcast for money, or for anything other than the fact I love talking about this stuff and I hope it helps a few people along the way.
I also do it because I believe when we put work out into the world we make real, genuine connections with people.
I also do it because I believe if I’m putting something out into the world it’ll lead to opportunities for me in the future, so it’s not totally selfless. But I’m going to talk more about that specifically on a future episode about the law of attraction.
So yeah I’m back.
And to go back to the name of this episode – so what if you quit.
Because I think at some point all of us will hit the same wall I did and have the moment where we just decide to stop.
So what if you quit. What then?
Well at that point you need to do some soul searching like I have and really try and get down to the honest reason you’ve fallen out of love with what you’re doing.
My guess is that more often than not it’ll be a concoction of impostor syndrome – caring too much what other people think, and losing touch with your reason for doing what you do.
Sometimes it might be that you just truly don’t love the thing as much as you wanted to love the thing and it’s time for something new. That’s fine. Go off and do something new.
But if it’s the impostor syndrome and attention game, try to reconnect with the reason you started, and try and get yourself back to doing it for that reason. The love will return.
Or do what I’ve done. Take some time away. Do some other stuff. Let it go dormant, then see if the desire and passion returns.
And if it does, start again. You started once, you can start a hundred more times if you need to.
So what if you quit? Well you either stay quit, or you start again.
So now I’m back I’m going to tell you what I’ve decided to change…
Firstly I won’t be promising a weekly episode. I won’t even promise episodes with any regularity. In my head I’d like to get back to weekly but we’ll see. For now, I’m saying series 2 might be a little more sporadic and unpredictable.
Secondly I still want to focus each episode on one topic or train of thinking but it might include a bit more about my day to day life as a creative, diary style… I don’t know… maybe…
And finally — you might remember I’ve always ended my episodes here with my listen, read and watch recommendations. Being honest with you, coming up with something for each was a struggle some weeks… SO from now on I’ll be choosing only one of either listen, read or watch and recommending you one thing per episode.
So this episode I’m recommending you WATCH or LISTEN to the American comedian Bo Burnham’s special called Inside. It’s on Netflix and Spotify. If you can though, watch it. It’s a masterpiece of comedy, music and performance art and needs to be watched to be fully appreciated. It’s a bit offensive and sweary though so don’t watch it if you’re not into slightly offensive and sweary comedy!
That’s all for this episode… I’m glad to be back, I’m happy to have you here listening, and I’m sure I’ll have another episode for you fairly soon so come back and join me for that one. If you want to be notified of new episodes as soon as I post them, I do have a website where you can join the mailing list at thepositivecreatives.com or just come and follow me on instagram @thepositivecreatives – see you soon!