For the entire month of January, beginning on the afternoon of December 31st, I rid myself of all the social media platforms from my phone. Instagram and TikTok were deleted and I promised myself that for the month of January I was to seriously kick my terrible scrolling habit. Before this decision I had always liked the idea of being social media free for a certain amount of time, but as an artist sharing my work always came first over what I needed to restore some peace. On some level getting rid of my main source of exposure felt wrong. So, I always hemmed and hawed at the idea, saying, “someday… when I’m not launching a collection or have art fairs coming up or after the holidays”, which when you think about it there is ALWAYS a holiday to market. This can be a never ending cycle, if you let it be.
However, at the the end of 2022 I was drained in many ways and I had and still have a great feeling about 2023. It feels like the year I will listen to myself, what I need in more ways than one and create great work because of how I treat myself, not despite my state of being. So, I deleted the apps and here is my honest review of what it has felt like, how its affected my art and everything I’ve discovered since.
Everyone always says, “you’ll have so much more time if you stop scrolling”. While there is truth to this statement, I think specifically for the artists within me, it free up the time I would spend creating social media posts. Of course, we gain time from not scrolling, but for the past 30 days I didn’t have to think about: specific photographs to take of my work, photos to post, copy editing promotional material, editing photographs specific for social posts, and what platforms to post it on. That time spent just thinking, was completely empty. On top of this, I haven’t been influence by what other artists are posting and what sounds are trending. Instead, I have been thinking much more about long form content, like this blog post, my email newsletter, and how I want to approach social media going forward. The bigger picture began to come into focus as soon as I spent less time on the short-term. I gave myself time for the long-term and while both are important, this felt completely necessary.
The level of distraction that dissipated as soon as I hit that delete button was palpable. Aside from the normal scrolling parade to numb myself and escape, social media is a petri dish of ideas. Other peoples ideas. It is ever growing changing and tends to distract me mid-idea. While I was crafting one post, idea, art piece, posts tended to persuade me to rethink or influence me to scrap it altogether because I was inspired to change it. this past month I was able to sit with my thought without the 30 second interruptions. It allowed me to sit with my ideas and figure out it is something I want to pursue.
It wasn’t until approximately 2 weeks into the month of January that I realized I was getting more quality sleep than I had in months. I wasn’t waking up as much in the middle of the night and falling asleep with more ease. While this sounds more like correlation than causation, I did think that the lack of blue light in my face at any point of day, but especially at night had something to do with this improved sleep.
The last point I would like to speak on is my creativity. While I had set new artistic/creative endeavors at the end of 2022 (doesn’t everyone?), I found myself truly reconnecting with my sense of creativity. I am someone who could agonize herself to death of doing something “right” instead of doing it at all. Unfortunately, this type of perfectionism bleeds into my artwork at times and instead of driving me to doing everything “in spite of” I tend to find myself stuck, not sure which was to go, what lines to make, or what colour to use. With the lack of social media moments away from my fingertips I felt much less pressure to create something ‘worthy’ of documenting, photographing, sharing. I was creating what I felt inspired to create. What I felt curious about and wanted to deep dive towards.
All in all, I would highly recommend deleting those social media apps for a month. Maybe even two. I truly enjoyed this experiment and I believe it not only improved my sense of inspiration and art but it definitely improved my mental health. Sometimes my mind is -as Lorelai Gilmore would say- a big bag of weird in there, you never know what the next thought holds! To give myself time to breathe and move gently into the year without the lurking shadow and, lets face it, judgement of social media is gift unto itself.
Your Embracer, Dani