Somewhat Exhausted

I don’t know how to do this the way everyone else seems to be doing it, and if you and I were sitting together chatting, imagine me using air quotes around that word everyone because I know it’s not everyone (you should insert those air quotes again) but it often feels that way and I’ve written before (here, my newsletter, Instagram posts) (this is not new) that I feel great challenges in the online world which is kind of funny because this is how you and I meet, here online, and still it’s a real hurdle for me to continue engaging with consistency (because anyone trying to grow a platform as an artist) (anyone trying to grow a business) (anyone using the internet to build anything) is told by everyone (no need for air quotes because it really is pretty much everyone) that consistency is key and you should blog regularly and you should post to social media regularly, otherwise people forget about you, and then after you post high-quality content regularly, you should engage with your audience (which is lovely if you have an audience like I do) (seriously, folks, you are lovely) but that constant demand for output is draining and I don’t understand how our culture expects us to grow as artists—to grow as people—if we’re constantly sharing-sharing-sharing and simultaneously consuming-consuming-consuming and, yes, most definitely there is stimulating, inspiring, fabulous work out there that our digital age brings to us with the mere touch of a finger, with a simple swipe or scroll but therein lies part of the problem (in my eyes) that too much time is spent with that finger to screen instead of finger to clay or finger to dough or finger to earth or finger to finger and eye to eye and heart to heart, and oh my heart hurts some days as I try to strike a balance for myself because I know this:  technology is not evil or bad, it’s just relatively new and most of us don’t know what to do with it, don’t realize how we’ve backed ourselves into this life of screens and hyper-connectivity and if you’re feeling somewhat exhausted at this run-on sentence then you have some idea of how I feel when I say that I just don’t know how to do this thing the way everyone else seems to be doing it and so I’m trying to do it differently, and I’ll keep you posted.

   

Sending a little (actually, a lot) of love your way, m

     

P.S. I hope you’ll join me and the sweet community that gathers (Every Single Time) for the next round of Just Five Things. We explore creative lists that are playful and soulful. Click here to read about class.

37 thoughts on “Somewhat Exhausted

  1. Hey Michelle! What you write is so true and it resonates within me too. I almost missed your post because I don’t always read all the newsletter I get. Unsubscribed from a lot of them and kept the personal ones like yours. This world is turning crazy yes. I have a photography business, but since I’ve realised that being active in social media won’t make a difference in engaging people or finding clients I’ve posted less and less. We can post all that we want, but companies like FB and IG dictate who, and how many people, will read that post. So now I only share photos because I like to share them with the friends I’ve found online with some classes I did in the past. Meeting people online in classes is one of the nice things of internet. But it is much better for our soul to connect with the earth, do things with our hands and meet with friends in real life. Big hug! Jolanda

    1. I appreciate your thoughts, Jolanda, and am so glad you found your way here…though I know that sometimes we just have to miss some things (can’t read all the posts and all the newsletters)…we have to trust that we’re finding what we’re meant to find. Again, I’m glad you found your way here.

      The algorithms (the business) of FB and IG frustrate me. I’m glad you’re enjoying those platforms in ways that are meaningful for you…we all need to find our own way. Yes to connecting with the earth, to doing things with our hands, to meeting in real life. Yes, please. xo

  2. I experienced a “light bulb”moment, reading your post and others’ responses. Thank You! I will give it some more thought but I’m 99.99% sure I have discovered an answer to a dilemma. tbc…
    Cheers~

  3. “t too much time is spent with that finger to screen instead of finger to clay or finger to dough or finger to earth or finger to finger and eye to eye and heart to heart,” … this makes me weepy because yes. I feel this. I have stepped back, holding all my fears in my hands, but knowing that what I have been sharing isn’t coming from me because there hasn’t been enough of me being with me.

    and I don’t know how to do this.
    so I will do this a different way … and I don’t think “everyone” will get it … or understand … and that’s ok.

    1. Cynthia! I happened to see your recent IG post this afternoon and I honestly thought to myself: “oh, I wish she would see my blog post”…and here you are. I’m so glad. Yes, I understand that you feel this; I heard it so clearly in your IG post. It’s a tricky dance, all this online engagement. The balance will be different for each of us. I think it’s fantastic that you realized you needed to step back (even with the fear) so that you can spend more time with YOU. That’s crucial.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t know how to do it either. I’m doing lots of thinking, lots of tuning into self, beginning to find my way. I absolutely believe that there’s a different way to do this online stuff. Nope, *everyone* will not understand. And, yes, that’s most definitely ok. It must be.

