“You do not have to constantly create new content in order to be a worthwhile artist.” – Caitlin Conlon
Social media has become a place where poets and other artists can share their work and build a community. Thanks to these outlets, artists are able to freely create and post on their own terms, instead of relying on gatekeepers. Social media has proven to be a useful tool in helping us find poets that we have fallen in love with and whose work fill up our bookshelves. Unfortunately, social media has also reinforced our need for instant gratification, which leads to this mindset that we constantly have to post new things every day.
Sometimes we get caught up in this idea that if we post new things on a regular basis, then that will keep our followers attention. As an artist, you shouldn’t define yourself or your work by how many followers you have, or by your number of likes or comments. Whether it is only two likes or two thousand, your work still means something to someone and that someone should be you. Trying to keep up with the fast-paced tone of social media can be taxing on your energy and overall mental health. Below are some ways to preserve your energy, while using social media to post your work:
1. Remove social media apps from your phone. Yes, crazy I know but you will thank yourself later.
2. Spend time outside. Talk with friends, family, and whoever else centers you.
3. Continue to create, but not with social media in mind. Do it with yourself in mind.
4. Don’t put yourself on a timeline in terms of creating new work. Go at your own pace. Let the inspiration come to you.
5. If there is a project you are working on that is time sensitive, set a realistic deadline. The less pressure you put on yourself, the better.
6. Don’t force yourself to be active online again. If you find that you are enjoying your time off the grid, then enjoy it.
7. Read work from other people that you enjoy.
8. Once you do decide to get back online, don’t rush into posting anything. Take your time. Look around and post maybe one or two things. Or nothing.
9. Cut the negative talk. You are not a failure if you don’t make something. You are not a “real artist” when you post something. You are an artist all the time.
Sharing what we make with others can be a beautiful feeling. However, let go of the thought that you’re only an artist if you are consistently creating or posting something. Don’t let your energy be drained by the demands of your audience. Allowing yourself to step back and just “be” is one of the best things you can do. You’ll find that it is in those quiet moments that you best preserve and protect your energy. In due time, you will find that the right people will stick around, regardless of what you post or don’t. Always remember why you create in the first place.