As Quintain’s content manager, I often find myself between a bit of a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, my job is immensely rewarding. I spend my days interviewing and coaching clients on how to articulate and share their ideas in a way that resonates with the right audience, and creating compelling and engaging content opportunities for brands.

On the other hand, I sometimes feel like the parent that has to remind her children that, yes, you need to brush your teeth. No, once a week doesn’t count. No, I don’t care that you brushed your teeth for a whole five minutes this morning – you still need to do it again, right now.

Like brushing your teeth, creating content is something you have to do consistently if you want to see ROI.

You can’t just do it once or occasionally. And you can’t take a photo of yourself from the one time you blogged a month ago, put it on the mantle like a trophy and then later point to it anytime someone challenges your blogging prowess.

Where Things Start to Go Wrong

Unfortunately, even though I know you guys get that content creation is the engine of your marketing strategy, I still feel like some of you are putting me in the role of being the mom. Where I have to drag clients or others kicking and screaming when they actually have to get involved with content.

Of course, it doesn’t begin that way. At first, they’ll nod along enthusiastically as we educate them about the importance of content. They’ll get on board and commit to creating content at a particular cadence, to ensure we’re driving the best results possible.

Heck, they might even do a great job at being my partner in content crime for a little while.

Then enthusiasm begins to wane.

My “just checking in” emails are opened, but ignored. Drafts I’ve worked on languish for weeks on end. Persistent refrains of, “I promise it’s next on my list,” turn me into that girl waiting by the phone for the guy who never calls after our fancy steak dinner.

And I do not like being that girl. Not one bit.

So why does this happen?

“But It’s Like… a Time Commitment and Stuff”

As Jessie-Lee and I discussed at length in a previous episode of Creator’s Block, blogging (and content creation, in general) is hard.

I think part of this has to do with the fact that people expect that, over time, creating content will become less of a challenge. Or they underestimate how much they need to be involved, and overestimate how much they will want to be involved over time.

Kind of like how I still vainly hope that one day it will just click with exercising – and I will morph into one of those enlightened people who bounces out of bed with enthusiasm to go to the gym early in the morning. Don’t get me wrong: I love going to the gym in the morning, and I know it’s good for me.

But I also like sleep and not waking up early and being lazy. So while it does get somewhat easier and more enjoyable with time, it still takes discipline to get up at the crack of dawn four times a week.

There’s always a constant push and pull, when it comes to doing things that you know are good for you and make you feel accomplished – because you don’t want to have to put in the effort.

If this is how you feel about creating content, here is what I have to say: Suck it up.

Seriously. It’s time to put on your big girl or boy pants, stop complaining and do the work.

You’re Wasting Your Investment

As someone whose passion is creating amazing content, I know I should probably have a more inspiring message for those who find content creation to be a burden.

But the reality is that if you’re investing in the marketing resources to develop and execute engaging content-driven strategies and campaigns – either internally or with an agency – you’re flushing your money down the toilet when you undermine your content activities by ignoring them.

Because if I – or others like me – have to spend more time chasing you down to create the bare minimum of content, rather than flexing my chops to get creative and think outside of the box, you’re wasting my billable hours and yours.

Most of all, every missed deadline, every case study that doesn’t get written, every blog that doesn’t get approved, every blog interview you miss is a squandered opportunity to bring in a potential prospect.

In short, ducking out of content creation responsibilities in the moment might feel great and bring some much-needed relief to your schedule, but you’re only hurting yourself in the long run.

So, What Do You Do About It?

Here’s the deal, guys: Content creation is always going to require some level of commitment, investment and self-discipline. That’s not something I – or anyone else, for that matter – can change. And as Seth Godin once said about consistency:

“If you can make a decision once, then the question isn’t should I do it? It’s what will I do? If you make the decision once to be a vegan, then you don’t need to have a discussion with yourself every single night about whether or not to have a hamburger.

If you make the decision to blog every single day, then the only discussion I have to have with myself is what’s the best blog post I can write — not should I write a post. As (Saturday Night Live Producer) Lorne Michaels has said, ‘Saturday Night Live doesn’t go on because it’s ready. It goes on because it’s 11:30.’”

However, if you are feeling pain around content creation, there are a few things you can do:

1. Be Honest

First, you need to have a heart-to-heart with yourself and determine whether or not the burden of content creation is a real one, where intervention is required, or a problem you’ve created because you simply “don’t wanna.”

If it’s the latter, then you have a decision to make. You’re either going to fix it and go all-in, or you need to evaluate whether or not you want to stay on the content train. Obviously I would never recommend abandoning content, but I’d rather you at least commit one way or the other, rather than waffle due to underlying commitment issues.

2. Ask for Help

Often clients will make me chase them, because they don’t want to hurt my feelings by telling me something needs to change – either with the process or the actual content itself. First of all, I’m an adult, so I can take it. And second, avoiding the real issue is the worst thing you can do. I don’t know about the people you may or may not be working with, but my goal is to empower my clients to create great work.

But if you’re not telling me something is wrong, I can’t help you. I’m not a mindreader.

For instance, maybe you thought you wanted to write your own blogs to start, but the pace is too brutal for you to keep up with. That’s totally okay – that doesn’t mean you’re a failure at content creation. If you’re one of our clients, that just means we may want to shift to my more efficient interview-based blogging process.

So ask for help as soon as something doesn’t feel right – it’s rare that your content creators won’t have a solution.

3. Have Fun With It

Finally, content creation can be really fun, if you let it.

Take blogging for example. A blog can be as flat and one-dimensional as you want it to be, with all the personality of a Wikipedia page about cardboard.

But it can also be a platform for compelling ideas and thoughts that challenge convention. It can be a place where your voice can rise above the noise and help people solve their problems. You can tell stories, share mistakes you’ve made, spotlight those big wins or even get real about what pisses you off within your industry.

I know it sounds hokey, but one of the biggest roadblocks I see with those I coach about content is that they are afraid to be themselves. So instead they try to create content that sounds “professional” or “polished.” The result is that they never really connect with their work or take pride in it. Instead, every byline bearing their name feels hollow and insincere, providing zero motivation to put in the effort with their content.

If your brand gives you that freedom to be yourself, take it. You’ll find it’ll be much easier to create content when you give yourself the permission to write in a way that is authentic to you and how you sound.