Yes, I'm talking about this again.
It's been over a year since I moved away from Instagram and started to think about more creative ways to share my work. I've learnt a lot over the last 12 months and I thought I'd share a couple of things with you.
What surprised me
Networking without Instagram
In September, I went to a Bee Inspired networking event in Manchester. I was surprised to see how many people were still using Instagram as the main way to stay in contact with someone new. It did get a bit awkward when I mentioned that I had deleted the app and I did wonder if I was missing out on an important connection. I started to think about how else I could stay in touch with people, LinkedIn? Business cards? Could I invent something new?
In April, I received an email from Catherine Booth (a very talented illustrator and someone I've worked on projects with in the past), inviting me to the opening of her solo exhibition in Manchester. As Catherine had reached out directly, it felt very meaningful. I hopped straight on the train and met her there. If Catherine had just posted her event on Instagram, I would've missed it. I felt honoured and very excited and the exhibition was beautiful. Whenever I want to send invitations, I think of how this interaction made me feel.
What I did instead of using social media
Showing up somewhere else
I decided to put more attention into my website, my newsletter and my blog and I started a drawing journal to encourage me to draw everyday too. I still use Pinterest to collect ideas and it's brought in more traffic to my website than any other platform has so far. I feel much closer to those in my newsletter community and by sharing what's inspired my studio practice each month, I can consume inspiration a lot more slowly and intentionally too.
A Shift To Analog
I started to feel a need to keep my important memories and photos somewhere special and outside of my camera roll of nonsense, so I bought a photo album and got some photos printed. I could've just set my personal Instagram account to private and used that, this feels more tangible and personal to me.
What are your thoughts on Instagram and social media? How would you connect with someone new at a networking event without using social media? Are business cards a thing of the past? Do you still use Pinterest?!
More tasty bits:
This TED Talk by Dino Ambrosi is eye opening. I really thought hard about the point he makes when he asks how much would we be willing to pay monthly to use social media channels - How loyal are we to these sites?
Also loved the thoughts behind this Anti-social media policy by Lush
I started 2023 with the very exciting task of opening my business again after closing it in 2022 (more about that here if you missed what went on). With 'health' being a new priority, I approached everything with this fresh new filter and set about making changes.
Starting with cutting ties on what was no longer serving me or that were taking away too much from my time, attention or energy away from the important things. Etsy shop, GOODBYE. Instagram account ADIOS, standing outside at craft markets all weekend, no thank you.
I wanted to fall in love with making again, as much as I loved it when I was little.
Noticing that my attention span was short and the days of having dead legs from sitting uncomfortably on the floor for hours lost in flow state were way behind me. I wanted this concentration level back. I noticed that my phone was in my hand more than my pencil and I wanted things to change.
Over the year, I experimented with everything from digital detoxing, being more mindful by 'single-tasking', actively including idle time into my day and even trying 4 hour slots of concentration. I learnt something from each experiment and use these bits to push me forwards.
I also looked at longer forms of content and what activities fill up my energy bucket instead of draining it. I stuck to 3 simple things; my email newsletter (I call this my Round Ups), my blog and a drawing journal. These three things create meandering paths of creativity and inspiration for me, they fill that energy bucket right up and I get excited to share them with a creative community every month.
The Next Mission?
After learning little daily habits on stretching my attention span, I'm starting to look at creativity as a muscle that can be stretched too. Maybe this will be the topic for next year's posts?
As always, I'm so glad you're here and I'm so grateful that you support me and my work.
Books that helped me:
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Podcasts that helped me:
Grow With Soul Podcast (now called Fireside)
It's that time of year and I don't know about you but 'goal setting' is something that fills me with dread and reminds me of school. The start of the new year, get out your shiny new notebook and some fancy pens, write a list of goals that are too extreme or too vague, close the book. never return. job done.
Looking around for some examples to cherry pick can be more draining than inspiring too and can lead to us choosing goals that we want to want or that we think we want.
After being lost in social media land and not really having a main goal as such, my aims became a bit number and vanity based: 'reach 3,000 followers,' 'make 50 sales on etsy' or 'get 300 people on the mailing list.' Well, since deleting most of those apps, I can't focus on those goals any more and had to find a new set of targets. Although these were measurable, they weren't getting me anywhere and they weren't adding any extra value to my life or work - something that's trickier to measure.
After taking 2 years out of 'normal life' for Covid and then a year out for an even less 'normal life' for chemo, I had a new priority: HEALTH. This priority came with some tasty new perspectives: time, attention and energy.
What Do I Want More of?
I go about setting goals by thinking 'what do I want more of' and 'what do I want less of?' in my day to day life. This helps to set little habits that change over an achievable time period and not just setting big and scary goals that encourage me to focus on the end goal and that keep me swimming in the same circle.
Health as a priority
I started with my priority - health, then I worked from there. Yours might be family, self-care, eduaction, exercise, travel... could be anything (I find it easier to just have one).
I started with what I need and how I can get more of that in my life
Rest. A Freelance role allows me to take time when I need it, I'm not closed in by a strict contract or holiday days.
Money. To pay my bills and to work on a 'buffer fund' of a few month's wages - to reduce any money anxiety.
Social. Having colleauges to interact with on a daily or weekly basis.
Then I started to add into what else I'd like more of:
Rest. To take a regular day out to refil my energy bucket, to be inspired and well fed.
Money. To add to my pension and aim to save for a car.
Social. To enjoy coffee with friends, fellow small business owners and new connections.
I felt like these goals were something that I could achieve, I also threw in a challenge, to increase my attention span over the year too. I'd use research, experiments and determination to see if I could be less distracted and more focused.
How do you attack goal setting? Do you fight it with procrastination and scrolling online? Do you stab it in the eye with a glittery gel pen? Or are you in the 'I just don't bother' camp?
I share more random life hacks, inspiration and ideas on my monthly Round Up. Click HERE, sign over your email adress and enjoy monthly stuff from me