      Sending hugs, nodding in understanding. xx

  4. Dear Michelle, ‘Everyone’ asked me to tell you to follow your heart and not ‘everyone’s’ rules about blogging and technology. Trust in your tribe. We’ll be here. Your words are authentic and brave and never fail to inspire me. Thank you for that. Try something totally old school, non techy, and creative to touch your followers. For me on the receiving end; when I feel like I’m pummeled by too much from a creative I’ve been following, that’s when I stop following. NOT when it’s been quiet on their end. Model it for us. We’ll get it, trust me. Vugs to you brave heart.

    1. “Trust in your tribe”…yesyesyes. You all are the kind of people who know if someone is just phoning it in, and I don’t ever want to do that. The things I share here (and in class) are about being true to one’s life, one’s self, one’s circumstances. If I’m encouraging you all to do that, I must certainly do the same for myself. Thank you for your thoughtful and supportive comment. xo

  5. I don’t know when the expectations of bloggers shifted and “everyone” started saying/feeling like they needed to be posting all the time, but I think that kind of output is probably exhausting and not sustainable (I haven’t blogged since the days of LiveJournal, and back then it was just a personal thing/way to keep in touch with faraway friends, though, so what do I know?), and moreover, I feel like it shows in the writing when someone is pushing just to crank out content. As a reader, I would *much* rather wait for your posts until you have something to say (or a photo to share), and then really take in your message, knowing that it’s…authentic, I guess (I feel like that word has become overused and maybe a bit of a cliche, but I can’t think of a better one right now). I love that you do this whole online thing in a way that works for you, and not the way “everyone” says it should be done.

    1. The expectations are just crazy…there’s so much that goes into the whole online package these days for artists/writers/businesses. Oy.
      And I know what you mean about ‘authentic’ being an overused word…but what else? Who doesn’t want that? I know I do.
      So thanks for appreciating me, thanks for being here. xo

  6. Michelle, I am unsure when this shift occurred, this need to build a brand/presence/voice in order to be heard/validated/recognized, I just know that it has resulted in so many of us feeling anxious/overwhelmed/tired. It’s a tricky balancing act, especially for lovely people like you who offers these lovely courses to help others stay grounded in what is real, what is in front of us RIGHT NOW. Personally, I always welcome your voice and words in my mailbox and on my Instagram feed, there are times when it feels as if you have somehow read my mind and offer a gentle perspective for me to consider.

    My husband and I were just talking about something similar this morning. He is retiring at the end of the year and one of the reasons is because he no longer finds joy in what he does in large part because he is now expected to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Cell phones and the internet have become a blessing and a curse; he no longer is able to spend a weekend disconnecting and even our vacations are disrupted by work issues that he is expected to attend to. He is looking forward to walking away and disconnecting.

    I made the decision months ago to delete my FB account and am close to deleting my Twitter as well (if only Lin-Manuel Miranda wasn’t so entertaining). I am on IG because I love the community I am a part of (have you ever noticed how many of us follow one another?), and my online friends have enriched my life in many ways (especially you). The beauty is that as I’ve lessened my social presence I have become more present in my REAL life, engaging more with my community, pursuing more interests, reading more books. Sounds silly, but it’s like the way it was in the old days. I love the change.

    Stay true to yourself, Michelle, you are a welcome presence in so many of our lives! xoxo

    1. Grace, I appreciate your thoughts; thank you for taking the time to put them down here…for me, for us. Yes, a tricky balancing act for sure. Being connected *all the time* just can’t be a healthy thing…whether it’s for someone like your husband and work, or someone scrolling for fun (but with excessive frequency). I loved reading that you’re feeling more presence in your REAL life…not silly at all, think of all the time freed up when not engaged online!…I absolutely understand what you’re saying, and I’m so glad to read this. I hope more people are able to move in ways like you.

      Here’s to thoughtful change…
      And thank you for the kind words sprinkled above. xo

  7. OHHH my gosh – YES to all of this. I just want to reach out and squeeze you, and me, and everyone else who feels this way and still keeps trying to figure it out.

