Content Creation – Working Past the Cringe

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jotham.lim

When’s the last time you’ve released content, not for others but yourself?

I have killed and revived many blogs, and all past efforts have stopped dead at the impasse called cringe.

Cringe is overrated. There’s nobody on the sidelines waiting to laugh at you. The worst that could happen is apathy and disinterest, and it’s not as bad as it looks.

Cringe never escapes us. Even with hundreds of published articles under my belt, the first comment my partner said after showing her my new website was, “This looks like it was written by a twelve-year-old.”

Cringe is normal. Nobody gets it perfect on their first try. It’s even harder to replicate perfection consistently. Those who release S-tier content from the beginning are the weird ones. In fact, they’re probably more susceptible to cringe than you are.

Cringe is good, because it means that you have grown as a creator. You may burn your creation in a ditch out of embarrassment and throw yourself into it. But it also means that your tastes have matured. You want to destroy what you’ve made, because you know how to fix it. I’m pretty sure every artist cringes at their earliest work too, so why should you be different?

Cringe is ironic. It is both a selfless and selfish act. Putting your work out in the public, with your own words and brush strokes, is to show vulnerability. There is no risk in publishing work for others, but it takes guts to publish for yourself. However, nobody cares more about our work more than we do. It is our soul poured into the work and it’s our name on it. So the only person you truly need to impress is you.

Cringe is a tool to better yourself. Don’t look away! Stare at what you’ve made. The shame will be your compass, point towards what needs to be fixed and how. The more you feel strongly about it, the more it matters, and the better you’ll feel once it’s fixed.

Cringe needs to be embraced. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok are full of cringe. You’re not alone, and there’s an entire community of people out there happy to cringe along with you.

Cringe is part of the journey—so get used to it. Keep on creating and keep on cringing.


“Shame internalized can lead to agony. It can lead to Jonah Lehrer. Whereas shame let out can lead to freedom, or at least to a funny story, which is a sort of freedom too.”

Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

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