I wrote in the caption accompanying the above photo on the Instagrams that I’m intending to start ‘keeping it real’ over there.
What do I mean by that?
I mean not fretting over ‘perfect’ photos and not fretting over the aesthetic of ‘my grid’. I’m going to post something when I feel like posting it, of whatever I feel like posting. If all I ever posted was pictures of plants and flowers I’d only taking pictures for a few months of the year. But that’s what my ‘grid’ would suggest I do.
I honestly could not give a rat’s hairy arse about growing an audience.
And I also care a lot about growing an audience.
That, my friends, is a dialectic.
I don’t care because caring erodes my creativity - it sucks the joy out of my writing, my photography, my art journal, my everything.
I care because I occasionally (sporadically, in a yo-yo type fashion) want to generate some income from my online creativity — and that includes my fiction writing.
But if you were to ask me where the pendulum rests most of all…it’s in the ‘don’t care’ camp.
I actually harbour a simmering resentment towards how the Slick and Savvy have pretty much ruined (I think) online creativity for the rest of the world.
Everywhere you turn, there’s a How-To of Instagram, of blogging, of YouTube-ing, of Pinterest-ing, complete with a complex set of Rules and Shoulds surrounding navigating algorithms and creating ‘likeable’ content.
It just does my head in.
I find myself wailing “Whyyyyyyyyyy????”
“Why can’t we just go back to how things used to be?” (complete with sobbing and fist-pounding-on-desk)
Except what I really mean is “Why can’t I go back to the way I was?”
I want to go back to how I was — and how I created — before I learned I was supposed to care about all of those things.
I want to go back to a time when I knew how to play and how to share my imperfect attempts and how to experiment — freely and without constantly wondering how it all might translate into an income or a ‘career’.
I need to remember my Why of creativity — why I used to wake up early when the children were little to grab some painting time in the little Art Cave that was actually just an alcove in the gloomy, unfinished basement of our townhouse in the city.
And why I filled notebook after notebook with story ideas and character sketches and short stories about lonely, misfit girls who run off with slightly ominous faery-boys just so they could be free. <—Or are they? :)*
And so that’s what this year is all about….about re-discovering my Why. If that means creating in solitude, then so be it. I feel like that’s probably how it will have to be….at least at first. I need to be sure I’m doing what I’m doing because I want to do it — not because I’m being influenced by ‘likes’ or ‘comments’.
Because the truth is, I am influenced by those things — I’m a highly sensitive soul who constantly gathers and assesses external inputs to see if “I’m doing okay/doing it right” — it’s how my brain is wired. Even admitting to that feels vulnerable — like I’m supposed to be super-cool and nonchalant and all very go-f*ck-yourself-internet about the whole thing.
And I actually am mostly go-f*ck-yourself-internet a lot of the time.
Except when it comes to my creative work.
So that’s why I’m extending that ‘create like no-one’s watching’ approach into this space and The Instagrams — to help me remember and to (hopefully) motivate me to keep going. Because there’s nothing like thinking I have to follow rules to make me dig my toes in, fold my arms and say “No.”…a response which, I know, is only hurting my own self, but then temper tantrums aren’t known for their helpfulness, are they?
Which means this blog is likely to become a hodge-podge representation of my magpie brain — lots of the old stuff where I bang on about pollinators, exclaim about my roses and proclaim fury at assorted and sundry crimes against the planet. But there’ll also be book-unreviews, occasional tirades (on an assortment of subjects), scraps of new work and possibly/likely the odd word about my adventures with the soul-pony as we embark upon a summer of competition. (meeeeep!)**
In other words, not at all ‘niched’ and not at all cohesive.
Just like my brain.
I hope you’ll wander along with me.
*once upon a time, I wrote a short story called Iron and Hawthorn that I’ve always wanted to re-write and expand….but never did.
** I have (a very neglected but soon-to-be-resurrected) blog devoted to The Buzzard and I and our rambling and circuitous route to the world of eventing. Just if you fancy.