The Content Creation Hamster Wheel: From Joy to Burnout and Back

How do we express ourself as content creators who want to build a business without burnout and feeling trapped?

Anna Rova
8 min readMar 31, 2024


I’ve never thought of myself as a content creator. Seven years ago I didn’t know I could write well. I didn’t know I can be a good interviewer or share my thoughts in an audio message in a coherent and entertaining way. And I didn’t know that I’m also great on camera.

I discovered it all on the way.

Back in 2017 when I had just quit my remote online marketing job, I didn’t know what to do next. I was in Mexico with my boyfriend and I had just booked my yoga teacher training in Bali. I had a bit of savings and a soul that was depleted from overworking and exhaustion in the online marketing world.

I was talking about this with a girlfriend and she brought up Gary V’s “don’t teach, document instead” idea and that’s what I decided to do.

I decided to just document my journey of quitting my job and starting this new chapter of my life.

I made a choice to start writing every day.

I didn’t have a special writing talent. Beyond a Journalism degree in college, one writing course in high school and some random posts on Instagram, I did not have writing experience. And, English, is my third language.

But documenting doesn’t require writing experience or a degree in writing. Documenting requires curiosity, openness and willingness to explore the unknown and then sharing that with the world if one chooses to.

So that’s what I did. I wrote every day for an hour on Medium just about anything I could think of. I wrote about my travels and about the museums I had visited. I wrote about inbox zero and my thoughts on work. I wrote about my relationship. I wrote about life and my thoughts about being a woman. I wrote about pain and struggles. At one point, I wrote a three-part fiction love story.

I was having a lot of fun with it. I was sharing my stories from a place of joy, curiosity and wonder. I wasn’t thinking about how to monetise my blog or how to make a business out of this. I wasn’t thinking about goals or results. I was just writing and sharing my thoughts.

One day I woke up to being awarded “Top Writer” in one category on Medium. That was pretty cool. “Wow, Medium thinks my writing is great. Awesome!” At one point, Medium thought my writing was so cool that it put me as Top Writer in three categories at once: Relationships, Love and Travel. How amazing!

I started gaining followers and slowly my little Medium blog grew to 30,000 views a month.

By that time I was in love with writing.

It gave me a way to express myself like no other medium had. Writing for me is different from any other medium of expression because it requires you to be in a very meticulous process of developing an idea. Wrestling with it. Thinking about it constantly and then coming back to the page and write your thinking down. I know that I’m in the process of ideation when I think about a certain post idea over and over again throughout my day…. I think about it on my way to the office. I think about it in the shower. I think about it when I’m putting my kids to bed. And, sometimes, out of nowhere, an epiphany or an insight comes about this idea and I’m so excited that I can’t wait to wake up the next day and get it down on paper. This is when I know I have something special.

And so I wrote like this for a while until I developed my voice and gained confidence in my writing. I also watched myself produce some really great writing that stopped me in my tracks and made me think “damn, this is good! I’m excited to share this post into the world! I’m proud of what I have created!” I love that feeling. Not for ego boosting but just genuinely being proud of creating and putting something good out there.

I don’t write for others. I write for me. I write for my own pleasure and enjoyment and not to help others. Liz Gilbert wrote this in her “Big Magic” book:

“Oh, please don’t.

I mean, it’s very kind of your to want to help people, but please don’t make it your sole creative motive, because we feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.”

Too many people write posts and books and create content to “help others.” How many content creators out there are creating to please or help others, and, especially to please the algorithm?

There are too many Instagram accounts and Youtube channels and blog posts on how to do something. The internet is filled with tips and tricks, 4-step processes and formulas on just about anything you can think of. Everyone is a fucking guru of something.

If you feel overjoyed about writing or recording your how-to video, audio or blog post and then proud to be sharing it, by all means, do it. But don’t do it to “help me” or for SEO purposes. It will help you get traffic and even clients, but in the end, if you’re a creative and are dedicated to honing your craft (even if it is a how to blog post on how to wash your cat) it will eat your soul and you will be buried in the cemetery of burned out dead creators.

I should know because I started doing that right after my business began to gain traction (started making serious money) and when I have prioritised traffic and sales over my expression and creation.

I was just swooped along the treadmill of giving the algorithm what it wants and what viewers are searching for. Superficial dating advice. “Where to kiss a man to make him want you.” “How to get him back.” All that BS (which is BS for me, personally, but it might a zone of genius for someone else. I try not to judge.)

I created reels not because I was so excited to share dating advice but because I had to constantly post on Instagram. Thank god I didn’t totally sell my soul to the devil and didn’t start dancing like a monkey on TikTok.

I wrote articles that were simply repurposed from my audio and video podcasts. Great efficiency but it all gelt like playing a game of a broken telephone. NO solid, serious strategy. No fire and passion behind it. And, I’m realising just now, not being proud to put my creations out there. This world demands content creators to be fucking robots spewing content left and right every day and expecting it to be great. Of course, no-one made me play this stupid game. I was an active participants in all that bullshit.

On my podcast I was interviewing guests I wasn’t interested in interviewing just because they were big names or I felt like I had to keep doing interviews for my audience.

“I was trapped in the hamster wheel of fucking content creation for the sake of content creation for the sake of bringing in leads and sales. For the sake of making money. I got sucked into the business world of numbers and eyeballs and dollars forgetting about who I am and what I want to create.”

No wonder I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how do I do this content marketing thing? I was so overwhelmed and confused. I needed a system to pull together all my writing, audio podcast episodes and my Youtube videos and have a system to somehow share all this information on Instagram and through my list of 20,000 subscribers. I couldn’t figure it out.

Now I realise that I couldn’t figure it out not because the systems and processes were complicated (I mean, there were tons of creators who have even bigger reach and audiences than me and their content machine is running smoothly) but simply because the business was out of alignment with me and I was burning out.

I wasn’t excited and passionate anymore when I woke up in the morning wanting to share my message. Somewhere along the way of business building I have lost that spark. Or, perhaps, the subject matter (men and relationship) is just too narrow for me and doesn’t allow me to express myself fully as a multi-dimensional multi-passionate human. My whole body and mind had so much resistance to creating a process and a system for content that it just wasn’t worth putting a system for.

My sense is that many of us have been sucked into the business side of things and, in turn, that has sucked the creative life out of us. We have become slaves to the algorithm just constantly giving it what it wants so, supposedly, we can have what we want: money.

Everything just gets muddled up and gets very complicated when money gets involved, doesn’t it?

But does it have to be this way?

Does it get muddled up because so many of us have issues in our relationship with money? We have deeply ingrained beliefs that money doesn’t grow on trees, that money is hard and that money needs to constantly be earned.

Wait, what?! I can make money just by expressing what I think and feel? Just by being ME? No fucking way. I gotta work hard. Earn my living. Be a work horse. Build a career. Struggle for decades to build something worthwhile that will bring me enough cash to build wealth.

Old paradigms and bullshit stories we’re all currently living.

What if we could totally change that paradigm and reframe all of our limiting beliefs about money and our worth?

What if we didn’t have to live our parents’ and our grandparents’ themes from the past? What if we didn’t show up to create that next reel from a place of struggle and survival on a subconscious level?

What if all this could be enjoyable and easy?

What if we didn’t completely panic because some fucking idiot left a negative comment on our channel? What if a bad client is simply a learning opportunity and not an attack on my worth and enoughness?

What if I could find or come up with a business model that not only brings me the money that I want but also feels good?

That is a reality I want to live in and I’m starting to create it in small steps.

Who’s with me and how are you doing it?



Anna Rova

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