Breathe New Life into Your Content Creation Strategy
By Stephanie Corso, Chief Executive Officer
I have a love/hate relationship with content creation.
Don’t get me wrong — I love creating, ideation, and sharing new insights. I relish the connection that content builds between Rogue and all of you. On the other hand, I hate the stress it can create. If anyone knows the importance of planning ahead and having a full editorial calendar, it’s me. There’s just something about the planning process that often sucks the joy out of it for me.
Remember when creativity used to be fun? Well, it can be again.
Let’s reframe this.
Content creators are creative. It’s in our DNA. But when you make a living doing the very thing that’s your life force, it can be challenging to not let productivity kill creativity. Let’s reclaim our creative birthright, shall we?
In a recent blog by author Madeleine Dore, she reflects on creativity as the antidote to productivity guilt. While productivity is linear, life is not. And guess what? Neither is the creative process. “In this non-linear cycle of gathering, stepping away, arriving and doing, we can take away our self-judgement about where we are at and allow for a natural ebb and flow,” explains Dore. Reframing what success looks like to you from a productive to a creative approach can help reduce the stress and strain of creating content for a living.
I’ve found the most success (and sanity) by approaching content creation with a “blocks” mindset: blocks of time and blocks of ideas.
Blocks of Time
Whitespace, or blocks of unscheduled time in your calendar for reading, ruminating, etc., is essential to creativity. In fact, a study by Microsoft during the height of the Covid lockdown found that people need a minimum of two hours per time block to be most effective. It takes our over-stimulated minds that much time to settle in and focus on the task at hand, even if the task is thinking.
Pick two hours in a prime slot (maybe avoid the mid-afternoon when you’re spent) and don’t sacrifice it for anyone — especially yourself. It may amaze you the number of ridiculous tasks your brain conjures and insists must be done in that timeframe. Be strong!
Blocks of Ideas
The editorial calendar is meant to eliminate the blank page by adding structure to content creation. Ironically, the tool that’s made to help is something I fear just as much as the blank page. I mitigate feeling “boxed in” by starting with a structure of blocks, or themes. Our annual content calendar has a monthly theme, which I use to not only brainstorm, but also file articles, quotes, and inspirations I come across throughout the year.
Applying blocks to my creative process helps me mentally shift from a linear mindset (productive) to one that allows for oscillation (creative). It helps me avoid the guilt of having an unchecked box next to the joyful confetti explosion of its checked-off counterpart.
Creativity is a personal process. Everyone’s recipe for success looks a little different. Sharing our methods expands the possible options available to us.
So, do me a favor. Don’t add any of this to your to-do list. Block some time, journal, take a walk — whatever your version of whitespace is — and think about ways you can imbue your own content creation workflow with your unique creative process. Combat productivity guilt with creativity and you’re bound to succeed on both fronts.
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