How to Stop Making Excuses and Start Producing Content

Ryan Porter

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

All you need is a dream and a used Chromebook

The pendulum of time tends to work against us. We have jobs. We have families. We have obligations. We don’t always have the time to work on our passion projects.

Dreams are hard to come by. Many of us won’t ever fully realize our true calling. I sure haven’t, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop searching.

If you are able to sense some inkling of a dream, it’s your obligation to hold onto it. You must break your perceived boundaries. You need to chase the dream. Stop coming up with excuses for yourself.

Entertainment is now content

For many creatives, including myself, content the name of the game. It is the present, and it is the future. It is a way for creatives to make a living. However, the concept of living off content creation is burdening.

Where do you start? There are so many content creators out there already, so who are you to decide if you want to be one of them?

Content is the future, but you don’t have to be a genius to see how prevalent it is today. You can make a living selling digital products. You can make a living as a videographer. You can make a living as a writer, or as a photographer.

The difference between you and the ones making a living creating content is that the creators have crossed the barrier between work and creativity.

Those that make a living off content were so fed up with the daily 9-5 grind that they decided to take matters into their own hands.

In 2020, regardless of the state of the world, it has never been easier to make a name for yourself. Yes, platforms are oversaturated. Yes, there are a million people who call themselves creators out there.

The vast array of ways to create content, however, only continue to grow.

You just have to decide what you want your future to look like. If you can visualize it, then the only thing left to do is to obliterate the excuses that lie in your path.

What you need is a spark. Below are just a few words of encouragement.

“Just do it”

Ah yes, the classic go-getter catch phrase. The phrase is based on a simple premise, really: to do or not to do?

Choose to do, and don’t think about it.

For many of us, it’s not as simple as waking up and just doing something. Regardless of your go-getter attitude, Nike’s famous slogan is narrowsighted. It says to just do something. It doesn’t tell you how.

However, the mindset behind just getting things done is a strong one. If you want something, like you really want it, then there’s going to be a few “just do it” moments to get you there.

Just make content

To answer to how to create content would require a dozen masterclasses (I’ll get to that one day).

For example, how do you write blogs people will read? Even if it’s the best blog post ever, how do I get it in front of people?

Luckily, if you want to be a writer, you’re at the perfect place. Everything I’ve learned about promoting work to Medium, I owe to Medium. I felt the same way in the beginning. I was daunted by the work of others, but now I don’t care.

I read all of those posts: “How I made X amount of dollars on Medium.”

They were helpful, but they only guided me down a rabithole of fear of the platform. They left me thinking, “Am I built for this?” There’s no way I can publish more than two stories a week.

Now, I write everyday. I’ve trained myself to become a self starter. I wasn’t like this at first. If someone came to me and said, “Just start writing,” I’d think they were crazy.

My highschool football coach once said, “Excuses are like a**holes. Everyone’s got one, and they all stink.” This quote has been etched in my brain for almost 10 years.

We all have reasons why we can’t do something. It’s only natural. The thing is, no matter the circumstance, we still have to find away around it. Once you find your way, everything becomes so much easier. Every time you post a new story, you gain a little bit of insight into how Medium works.

It’s like digging a hole through a cement wall with a spoon. At first, it’s going to seem like an impossible task. You won’t be able to make a dent, but you keep going. With every story comes another jab at the wall. You keep grinding until, eventually, you see a shimmer of light on the other side.

The light only keeps growing, and once you see it, all you want to do is drown in it.

Find your flow

The flow state is a must when it comes to getting creative work done. Like I already said, it’s difficult to do this whole content creation thing. If you aren’t creating, then you aren’t working. If you aren’t working, then you aren’t getting any closer to your goal.

The flow state changes all of that. When you reach your flow state, you reach peak performace.

Want to write a 7-minute blog post, but you keep getting distracted? You need to find your flow. It should take you less than day, in reality, to write a 7-minute read. If it takes you any longer, then you aren’t being efficient with your time.

I’d put money on the flow state allowing you to write two or more stories a day. It’s that powerful. It can help you reach heights you’ve never imagined.

Live in the present

Michael Jordan, one of the greatest, if not the greatest basketball player to ever live, only lives in the moment. He doesn’t think one second ahead.

In his documentary series, The Last Dance, he speaks on his NBA career and the mentality one needs to have to win six championships. Something made him different. There was something that separated him from any other player that stepped foot on the hardwood before him.

At a certain point, an athlete will reach their physical limit. A good player is physically dominate, but the great player tears down their mental barriers. They have no where to grow physically, so all that is left is to grow mentally.

“Why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t taken yet?” — Michael Jordan

This quote is the epitome of living in the moment. Jordan never concerned himself with anything else but the situation that was in front of him. Even if he’d missed 100 shots, and the game was on the line, he’d still be the one to shoot the game winner.

You can only control what’s happening around you right now. Nothing else matters besides the moment at hand. If you’re working on one piece of content, don’t fret about the next one. Learn from the experience, and take it the next piece.

When it comes to making content, starting an email list, or creating a new product, you shouldn’t be worried about the outcome. You haven’t even taken your shot yet.

Forget about top-of-the-line gear

I fall prey to this all too often. I’m constantly thinking, “If I just had a nice laptop I would write more often.”

The fact of the matter is that as long as you have an internet connection and a keyboard, you can create content. You can make something from essentially nothing.

Just the other day, I was at work and I had a little bit of time on my hands. I whipped out my Chromebook and typed about 300 words for a blog post. It was simple. Even though I don’t love the Chromebook, I still got some work done.

Stop making excuses and make content.

In writing, there isn’t a difference between a story created on a $2,000 MacBook pro or a $150 Chromebook. The result is the same. The story is the same. No one sees what went behind the creation of the piece. They just see the product.

In photography, the best camera is the one you have with you. Yes, some cameras have better specs than others, but the person behind the camera matters more. If you see something that appeals to you, or your buddy has an idea for a cool shot for your YouTube video, don’t say, “Oh man I left my camera at home. I guess we’ll have to shoot it later.”

What happens when later never comes? You forget about the shot, and then your Youtube video doesn’t get the views you wanted.

Film it now. You may as well. What harm will it do. That shot might make the difference between 10 viewsand 100,000 views.

Final thoughts

There will be days when we don’t want to work. The difference between the creator who makes a living off content and the creator with a meager Instagram following is the amount of excuses they make.

Make content, not excuses.

You don’t need the best equipment to get started. Expensive gear is sexy, but it’s a crutch to lean on. Sure, depending on what you do, you might need to invest in yourself. Buy the editing software. Purchase a book to help you become a better writer. These things will help you in the long run, but don’t think that the gear makes the man.

Make content, not excuses.

Live in the moment. Focus on your current project. Don’t push it off because you’re worried it might not be received well by your audience. Take life one step at a time.

Make content, not excuses.

Find your flow. The flow is always with you. You just have to let it in.

Make content. Not excuses.

Like Nike said: Just do it. Jump in. What’s the harm in that? You might fail a couple times. Actually, you will fail dozens of times, but that’s a part of the process. How do you get better at something if you don’t even try?

There is a lesson to be learned from our failures.

When in doubt, just do. We all have the potential to carry out our goals. Whether it’s to create content, or to dig a hole through a wall with a spoon, the objective is the same: find the light and bask in our accomplishments.

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I write about startup culture, productivity, and life's moments. My goal is to serve as a teacher for the next generation of content creators.

Los Angeles, CA

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