I am not sure what has compelled me to write this blog post and I must admit it hasn’t been an easy one to write simply because I don’t quite know where to begin. All I can say is that this has been brewing for quite some time. I guess it started back when I uploaded this image to social media with the following caption-
Absence is a funny thing. Some say it makes the heart grow fonder but I don’t know if I can agree with that in this case. I think absence sometimes makes it harder to come back.
I’ve definitely hit a wall recently in so many ways- my social media presence, my art and my own wellbeing. Recently it’s seems like it’s been one thing after another and no sooner am I back up and running that I’m knocked back down again. I’m not saying this to make you feel sorry for me, I’m saying this because losing your mojo is real. I’ve felt so uninspired recently and I think that the pressure to appear on social media and whack up an inspiring picture with a witty caption that will ‘reach’ thousands is a real burden. Taking time out has now meant that I don’t know what content to upload and even if I do upload it, the chance of it reaching people is close to none. The algorithm battle continues.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that absence can be a positive thing and this post goes back to the one I made on #worldmentalhealthday and the message I shared there- it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to share that with others and expect nothing in return. Take time out every now and again to reflect and do it for the good of your mental health because at the end of the day that is far more important than how many likes a photo gets.
I must admit I was shocked by the response this post caused. I had an incredible amount of messages and comments, with many concerned that I had hit ‘rock bottom’ mentally. Reading back over it I guess it did sound very ‘woe is me’ which is not at all what I intended but it is a post that has stayed with me ever since. I have hit this wall many times since then and in many ways it frustrates me. Why should I care what response my social media content gets? Why should I feel pressured to post every single day with something witty or beautiful? Why should I care if other people reach a bigger audience than myself? Why? Sadly these are the pressures that I and so many others like me feel, particularly as the reliance on social media for sales and exposure increases. Something that I used to love and want to do now feels like a chore. The fun and sense of community feels as though it is ebbing away. Those who I once loved to see and engage with rarely appear and similarly those who used to engage with my posts complain that they can never see them.
Now I have admitted before that social media is a full time job in itself and I stand by that. I know that you have to give in order to receive, particularly now that the goal posts have shifted. But what do you do when you no longer love it anymore and if anything, it is making you feel worse? If it makes you question your self-worth and your abilities as an artist? I know that I am not alone and have seen many other people, businesses, bloggers and individuals alike all raise this as a serious issue. It has of course been in the media for quite some time that social media and the pressures that come with it have a huge impact on your self-esteem and often mental health. This is not news to anyone.
Recently however I have seen many who say that they are trying to take it ‘less seriously’ and not conform to the rules of the blasted algorithm. I salute them. I myself have never been interested in the amount of likes I get, if my grid looks pleasing to the eye, if the colour palette fits my aesthetic or what time of day I post. That is far too much work for my liking. Sure there are things I would like to improve but I will do that because I want to and when I feel ready. But everything else that comes with it is enough to give anyone a headache.
So what am I trying to say? What is the point of this blog post? I guess what I am trying to articulate (very poorly I might add) is that losing your mojo is real and when it happens; it hits you pretty damn hard. I have found myself stuck in a real rut for some months now and it all comes back down to pressure- putting pressure on myself to post on social media, to reach more people, to turn that exposure into sales and to grow. These aren’t bad aspirations to have but when it doesn’t work out, time and time again because of things outside of your control it can soon niggle at that area of your brain that you try and keep quiet. Imagine that response every time you share something you have painstakingly made. That small part of your brain soon gets bigger and bigger and it gets to the point that you don’t want to share anymore because you know the response it is likely to get. With absence comes anxiousness and I guess that is where I am now.
I have been incredibly fortunate that in my three and a half years of business that I have grown. I haven’t taken a huge dip and that each year things just get better. Not massively. Not ‘I could quit tomorrow and live on a yacht’ but comfortably that I feel I can keep this up for another day. I owe a lot of that to the exposure I have had on social media, specifically Instagram where I have accumulated thousands of followers and a fan base that are loyal and supportive. I guess that is why I feel so sad that things are changing and that this platform that has given me so much is now something I can’t feel passionate about anymore, nor enjoy. I am sure this feeling will come and go but the main message I want to put out there is that you are not alone. If I can connect with one person through this blog post and reassure them that it is okay not to feel 100% happy with their social media content or the response to it then I will have made a difference because I certainly have felt alone in this battle.
If you are reading this and want to know what you can do to help small businesses then the solution is simple- engage. Interact with the accounts you love, sign up to notifications, like and comment on posts and share, share, share. It may only take seconds but it will make the world of difference to artists like me. You may even help someone find their mojo again.