Become a producer not a consumer
When I was young, I used to love watching TV when I got in from school. I was a child of the 70s and 80s here in the UK so I only had about 1.5 to 2 hours of children's TV until the soap operas and news started. I'd eat my dinner and then jump on to my VIC-20 or C64. They had no internet connection. We had no games without spending 30 minutes waiting for a game to load from a cassette tape. Instead, I'd write my own programs. I was a content producer.
My kids love YouTube and could spend hours on it watching videos of their favourite gamers. I love YouTube too. It's easy to watch one video and then get sucked down a rabbit hole of related videos. Before you know it you've spent 4 hours watching videos on food gadgets for your kitchen, how to light Zoom videos, or how to take better notes. Or is that just my feed?
I guesstimate that 90%+ of the people who consume content stay in that phase.
And that's fine.
But by starting to produce content you'll start to find what you enjoy. You'll discover what you're good at and want you're not. It can set a direction for your hobbies or maybe your work life. Repeat this regularly and you'll become a content producer and a creator.
Getting started with content production
Set the bar low to begin with. I'm almost at the end of a 30-day writing habit. I've sometimes struggled with attempting to write too much in each blog post, but if you aim for 200 to 500 words then it shouldn't take a long. It could be creating a quick drawing. Or a 5-minute piece of audio recorded on your phone. Just get started.
Document what you've made and share it with others. Post a link, a picture or a short video on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or YouTube. It's a small amount of extra effort to document your work, but sharing with others will get them excited about what you do. Having a network, and then sharing your network with others, will help you to grow.
Schedule some time to create something. I've found that setting a specific time each evening has really helped me to write more. I've not always achieved it every night but I've definitely written much more in the past 30 days than I have in the previous 5 years. Taking control of your schedule will change you into a producer of interesting content and not just a passive consumer.
Turn off notifications and block your applications. I've found this hard at times. While writing this I had WhatsApp enabled on my laptop. A friend messaged me about a Twitch DJ stream I wanted to hear. It delayed me from starting to write this post for over an hour as we exchanged messages about it. I should have turned off all none essential applications and blocked any websites except this text editor I'm using to write this post. Create a quiet space away from the noise of the internet and start to create.
Build a streak and form a habit. Jerry Seinfeld wrote every day and created a habit of writing. He wasn't looking for results immediately. He was looking for consistency which helped to hone his craft and over time, it would bring the results. That's what you need to do to become a creator. Just get started.
And finally, look to repurpose your content in multiple ways. A video can be cut up for Instagram or TikTok. A blog post can be linked to on Twitter or cut up and shared as a Twitter tweet thread. Use quotes from your blog post to answer questions on Quora. There are so many ways to share your content and increase your reach.
So do you want to just sit there and watch another YouTube video? Or do you want to make something?
I'm Marc Littlemore. I’m a Software Engineering Manager who loves to help developers to build quality software.
I can help you to learn more about software testing and intentional remote work.