I recently went through an unfollow spree on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. I stopped following those people/companies that consistently post “Daily Inspirational Quotes of the Day” and listicles titled “5 Ways to Become a Morning Person.”
About a little over a year ago, I went through a follow spree, adding these motivational and empowering accounts to my daily news feeds. I had just graduated from college and was breaking into the online writing world, as well as ringing up groceries and being somewhat unsure of what the hell I was going to do with my life. This was, in part, because everyone was asking me, “So, what are you going to do with your life?” and in part because I was pretty sure the only job I was qualified for was copy editing and copy editing for a living would probably kill me. I love my Oxford commas and red carrots in between words, but I also love action, which is why journalism appealed to me in the first place.
But in the immediate weeks (which gradually turned into 6 months) post-graduation and without a full-time job, class schedule, or routine, I was searching. I was turning to a lot of Netflix and running long miles to get me through days that didn’t have a pattern. I also turned to blogs and blogging, inserting myself in the world of beautyguru.coms and Youtube mindlessness and also quotes that would remind me I needed to “Believe in the person I wanted to become.” I should also “never look back because I am not going that way.”
Oh, and don’t forget, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible.’”
(Thank you, Audrey Hepburn, for that last one. I do love that quote despite how much it annoys me now.)
So I was engulfed in this world of positivity for a while, clinging to Pinterest boards and life coach websites that encouraged me to always be a powerful lady and never. give. up.
I needed that, I guess, during the time when I didn’t feel so powerful. Reading the quotes and articles on how to improve my life were comforting, but they were also a lot of empty stock photography splashed with fonts that look like handwriting. I read way, way too many blog posts about how to increase traffic to my site and the best way to manage social media and OH MY GOD there are so many ways to be happier. Did any of us every stop to think — why do we need so many articles teaching us how to be happy? Have we forgotten how to do it without a .com that sums up how to drastically change your life in 7 DIY steps?
I had forgotten. That’s why I was resorting to the Internet to make me happy, and not actual things that used to make me happy.
I also wrote a lot of those very articles I am criticizing right now and spent too much time refreshing the page, this WordPress page, devastated with how many page views I didn’t get and never being happy that I had even one. I felt like I couldn’t call myself a writer unless I was publishing weekly, on several different platforms, for various pubs — because real writers these days are all over the Internet, literally. So I was all over the Internet for a while, even after I finally got a full-time job. I would come home from work and type some more, writing for four publications and blogging (sometimes twice a week) on the side. I was writing, but I didn’t feel like a writer.
So I recently quit the publications for which I was a staff writer. My goals are smaller now — less about word counts, page views, and comments. The numbers aren’t really in the equation anymore. Which makes sense, I guess, because I am a writer who can’t remember the times tables from fourth grade.
My new goals?
Stop reading the listicles about changing life in 10 steps or less.
Stop writing those, too.
Don’t follow Instagram accounts that post daily motivational quotes.
Stop trying to motivate myself — instead, time to do something.
And if that something is write, that is good. That means I have my soul back again.
The good news is, today I wanted to write this.