I create because I genuinely want to, not because I have to.
I knew I wanted to be a journalist since the age of fourteen. I practiced, interned, and interviewed for four years until I could finally study journalism in college. Post-grad, I continued to pour my heart into developing my career as a journalist, working at local magazines until I eventually ventured out on my own as a freelancer. This is when I was first referred to as a content creator—and I didn’t like it one bit.
This term, ‘content creator’, temporarily blinded me—did it discredit all of the work I had done up until this point? Yet, as I dove headfirst into my freelance career, I began producing more than articles. In addition to writing a handful of stories every week, I started picking up photography and editing jobs, leveraging social media to promote my personal brand, and establishing a newsletter that was reaching almost 1000 people each week. The more I created, the more I accepted the all-encompassing term. The fact is: It’s not about what people call you or what you call yourself—you could be a storyteller, writer, or content creator—so long as what you’re creating is authentic to you.
When I trace my career motivations back to my childhood, I acknowledge that I didn’t seek out journalism as a career for the title, but rather for the impact of telling real stories. Entrusted to handle delicate stories of the extreme, from profound loss to overwhelming success, or to shed light on a previously overlooked topic, that is what seemed important to me. And to this day, it still is.
I aspire—and have always aspired—to create meaningful content regardless of the platform it’s shared on. But, in order to do so, an innate authenticity must exist first—in order to whole-heartedly connect to a story, I have to connect with the person or brand.
By now, I like to think that my audience has a general idea of the stories I like to tell, so if I share something off-kilter, they’re going to detect it quickly. And even more likely, they’ll know if I don’t fully believe in a story. But that’s the thing about creation and authenticity—we’re not forbidden to stray into new topics—I’ve covered everything from travel to food and wine to wellness and sex, but it’s all about how you tell the stories, how you portray the theme, and how you pour yourself into the subject at hand. I see no other way to do this than to be authentic, and while that’s easy to claim, it’s not as easy to come by.
“ ... it’s all about how you tell the stories, how you portray the theme, and how you pour yourself into the subject at hand. I see no other way to do this than to be authentic, and while that’s easy to claim, it’s not as easy to come by."
Although you can’t teach authenticity, I believe you can foster it. You can start by looking inward, evaluating what you will and will not stand for, what stories you feel a conviction to tell, the type of people you believe in, the things that make you tick, and churn it all together to be your most powerful motivator.
As a creator, I’ve accepted the fact I’ll always encounter criticism, but what makes that initial sting of critique lessen is the authenticity I’ve continued to standby throughout each project. So while I always knew I wanted to create as a journalist, the opportunity to create and produce as a content creator is even more rewarding than I anticipated.
My passion has evolved from simply writing, to creating. What I once thought I wanted has morphed into something even bigger than I imagined. Now, I truly love what I do and the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to have—and how many of us can genuinely say that? I’ve created a career path that works for me and it’s just ironic that title happens to have the term ‘creator’ in it. Or, is it?