    YES

  8. do as you do – the people will be there if you ask me. I blog three times a week and I visit people three times a week. This works for me – as I said previously to you Instagram costs me too much time for the amount of pleasure I receive. The feed is ‘too’ much and never ending. I end up looking up my favorites (like you) because instagram drops people out of my feed all the time. I set a timer for twitter because I could literally be on there 24/7 (go figure!).

    1. I like that you’ve figured out a framework that works for you, Karen…just like Elizabeth below. It’s what we all must do, ultimately…a tricky dance, and some additional complications when profession and business are concerned.

      I totally hear you on the IG feed being too much and never ending, people dropping out of our feeds..argh! I’m glad for our continued connection.

  9. Hello Lovely,

    I resonate with this so much and don’t tend to post much anymore but I pop in and visit. As we have learned this new way with technology I can feel myself being drawn to stepping away from it and returning to my physical world and being engaged and alive in person. Yet it’s bittersweet because I have met and become so close to some of my online people. So close that we actually meet in person. And yet, there is a threshold for me. A point right now where I only have so much energy. I read somewhere that we, on an average, can sustain 150 stable relationships. This may change with the age of technology yet it feels good, at this point in my life, to step back and nourish my close relationships, my creativity, my engagement with life itself outside of the digital world. Anyway, thank you for listening to my out loud pondering.

    I love your ‘just five things’ offerings. And a lot of love to you dear one. xo ~j

    >

    1. I’m grateful for your out-loud pondering, Jen. You’ve echoed much of what I feel…the bittersweetness of becoming close to online people (and having met some in person!) to the need to anchor in the physical world. Yes, nodding and understanding.

    1. I just want you to know I love your posts and your photography and I look forward to them. But you have to take care of you and you cannot keep putting it out there if you do not feel it and if you are exhausted. You have to love doing it and enjoy doing it, or it is not worth it and then it does become exhausting. I have seen this happening to many who have a blog. If its any consolation, know that your words matter to us and inspire us. You inspire me. Your photography inspires me. All the best to you! Hugs!

      1. Ah, Joette, thank you for this thoughtful and supportive comment. You’re absolutely right that none of us can keep putting things out there if we’re not feeling it and/or are feeling exhausted. This is why I’m thinking so carefully about it all, being transparent in that thinking/feeling. Especially because of the content I share and the people who respond to/receive it, the taking care and being true to self are all the more important. I’m slowing figuring out what works for me, and what doesn’t.

        And it matters a great deal to know that my words and photography mean something to you and others. Thank you so much for letting me know. xo

  10. Oh, you have totally put your finger right on it. Because it really is nuts. And sometimes it might feel best to just crawl into a private space and stay there. But.
    But.
    But . . . you have a light to shine. I hope you continue to shine it. (With or without the advice from “everyone.”) XO

  11. I hear you, my friend! I understand that people want to grow their business, but Facebook and Instagram are turning into a big artificial machine. We don’t know if the post of that person is really a “real post with real feelings” or if it is all set up to attract our attention to buy whatever they want to sell.
    I stopped with FB long ago, and I keep up with IG because of this beautiful community (including you) that I have. I shortened my following list to only people I trust and matters to me. I want their success and business go ahead, and I knew them (you) before all the madness has started.
    Now I’m focusing on my blog, the community here, old friends, no advertisements, I’m feeling more freedom to write and to read posts.
    Hope you find your balance and keep going, your posts are always welcome! Of course, I’m up to J5T, it’s time to reset and your prompts and lists are the best!
    Have a lovely weekend my friend!

    1. FB and IG are tricky beasts, for sure. I appreciate (more than you could know) that you’ve kept me in your IG community…I believe there is lots of good there too. Thank you for that.

      It’s wonderful the way you’ve set new parameters for yourself…I think this is so important, to set our boundaries and to honor them. I’m glad you’re finding what works for you.

      And I’d be thrilled to have you in J5T! Your presence in class is always heartfelt and genuine.

      Hope you have a lovely weekend too, Elizabeth! xo

  12. It’s quite bonkers how much social media you have to do especially if you are growing a business. I read about people who have to post on instagram, twitter, their blog, and have a youtube channel, it sounds exhausting. I am not running a business so have the freedom to post where and when I fancy, but I don’t envy you having to engage in so many areas simultaneously. I guess scheduling is a good way to go.

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