This past week I finished my final year of teaching. In two weeks we’ll move from the Bay Area to Portland. Having some good, big life changes over here.
Along with everyone else, I’ve been battling a spring cold and have subsequently been pretty unproductive making-wise. Feeling like crap has, however, given me all the time to look at images on social media.
I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how damaging Instagram and other social platforms are to people’s sense of self-worth and productivity. Now I must agree that I may spend more time than is healthy scrolling, but other than that, I don’t agree with this sentiment. I draw so much inspiration from Instagram and the community on this platform has really helped solidify my love of making.
While being a sick blob, I marinated on the reasons I don’t find social media toxic and came up with a few tips, sprinkled with some inspiring Instagram accounts (all photos are linked):
Follow real people. Yes, celebrities are real people, but I follow artists and makers whose lives are more similar to my own. I’ve “met” so many lovely makers through Instagram – folks I can reach out to for making advice, and are encouraging and kind. Good people with good intentions make a social media platform meaningful and uplifting.
Follow accounts that share inspiring content. There’s a lot of stuff to look at on the internet. Food shots, make-up selfies, and memes don’t get my creative juices flowing, so I avoid looking at accounts based solely on those things. I also look for well-lit photos, process shots, and honesty. Making can, at times, be incredibly frustrating and it’s nice to follow people who keep it real (even if the photos’ compositions are pleasing).
When inspiration hits, document it in a sketchbook. It’s important to capture ideas, otherwise they fade. Anytime I see an image that sparks an idea, I document it in my sketchbook (or pin it on Pinterest). The practice of putting ideas on paper is very calming and lets me brain dump when I’m overwhelmed with ideas and inspiration. I love this Shinola Sketchbook, if you’re interested in starting a sketchbook practice.
Share your work. Think of social media as a motivator and as a means to document your creative work. I’m a stickler for only taking photos in natural light and my job/commute makes M-F making pretty challenging. It’s a goal to find the balance where I’m making something and sharing it every day.
Happy sharing and scrolling!