Before anything else, let’s start with a disclaimer: This blog post details my own opinions and experiences with social media, and is not meant to preach to others about how they should use their platforms. I have many friends who post regularly, as well as those who don’t, and I have no problem with either. I love how creative social media has made us, and I enjoy the occasional sticker, filter, and new feature every now and then too! TL;DR: To each their own. 🙂
I’m not like most people my age when it comes to their social media accounts. I don’t post regularly or update my Stories on all my platforms. Honestly, I often miss social media updates from my network. I’m on most major platforms but I’m not that involved. I just decided a while back that social media isn’t my thing, and that’s okay. Until The Letter Belle came into the picture.
The Letter Belle is my independent calligraphy brand. I casually started it in April 2015 with the intention of sharing my newfound love for modern calligraphy to strangers on the internet. True enough, I interacted with a lot of like-minded, creative individuals online, and even collaborated with a few along the way. It’s cool to have a platform to meet people with the same interests as you! I was pretty active back then until I got hired in January 2016 and naturally focused on my day job.
At first, the thoughts that popped in were just tiny voices at the back of my head. “You haven’t posted in a week!” “Make sure to find time to post again later, ok?” But they grew louder. “People will unfollow you!” “Everyone’s getting ahead of you!” “You’re just not as dedicated as you used to be.” It was always a huge battle between enjoying art for what it was vs. marketing my brand and subsequently opening up myself to new opportunities. Both were amazing options, but I couldn’t really find the right balance. Even until now. As of writing, I’m on another hiatus from my social media accounts.
There was also that undeniable jealousy that would spring out of nowhere as I browse through my feed. I’ve been following some of these accounts for years, and seeing them excel and improve overtime makes me happy and proud of them. But negativity sometimes catches on, and I find myself feeling stuck as if I’m not good enough or I should just shut my creative venture down. After all, there are many people who are doing it already, so what am I contributing to anything?
I used to check my Instagram feed and get inspired by the posts I see from people who were sharing their own art journeys too. I would feel refreshed and ready to create something with my hands. Until one day, the pictures on my feed suddenly felt like a reminder that I wasn’t improving, and that everyone else took off and are now soaring to greater heights.
You might say that these dangerous, self-pitying thoughts are a matter of perspective and ultimately my doing. Actually, I agree. I can change how I think. But I also forget how much social media is there as a tool to market ourselves. Meaning, everything I see online is not as glamorous as it is in real life.
More and more creatives are now slowly opening up about their own journeys with social media burnouts, the struggle to keep up and maintain an authentic brand, all the while balancing their personal lives. It’s really hard not to compare yourself with other people. But to whoever stumbles upon this, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. It’s cheesy, but you need to hear this from somebody. Take a break, rest, pause if you have to. You can hop back on that project again when you feel recharged. What counts is that you never lose sight of your goals.
Life is more than just about becoming viral on social media, getting more than a hundred likes on each post, and seeing your follower count increase. It’s also about genuinely enjoying what you do and coming from the right place when you do it. This is my guiding light every time I feel down or uninspired. I don’t need to post every single thing I do. I don’t need to always have perfect posts either. And if I can’t attend to it right now, I shouldn’t scold myself for it. I’m not advocating laziness–more of honoring that sometimes, life really happens.
I hope I reach that day when social media becomes less of a toxic source and more of that place where I was so eager to share my art with people. It’s a journey I’m working towards, and I’m glad that by writing this all down, I’m taking the first few steps to rekindle it again.