If I had to write a top five of phrases to live by “just do you” would certainly be up there. I was reminded of this on Twitter yesterday when a chap I have never met but have chatted to online for years sent me this Tweet:
And it really struck a chord.
Then, weirdly, I got my daily email from Medium and included a link to an article entitled “To reach an audience of millions, create for an audience of one” and it echoed the same sentiment.
Stop trying to become the next Beyoncé, Kanye, or Stephen King. The flaw in this desire is that you won’t ever become — cannot become — the next version of that person. As a creator, your job is to commit to becoming the best version of you. If you’re a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday, that’s progress. Comparison and envy stand in the way of progress in any creative endeavor — or in any life, for that matter.
I know I am not alone in struggling with social media and my place in it, who I am, what I want to stand for, represent, be. You don’t have to hang out on Instagram for very long to find people worrying about their engagement, how they find a niche and how they grow. Both their followers and their brand, and also themselves in many instances.
It feels like it is harder than ever, yet at the same time somebody else is coming from nowhere and reaching an audience of millions overnight saying the things you wanted to say but in a much better way than you think you ever could. They are sharing photos that you would love to have the balls to share. That if you posed for you would look ridiculous. They are at the events that you never get invited to, in the cafes and bars you dream of visiting. The list goes on.
The Medium article went on to say:
The ultimate paradox of creative work is that what you create for an audience of one is much more likely to reach an audience of millions.
And there it was again. A sentence created by somebody else that perfectly summed up what I wanted to say, what I needed to hear and what I thought you might need to hear too. I think for those of us creating content on Instagram we really need to focus on that one person, either one reader or ourselves.
The rest of it will follow.