30 days of Instagram sobriety: a writer pontificates (and complains)

Oh, the gram.

This is the first time since I joined the platform, back in the old days, that I have taken a very deliberate break: deleting the app from my phone and adhering to virtual platform silence for over 30 days.

You guys––I feel awesome.

I feel like this weird, crazy pressure has just been lifted.

The dissipation of notifications.
The time saved from no more endless scrollllllling.
The lack of comparing and contrasting, and more comparing.
The relief of the pressure to post, and for that post to get a certain amount of engagement.
The freedom of not curating my life in a story.
The ability to make, and consume a cocktail without my sony or iphone near.

The true relief of just…not having to do it anymore.

My phone usage has decreased by nearly 60%. I am so much more present when I am home in the evening (the other day I didn’t even dig my phone out of my bag until near bed time, and I gasped to myself in sheer delight).

And, while I miss certain aspects of sharing my life with a community, I realize now that wasn’t what I was doing anymore. I was brand-building. Just trying to keep up with a never-ending sea of drinkstagrammers and lifestylers and world-travelrers and photographers.

There was a devastating lack of writers.

Who I really was, was being lost in the race of other, unimportant things. It was just all feeling unbearably heavy.

I never had a set time frame for when I would go back, or if I ever would. But I kind of thought when I started, that it was certainly temporary. The longer I go, the less I think that. What would getting back on Instagram even look like for me anymore? And, why am I even overthinking it? I am surely overthinking it.

It certainly doesn’t matter to anyone else if I ever post another photo of a cocktail, or in reality, anything else. And, I mean that in the most healthy way possible. Like, I am certain no one is sitting there scrolling Insta and thinking to themselves, “Man, I really wish that @RitualandCraft would get her ass in gear and start positing again.” Because, we all know everyone’s feed is being totally filled up with other things — more things than any one person can consume or even really digest in any real way.

It simply doesn’t matter.

But here is where it gets tricky for me. I am still doing things. I am making things and creating things and I am still here (goddammit). I’d love more people reading my work and giving me feedback and interacting with it, because I truly need that as I navigate this newish way of being in the world.

So, how in the actual fuck do I drive people to my writing if I am not an active participant on Instagram? No, really. I am actually asking.

I’m still over there on the tweet box, where there seems to be a whole host of writing communities to tap into, but it doesn’t feel as intimate––and I feel like an outsider (what else is new?). And let’s be real, no one wants anyone on FB pushing them to anything anymore. I even deleted my Ritual and Craft FB page because….WHY. No need for that.

I want people to read. To READ. Not to scroll by a photo so fast and decide in .03 seconds if they want to “like” it or not, with no context. It’s hard enough to get people who you know love you (hi, husband, have you ever read anything on this site?) to read your writing, let alone people who have no investment in who you are as a person at all.

But, that’s what you get, Chelsea. That’s what you get for loving to do a thing that requires people’s time and attention. Those pretty cocktail photos were just so much easier to double tap on, and then byeeeeeeee. Onto the next.

Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal recently tweeted:

This little sentence sums up the entirety of how I have been feeling the good part of a year. I never wanted to be a brand. I thought I HAD to be one. I have even given talks and workshops on HOW TO BUILD A BRAND. And, I still don’t want to be one.

I want to be (am) a writer. Got lost there for a bit.

—–But, you’re really writing a book of poems? Like, in 2018? Silly girl.—-

PS–the cocktail section of my book got the AX, 86’ed, removed, deleted.
So, in your fucking face, everyone. ❤

XO XO and a big ol’ cheers,
Chelsea

(A girl who still really likes cocktails, pretty ones even.
But at the end of the day, just wants to explode into a million little words).