Hello hello! It's been a while. For the month of September this year I decided to delete Instagram and not post or check anything there for a whole month...an experiment if you will. Here's what happened.
So, the reason I wanted to try this out is probably relatable to a lot of people who are on the app for their art or small business. I was feeling burnt out, I was feeling pressure to post every day–and guilt when I couldn't, and I didn't like that. It really took away my motivation to create, but I also wondered if being on instagram affected not just the choice to create, but what I create. I wanted to know what I felt compelled to draw, paint, print, etc without the external influence of what other artists were doing or what might be trending at the time. But I also wanted to give myself zero expectations.
I didn't really miss being on the app at first. I don't think I spend an unreasonable amount of time scrolling on instagram, probably more than I should but also not so much that I never get anything else done in a day. So I didn't miss that. Any idle moments where I picked up my phone looking for something to entertain me became occupied with reading my book, a duolingo lesson (I have a 400+ day streak!), or pinterest, sometimes TikTok.
The first half of September filled up quickly with a new project: sewing projects for my greyhound. With fall descending upon us in Seattle I felt inspired to make her some new outfits, including this preppy red number, and an ongoing effort to create a skeleton onesie in time for Halloween.
I didn't touch my sketchbook, I think, the whole month. Halfway through I had an idea strike me that I'd had floating around in my head forever, and now seemed like a good time to execute. I drew it on my iPad in procreate:
And after that was finished, I redid my whole website! Another thing that had been floating around in my mind and put off for approximately one year. I thought this task was going to be fairly simple and mostly consist of swapping out a few images, but it turned into a logo update, colour palette creation, and almost all new projects/images. It took me a couple weeks. But I honestly had so much fun, and I think if I had been worrying about instagram it never would have gotten done, because it never would have felt as much a priority.
I started to miss instagram though, towards the last week of the month. Mostly I missed the people on there, who weren't in my direct social circle but who I still considered friends and followed the day to day of their art practice and lives. The internet is so weird for that. I wanted to know what was going on with them. I cheated a couple times, because on September 20th it was Greer's 10th birthday so I re-downloaded the app to share some of the adorable pics on her account. I think that's a pretty good excuse 😛
She is a true earth angel.
I will also say the pressure to create specifically for instagram never fully went away. There were a couple times my mind wandered toward it, automatically pondering what I might post when I return, and mildly stressing that I hadn't created enough in a whole month to...justify (?) the time off. I created a ton actually, just not a lot of "instagrammable" content that "fits" cohesively in my feed.
Acknowledging that, I think this experiment was a positive experience. I lost about 100 followers...but honestly will I miss them? The percentage of people who I interact with and seek out my work are really the only ones I should be putting any energy into. If you're someone who is making art on instagram and you've been feeling burnt out, maybe commit to a month off and see what happens. I promise it won't be the end of the world.
I unintentionally took the month off, from posting. I just kind of lurked on it honestly and it was fine. I missed the chatty communication aspect of it, but I created just to create, and ended up seeing a major shift in my work, plus came up with ideas completely in related to where I *thought* things were going so who knows, maybe it played a part in it, maybe it didn’t! Oddly enough when I was just down, I went and found/seeked out YOUR account to bring some smiles, you do such wonderful animal illustrations, and they just really helped!💕
Very cool you were able to have some chill on the app haha. I can’t help but sink hours into scrolling, chatting, and answering comments if the app is right there, which is why I deleted it, but moving forward I’m hoping to just have some more chill and a less strict posting schedule (really maybe no schedule at all?). I can feel my green card and work authorization getting closer and closer, so hopefully I’ll have less time soon to spend hyper-focused on one single app. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Enjoyed reading your reflections on taking a month off. It sounds very productive!
Thanks Jennifer for reading my post! I’m feeling good 🙂