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  • Paul Steven - Jennings

My digital burnout

Its Friday morning in Qatar, I am in my favorite writing spot and words would usually be flowing like morning-after-curry at this point, but I have got nothing. The blank page stares back at me and the cursor seems to be wagging its proverbial finger in a most disapproving manner.


My process is simple, I spend the week between Fridays researching my technical based pieces, making notes and pretty much writing most of the content in my head. Friday comes around and I can normally bang out a 1000 words in 2 hours, edit on Saturday and publish on Sunday, in time for the new work week. This week was different though, work was crazy, loads to get done and bang, I find myself in a creative drought, the burning sun of real life burning through the fragile seedlings of an idea in seconds. I couldn’t even come up with a topic. Now that is a scary thought, considering the upheaval that the digital space is currently experiencing, interesting topics are a dime a dozen, so what on earth is wrong with me?


I am no psychologist, but I have a few theories.


When I started on this personal digital transformation, I had absolutely no idea the time and effort it requires to create content, even something as simple as a 1000 word original article. I set myself a goal of publishing at least once a week, I missed last week but I did get my first video script sorted. This week, after the massive brain wipe, I have a new found respect for online content creators.


Instagram influencers post at least once a day, up to maximum of twice as market research as shown, anymore than that and people lose interest. Youtubers have a slightly different timetable, with often a lot more production time going into videos, but at least once a week, same time, same day.


Now, consider the production value that a lot of Youtubers put in, writing scripts (yes, the videos are largely scripted), shooting, editing and then delivering and marketing. It is a massive amount of work and almost non-stop. It has been recommended to me, as I contemplate the launch of my own channel, that making at least 3 videos ahead of schedule is the best approach. Now all I need to do is find both the time and the creative juices to get it done.


Now, enough about that, back to what is wrong with me.


Real life! I have a business to run and a family which takes up the majority of my time, but more telling is my inability to switch from work mode into creative mode. My family lives on the other side of the world and I tend to be a long-distance commuter so when I am in Qatar, my weekends are free to create. Yet here I sit, the cursor often static, its vertical, linear gaze challenging me to a stare off I can never win.

Paulsdigitaljourney is a side project done in my free time and with hopefully some free head space and it’s the latter that I have been lacking this last week. This is exactly why the “3 ahead” content rule applies. We can’t always be on and this is something to consider as you admire how “together” your favorite influencer appears to be. Try to remember, their portrait of life is not in real time and a lot of the time, not even real.


And here we are, literally writing about having nothing to write about.

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