I’ve been thinking lately about how online business and social media seems to be growing ever faster.
Where one piece of content a week used to be great, now it’s 10+ a day.
And I don’t know how I feel about that.
Well, I do know how I feel.
I feel bewildered and overwhelmed and like I don’t want to create anything at all.
Because if I create, I want it to be honest. And heartfelt. And filled with soul.
I want it to do good in the world, not just good enough.
I want it to have MEANING, not just be air space to fill up a quota.
I read something yesterday which stuck with me.
I’m a Patreon of Humans of New York, and he wrote in an update called Space to Create:
“Content has become more bite-sized, more consumable, and less nuanced. In a world of decreasing attention spans, brevity is seen as the only way to compete. Importance is placed on the quantity of output rather than quality. Many ‘social media gurus’ teach that success is frequency of contact. Publish or perish. Either you constantly remind the world that you exist, or you will be forgotten.
I’ve spoken with a lot of artists on the Internet who feel burned out by this dynamic. They feel stifled by the treadmill of daily content. It can be impossible to reconcile the demands of social media with the demands of art.
Social media tells you to go quickly. Art tells you to go deep. Social media tells you to replicate what works. Art tells you to experiment. Social media tells you to always be visible. Art tells you to disappear, figure something out, and come back with a discovery worth sharing.
It’s not an easy puzzle for artists to solve.”
This morning I woke up at the butt crack of dawn in my daughter’s bed after a night of musical beds.
It was stifling hot already. I was tired, and I grabbed my phone to have some “me time” in bed.
My daughter came in for a cuddle. I’ve noticed lately I’ve been spending more time on the phone. It has not made me happier, more content or a better mother. So I put the phone down, and I leaned into her, and I leaned into the moment.
And then the dog appeared, wanting breakfast. I fed her, and noticed how much my body wanted to be outside. So I just sat on the verandah, watching ants on the wood, letting the salty, humid air wash over me. My daughter came to sit on my lap, and we watched the ants together. She noticed she had my full attention, and spent long moments telling me everything on her mind.
There’s nowhere else I need to be. Just right here, right now. Here is where life is.
And those few moments filled my heart more than hours on a fucking phone.
I want to create. Deeply and truly.
I want to do it on my own terms.
I want it to be good. Not the equivalent of fast food creativity. I want it to be slow and luxurious, like sex on a Sunday afternoon. Decadent.
And fuck me, I want it to be honest. Searing and human and bountiful.
Quality not quantity.
I just want to share with you the honest and the true.
The moment with the ants. The HONY words.
Other things: this song. This workshop.
The acts of creation that birth awareness, that startle you with their presence.
That’s what I want to see. That’s what I want to be.
I took the photo of the wood this afternoon.
The ants were gone, but that moment remained.
I can’t remember what I looked at on my phone last.
It took hours but it gave me nothing.
I want to create something good with this life of my own.
I don’t know what that looks like yet.
I’ll keep exploring. I’ll keep sharing.
I’ve been ensconced in the creative cave over the last six weeks… writing and illustrating new sections for the 2020 workbooks.
And I keep wanting to write to you all, but brain is currently going:
BREEEP BOOOOP WEEEEEB.
It’s not in writing shape at the moment.
It mostly just wants to lay down and have a look at a wall.
And part of me wants to fret and freak out that I’ve lost the creative spark.
And then the rational, gentle part of me gently reminds the other parts of me:
Mate, you just did six intense weeks of rewriting the workbooks. You can calm down, oh ye of little faith!
Do you ever experience that?
When you’re tired, or exhausted, or out of steam, or out of inspiration…
begin panicking about that and wondering if it will ever be different…
and then realising:
Oh, there’s actually a really valid reason you’re feeling that way. And it’s not always going to be that way. Right now, the best thing might be just to look at a wall, refill that cup.
The 2019 workbooks are already released, and doing beautifully.
And I really need to start actually promoting them and getting them into the world.
But I’ve been swamped with thinking about the 2020 rewrite, and I find it hard to balance two priorities at the same time. I like to do deep dives into things.
Anyways, I’m really happy with how these workbooks have turned out. And it’s a joy to have them at a publishing house. Go buy them, PLEASE!! That way the publishers will take on more of my books… including the Shining Year diary/planners!
I say it every year, but I don’t know how I’d pull off this yearly workbook project without Mr Dawsy.
HOT AF AND HANDY TO BOOT!
It’s been 5 months since we moved (!)
It feels like a lifetime and last week. It’s still a joy to be here.
The tropical beach life is something I don’t think I can ever part with again. The greens and the blues just make my eyes light up.
We will probably end up buying an acreage here soon enough… still in this area, just with some more land around us. We love acreage living too much to give the dream up!
My kids are happy, delicious souls.
It’s been 18 months since we started homeschooling, and it’s been chock full of beautiful moments. I am so glad we took the leap!
AND I am also totally happy if we decide to do a return to school as well. I don’t want to prescribe to a cult of thought that there is only one right way to do anything.
It’s been a funny thing – I’ve shared so much about my kids online in the early years. But over the last couple of years, I’ve really felt the need to shift and be much more private.
I remember Dooce wrote a blog post yearrrrrrrs ago about this feeling. She talked about how openly she wanted to talk in the early years of parenting, because we’re basically just talking about universal baby and toddler features of tantrums and poop that everyone goes through. But as her eldest daughter grew up, and developed her own personality quirks, Heather didn’t feel like she could share about her as openly without impinging on her daughter’s privacy.
It’s stuck in my head, and has been the same for me. My kids are 4 and 8 now. It’s less about developmental stages and more about individuality now. And they get to keep that and share that with the ones they love.
Just because their Mama signed up to be a somewhat public figure, doesn’t mean they did.
I’d like to clarify by saying: If you have a different view of sharing your kids online, that’s rad. I’m tired enough by parenting to worry about how anybody else wants to parent. Ha!
How do I feel about closing down my Academy?
Groovy! Gentle and luxurious.
I’m still producing courses and doing coaching calls for it right up until September next year.
But it feels good to have created the space for something new to come through.
I read this piece by Cheryl Strayed in the latest Dumbo Feather magazine and it totally resonated.
She talks about her decision to close down the Dear Sugars podcast even though it was so popular so she could create new things. It’s why I closed my Academy down… saying goodbye to a good love. It was a hard decision to make because it was so good… but as a creator I needed to make space for what was next. Even though I’m not sure what that is next.
Things I’ve been reading/watching:
That’s about all my bleep blooping brain has in it.
Once I’ve got these books off to the publishers next week I should have some more brain space for more regular love letters and the like!
In the meantime… I’m sending you all so much love and gladness!