The hardest part of content creation

(It's not what you think)
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This one’s going to be a bit of a car crash, so please fasten your seatbelt securely.

Hi, I’m John Lacey and this is Build A Presentation Muscle, the podcast about showcasing your expertise through content creation.

Something’s different

My co-host seemed a little cagey at first. He said something about my audio being a bit “different.”

I fooled around with my settings in both the streaming software and on my physical audio mixer but I couldn’t see anything that made me think there was a problem. I figured we would just continue on and see what happened.

But there was a problem, and it was a problem I couldn’t hear on my end, but everybody else could.

One participant noted I sounded like “Darth Vader.”

I opened YouTube in the background and could instantly experience what everybody else was hearing.

[Distorted] We might be having some audio issues and I’ve tried everything under the sun to try to resolve those, but I actually can’t hear what you’re hearing so it’s very very strange.

My audio was completely distorted and fried, and yet, at first glance, nothing seemed wrong on my end.

I was overwhelmed, I was disappointed, I was embarrassed. I really had no idea what to do. I had been looking forward to our show all week long and it was a disaster from the moment it started.

I’m sure I snapped at some people who were offering useful feedback. I restarted my computer. It was still a problem. An audience member suggested I check my Windows Audio input settings. Apparently Windows 11 has a habit of resetting these at a whim for no apparent reason. Sure enough this was the culprit.

And perhaps this is a useful thing to note for future reference: always check your Windows Audio Settings. But that’s not the reason I want to talk to you about this today. Today I want to talk to you about the hardest part of content creation.

The hardest part

I think outsiders and beginners might assume the hardest part of content creation is the content creation itself. But the truth is with the right tools, training, advice and practice, you can relatively easily create the things you want to share, whether they’re videos, livestreams, podcasts, articles or graphics.

I want to play for you another moment from that livestream. Though I’ll include the cleaned up audio this time.

I’m not sure how obvious it was to other people, but it was the exact moment my heart was broken and I was ready to admit defeat.

[Sigh] I’m sorry everybody, I don’t think this is gonna work today. I haven’t missed a show in years at this point and I’m just so frustrated so… I’m really sorry, but I don’t know if this is going to continue, I don’t know if Sam wants to it do by himself. I’m sure it’s excruciating for anybody, yeah, in fact I just heard it on YouTube and it’s atrocious.

I don’t understand what has actually changed because it’s… like nothing has changed recently, so it is really really unfortunate so… um…

The truth is the hard part of content creation is riding the rollercoaster of emotions and not giving up and not giving in.

Things will go wrong.

You will pour your heart and soul into something and it will be received by the sound of crickets chirping.

You’ll wake up on a Saturday morning and feel tired and wonder if there’s any point in any of this. You’ll note that quote-unquote “normal people” enjoy a long breakfast and go the beach on the weekends, they don’t spend every moment creating something in the hope that somebody, indeed anybody, will notice.

My “Roman Empire”

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the idea, popularised on TikTok, of “The Roman Empire.” There’s this idea that men, particularly, are randomly fascinated by The Roman Empire and will think of randomly and often.

It’s become emblematic of anything a given individual might be low key obsessed with.

As a content creator, my “Roman Empire” is often the podcasts I’ve been invited on, but which have never seen the light of day. Or the show appearances that keep getting scheduled and then postponed or cancelled.

The truth is I’m not a particularly confrontational person. I probably will never mention these things to your face. But I can guarantee you that I will think about these things 3 times a week until the day I die (or something actually changes).

You are not alone

So why am I telling you all of this?

Often I want to put a nice neat bow on things and share them when I’ve figured them out, but this particular struggle is one I’m always inside of.

I don’t have an answer yet. But I kind of want to acknowledge that this experience is common and completely relatable. I guess the thing I would encourage you to do is to not suffer in silence. Reach out to someone and talk it out. But know that non-creators won’t really understand what you’re going through, so choosing who you talk to about this is also important.

For what it’s worth I think you’re doing great. I want you to keep going. I want to keep going too. I think this is worthwhile work and I am proud of you and your commitment.

For more information about today’s show, head over to

Podcast recording

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