Navigating the Documenting and Creating Spectrum in Content Creation
A guide to finding the sweet spot between documenting and creating polished content, empowering aspiring creators to maximize audience engagement and personal growth.
The world of content creation can be both exciting and daunting, especially for those just starting their journey.
The abundance of the digital has given each of us the possibility to establish our unique voice and find our tribes on a global map. Yet, how do we start contributing to that conversation? How do we start sharing and putting ourselves out there?
Additionally, to the how of participating, aspiring creators beginning their journey often grapple with the dilemma of what content they should create.
A piece of advice you often hear is “just document what you do”. This argument is the one side of the “document vs create” discussion. Whether to document your experiences or focus on crafting polished content.
Lots of that documenting and creating approach has to do with finding the confidence to embark on your creative journey. along with strategies to provide you with growth during negative experiences that you’ll eventually encounter no matter what.
The Documenting and Creating Spectrum
Let’s delve into the advantages and challenges associated with both approaches and find strategies to help content creators balance documenting and creating in their work.
The documenting approach revolves around capturing and sharing experiences and thoughts as they naturally unfold in one's daily life.
It takes advantage of the opportunities that already arise through day-to-day activities.
This “documenting” results in a more unfiltered account of what is happening. And therefore, is often mistaken to be more authentic or genuine than the creating approach.
That is not true. Authenticity has nothing to do with the production value.
Instead of appreciating the creator we focus on their creation. That is because we don’t have a connection with the human yet, and therefore judge them through their content. It’s a little bit like scientists who only talk about methodology instead of results and those conversations where you stay on a superficial form-over-substance level.
Documenting encourages spontaneity and organic content production for those who are not professionals. Meaning those of us who
- don’t know where to begin,
- are not familiar with content production,
- have the creative ability (yet),
- have little resources for a full-blown content production, beyond their smartphone.
This underscores one of the main advantages of documenting, the low barriers to entry: accessibility and getting started.
The accessibility of documenting offers a lower barrier to entry, making it more approachable for beginners or those lacking technical skills or resources.
It puts you on a learning curve, both for the production and getting familiar with all of the ins and outs of creating content.
Learning opportunities also provide you with a platform for personal growth and development, allowing you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest.
This is what makes authenticity. Taking someone on a journey. And the easiest way to do that is taking them on your journey. Journeying together provide points of genuine connections.
One thing is sharing raw, unedited experiences. For some that is easier than creating those. For others it is harder to put themselves out there and they choose to take a creative path of creating over documenting. That is fine as well. Because what makes authenticity is content that fosters deeper connections with audiences through relatability. Authenticity is not rawness of emotion, but empathy. That is what makes a good travel buddy.
Relatability is what provides you with connection points for your audience to provide you with audience feedback. Another dimension on quickly learning, not so much but whether your craft and how you tell stories works or not. Don’t listen to feedback but see if your audience resonates: do they get hooked? When do they drop off? Do they comment and take action?
A documenting mindset can help you overcome perfectionism. You’ll experience that you learn and grow by sharing points of views and snippets of what is important to you, even when you’re not a practiced creator. “just documenting” helps you getting into the habit that makes you a prolific creator eventually. Hitting the publish button is a reward. And if you have a growth mindset the reward is the learning loop. This reward helps you to follow through. Because the consistent act of creating is most important.
Because “documenting” takes so many layers out of the equation it helps build consistency. Just taking what happens in one’s daily life and cutting it down to the essentials is the school of creating content and the first step for establishing some audience interest that is on par with your interests.