Log off to get your creativity back!
How 2 weeks without Twitter and (almost) Instagram changed the way I see my work and my creativity.
2 weeks ago I decided to delete Twitter from my smartphone. After a few stupid tweets from Elon Musk I thought it was enough and I had to leave the platform. Not agreeing with Musk’s vision of Twitter/Life/Work/World/Etc was a good excuse for doing what I should have done for a long time. But I never did it before because I was still looking for clients/projects and also I met so many good friends through it that I would probably miss the opportunity to do new ones.
But on the other hand, social medias have always been difficult for me to deal with. I talked about it on my podcast (in French) last week but social medias are for me like a huge supermarket where everybody speaks loud, with a lot of stimuli around, like light, colours, smells, noises, etc. Social medias are so noisy, and ask your brain to analyse so fast that when you are a bit sensitive, your adrenaline and heart rate can go up quickly. And I am not joking. This is a drug and I really think our brain is not made to analyse and assimilate so much info at once.
And for Instagram, it can go further because it is really visual. So you see these pictures, sometimes you like them, you bookmark them, you feel like it would be a good idea for a new work, you scroll, find other ideas, and quickly your brain has a kind of overload of inspiration. Since the Reels came out, it is even wilder!
The result for me to see all these artworks is also envy, jealousy, anxiety and lack of confidence. “These people are so good and I have no time to publish. My life sucks”.
So yes, leaving Twitter for 2 weeks because of Elon Musk was an excuse. But a good excuse. And the result is that I don’t want to go back. Let me explain in details.
Two weeks without Twitter
The 2 first days, I went back to see if someone would have mention me or DM me. No. No mention, no DM. I checked my timeline these 2 times and felt quickly anxious. I felt like my brain had to put itself in “analyse” mode again. I did quit the platform right away. It can be strange but the less I was on Twitter the more I felt anxious going back there.
But I was missing something. I was used to wake up, have my coffee and check my timeline. On Twitter and Instagram. So now I was having my coffee, taking my iPhone in my hands, turn in on, and no Twitter anymore. I check Instagram then! But that stress I realized on Twitter, I have it on Instagram too, even if way better. I then closed Instagram too. Man, and now you wonder why you tend to get upset every morning after your coffee? Are you sure this is caffeine or maybe it could be your screen? Huh?
I stopped doing that every morning since. And I feel way better. I actually stopped checking Twitter here and there, and did the same with Instagram at the end. And gosh… I feel so much better! I mean this is a totally different story. I feel relaxed and more focused. Me. With my ADHD. What if stopping being on social medias would fix my ADHD or part of it? What part of it is actually due to social medias anxiety?
The proof is that since I quit Twitter I stopped spending too much time procrastinating on my phone, I work more, my focus is better. Even only 2 weeks after I deleted Twitter. My sleep is better, anxiety too and, as says the title of that post, my creativity too.
Get your creativity back!
We always say that the internet is fantastic for inspiration and creativity. I think this is true but it depends on how you use it. And I totally think Instagram, for example, can be a source of good inspiration, but for most of us it is not at the end. I talked about envy, jealousy, anxiety, pressure, lack of confidence. And at the end, I think this is more important than inspiration for many of us at the end. At least, it is for me. Because, the last two weeks, I was more creative, and I felt disconnected of that pressure that tells me how good my work has to be so I can show it on Instagram! During these two weeks, I was lost in my books, but also on Internet, like FlickR and Pinterest, looking at old works from the 50/60s. And that kind of inspiration, totally no related to someone (a colleague on Instagram for example), independent to likes, followers, fame and more, was just “formal/objective” info to me. Just a visual. And I find it is a better relationship with how I get inspired.
I have created 4/5 lettering works, I have made a stencil artwork for an exhibition, I spent time at my atelier fixing our Riso printer. I got new ideas for fonts and lettering. And I really think all of this happened because my brain was free, not overloaded with infos. No stress, no anxiety, no fear of failing. Just the joy of trying without the pressure that it has to be good enough to be posted online.
Today, I don’t see going back in that nightmare. I can already see how my mental health improves. And only with 2 weeks off. That is really surprising to me.
But I will still use some of these platforms. How?
Post, quit & write more!
I don’t plan going on Twitter. FOMO lasted a few days and then I realized I felt much much better without it. So no more Twitter. I keep contact with some of my friend through Mastodon. I just follow 15 people and I don’t plan to use it much.
I will stay on Instagram, but just for posting. Stories and posts. Again I don’t check my timeline anymore and my brain feels a lot more quiet without it. But yes, I will post there, will share stuff on stories but that’s it. From now I will focus solely on that newsletter/publication. And I am really happy I did focus on it since last November because it also helped me to realize social medias engagement was dead and that investing time in being here with you was more fun (I love writing/sharing, my mental health thanks me every time I do it) and more productive.
We will see how it goes in the coming weeks. I don’t know if it will be always easy to stay away from all that noise, because it is always around. Actually, I try to reduce that noise around messaging apps too.
Now I know I am not alone struggling with social medias and I would like to share more articles, books around that subject. I will do it here but I don’t want it to occupy the whole space, I might try to spread it across different posts so it does not annoy too many people :P
But today I wanted to share with you what happened the last weeks and how I feel. And I think it is important to share that story because again, I know some of you feel the same and sometimes don’t know how to deal with it. So please, leave a comment, send me a message and I will be happy to talk with you about it. I also thought about just having a Q&A session using the comments section here on my post but feel right now too afraid that would be a flop haha :D But I might do something soon around “Mental health for creatives” so we can share our experiences around that subject and especially social medias.
Time for inspiration and reading!
Ok, enough of text for today. Here are some shots of what I did the last 2 weeks actually. I did some mockups for my fonts, cleaned the Riso printer to use fluo orange colour, did a print for the Enez Fest in Brittany, finished a new font and helped a former client finish his font.
Check out that work I did using ink for stamps and a stencil. The map at the back is the Paris region. I love working that (analog) way and I plan to do it more and more.
I also made some mockups for an upcoming campaign of 30 days. Here are 2 of them.
By the way, photos are mine :)
I also finished Brutto, the brother font of Scusi. Should be out within 2/3 weeks. Paid subscribers will get the beta version next tuesday and a personal licence the week after.
If you are interested, don’t hesitate to join, this is part of many benefits you get when you join for less than $4 a month (if you pay annually). Here is the link just in case :)
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Let’s finish with a great Sign Painting magazine, BLAG!
BLAG, or Better Letters Magazine, is a great magazine for everything Sign Painting. I had the chance to receive the first issue and it is really really good and totally dedicated to the craft. I think that is what I like the most about it. It is all about painting, nice letters and good stories. This is seriously the best mag for me about letters. And it is a nice object too: nice size, great paper and easy to read/follow.
Sam Roberts, who manages the Better Letters Magazine was nice to give me a special link for you guys with a 25% discount. So if you plan to subscribe to the magazine, which you should do for sure, please follow that link:
That’s it for today and that is already a lot! Enjoy the end of the week and maybe take some time off for a walk and rethink your relationship with social medias. Let’s see what happens!