Hello! No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, I’ve just been looking up for the past 3 months. You’re probably asking, “Up at what?!” The sky, yes, sometimes, but really I was looking up from my phone.
In a world full of modern technology and social media, it’s super easy to lose yourself in what feels like a virtual reality. Often times you feel a part of other’s life experiences simply by clicking through a set of photos. As someone still fairly new to blogging, I find myself buried in social media beyond the typical wall-feed scan. As I switch between multiple apps, I critique the work of others and compare myself to industry leaders; which is extremely unhealthy for everyone involved. My insanely high self-expectations became more unrealistic as I started to focus on far too many details (and that’s coming from a detail-oriented individual)! “How will my new Instagram photo look next to my previous post?! Will the colors clash? Will two food photos in a row affect my engagement?!” Instead of having fun with my creative freedom, I found myself getting sucked into trends.
I initially became a blogger to express my creativity and engage with a community that shared similar interests. Over the course of the year, I learned a lot about the blogging world and how to succeed in it. My greatest influence being Kayte Demont of MassMusings (check her out, she’s one cool chick). With a fantastic mentor, I jumped in head first and had early-on success which kept the engines rolling. The larger my network grew, the more content I became exposed to. Little-by-little I noticed content becoming repetitive, “I’ve seen this before …” The same opportunities amongst the same bloggers; the same meals, same hotel stays, same product reviews, same gluten-free whatever. I started to think, “Aren’t bloggers supposed to set the trends and not-so-much follow them?” Funny part is, I too was being influenced by the same trends.
Fast forward to August where I’m in our cabins in Maine without wifi and cell service. For two straight weeks I lived in the wild, free of all social media and Netflix. I honestly didn’t miss it, I felt alive in fact. My morning routine switched from Facebook scrolling to lakeside coffee and fresh air. When boredom occurred, I couldn’t start a new level of Angry Birds so I found entertainment elsewhere. I indulged in childhood favorites like puzzles & sketch pads, and more recent hobbies like photography and hiking. My greatest accomplishment on the trip was creating new signs for the cabin (check ’em out below). Not only was I enjoying myself, but I used my creative mind to keep occupied in a wifi free environment. By looking up from my phone, I discovered a world filled with fresh content! From meditation, to arts-and-crafts, I found myself filled with inspiration and completely removed from what’s trending.
Upon my return, I started to treat social media differently. It is still a HUGE part of my career, however, I changed the way I use it. Instead of obsessing over numbers, I will focus again on sharing life experiences, influencing healthy lifestyles, and overall producing original content. Since I joined the blogging community about a year ago, I’ve learned that it’s not all about the industry trends and paid advertising; it’s about creating unique content that builds a genuine relationship with your audience. After several months away, I re-connected with my brand and am excited to begin a new year filled with curated content by your truly.
With that said, I challenge you to look-up this next week and see what you’ve been missing out on in the world. Comment below with what ya find!