Are you creating for a following or for your creative soul?
When I decided to exit from social media that over-arching reason had more to do with mental health and productivity, what I failed to realize was my creative soul began to feel depleted.
If you solely use social media for personal or recreational use, you might not grasp what it means to create a curated feed. What do I mean by a curated feed? These are feeds that many of the “popular” ‘gramers create –
You know the ones with the latte cup perfectly paired with a fresh manicure or all of the food shown is color coordinated in the same bowl. Or better yet, the photos are all the same – “light and airy”. Dare I even say or use the word… basic.
As a viewer, you might appreciate the aesthetic, but let me tell you, from a creator standpoint it is absolutely exhausting to create and curate a social media feed to please:
1) your followers
2) the all-mighty algorithm.
While researching other creatives who have thrived since booking their departure flight from social media one common theme ran through – the curation of social media was one of the greatest burdens and gateways of creative burnout. And, let’s sprinkle on the idea of keeping up with every social media day that comes up within the calendar.
Not sure what I mean by “social media holiday” – Does National Donut Day, Taco Day, Chocolate Chip Cookie Day ring a bell? Sadly, I am not joking these “holidays” really do exist. Before you leave me nasty comments, the only people who should be celebrating or incorporating those holidays into their social media are food-related businesses, not a creative who fails to shares cookies or cupcakes throughout any of the other 364 days of out the year.
Oh and while we are at it… I want to address another theme you might not know exists. Engagement Pods – yep, pods of fellow creatives who “like” and “comment” to help boost the algorithm. For some reason, this feels like high school all over again and being asked to sit at the popular table for a week while they oust one of the other “popular” girls. Remember, come Monday, there won’t be a room at the table for you.
A friend of mine who is well established in the creative world of handmade crafts once told me that she was invited into one of the “engagement pods” and some of the other creatives had to be within these communities for validation because, without it, they couldn’t handle posts not receiving a certain amount of likes or engagement. Y’all, this breaks my heart because social media doesn’t mean anything when it comes to self-worth or self-value and if that is the measure of success, I’ll go sit with the weirdos.
Why am I addressing this or adding such a bitter tone to this? This is the hidden reality of social media and online presence. We have become filtered beyond reality and realisticness no longer exists. I see it happen daily in the photography world and it breaks my heart because there are so many incredible, I mean incredible creatives who are tailoring their style to fit in with the masses or burning themselves out chasing the current trends.
This has to stop! When we stop stoking our creative fire we run the risk of burning ourselves out and often never want to pick up our camera or creative medium again.
If you don’t love the work you are creating and sharing you have the power to change that!
Yes, your clients (the ones that pay you) will either become more in love with what is you do or will stop being a client which will allow you to bring on the clients who are the right client for you, your services/product, and business.
I challenge you to create model photoshoots or collaborations that excite you and can transition you toward creating a body of work that you are madly in love with. Personally, when my creative soul feels depleted it means that I have lost my creative voice and need to schedule shoots for me that bring me joy and reignites my love for photography.