I know, I know. Only a few posts ago I was announcing my love for, and return to, the blogging world. However, it turns out I’m actually quitting. At least for a bit. I love it, I really do but I just can’t find any meaningful gravity in it right now; my blogging journey has turned into a fight against an addiction to instant gratification and I’ve decided I’m not here for that anymore. Allow me to explain.
I can’t just create to create. Writing for the sake of having posts go live every week isn’t working for me right now. It feels somehow empty and draining. Like repetitively serving coffees as a barista. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore creating, particularly through writing. But each metaphorical coffee I make seems to take away a little more of my purpose as I hand it over the metaphorical counter (the internet). I’ll put it this way: I still feel compelled to make pretty latte art for others but when I get home from work, I’d rather go to bed than make a coffee for myself. Paradoxically, although a hugely creative hobby, blogging seems to be hindering my creative process in general.
I want to pay attention, not crave it. I saw a Ted Talk the other day which spoke about the difference between dedicating time and energy to creation and creating in order to satiate a need for other people’s time and energy. This really hit me and actually aligned with a lot of the feelings I’ve been battling with for a while surrounding blogging. The beauty of blogging is that your passion for a topic can coexist with the production of content for an avid audience: writing about mental health, travel, university and life in general and receiving lots of positive feedback for this has been such a fulfilling experience. For that, I am proud.
However, when I get dragged into that all-consuming drive for validation that comes with blogging, my creativity can falter. I start producing content that will get more views. I start putting more time into promoting my work instead of writing it. As with all social media, it is so easy to fall into the mindset of creating for others, without even realising your creativity muscle isn’t being stretched. It becomes about churning out paragraphs for easy clicks rather than crafting words through pushing limits.
Going into my second year of university, I am realising I have a finite amount of time available. Between academic work, my job and trying to live a healthy lifestyle, there is limited time leftover for nurturing other passions. If this time is consumed by blogging, my creativity is used up in the search for social acceptance. But there is so much more I want to achieve right now and chasing an antidote for my need for hundreds to pay my words attention is killing my drive to do well in realms outside of the insidious reach of instant gratification. Personal writing projects, drawing, educating myself through podcasts and reading… all of these activities lose meaning and attractiveness, paling in comparison to the addictive, constant validation that blogging gives me.
So I think I need to lose that aspect of my life for a little bit in order to protect the hobbies that don’t gain me attention from others. Because in a world where instant gratification is the common currency, it is hard to keep creating, and growing as a person, without this ‘income’. The saying goes: if no one is watching, a tree doesn’t make a sound when it falls, right? How am I supposed to write if no one is reading? Take photos if no one ‘likes’ them? Continue reading if it doesn’t hold value as something I can gain approval from others through? Well that’s the scary journey I want to embark on now. I’m going to get the tree to make a thunderous noise even if no one else is in the forest – because what about me? I am in the forest; I want that to be enough. Creating for others has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone, but now that feels very comfortable. Creating for myself is actually the thing that scares me. That’s how I know I need to try it.
Is this it then, the end of Alys Journals? The short answer: no. I may continue to post my monthly reflections, because this helps me process my life and I am aware that some people find it helpful to read this sort of writing to be able to engage with their own reflective journey. I may even post other random things from time to time if the urge takes me.
What am I actually quitting then? The short answer: the social side of it all. It’s terrifying to write that as I know it sounds selfish. Perhaps it is. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, I will lose readership. Yes, I am not going to be an active part of a wonderful community. But this is something I need to do for myself. I hope one day I will be fully involved once again, reading everyone’s wonderful content and sharing my own to continue growing a platform. But for now, this blogging space is turning into an online diary. A place that holds no promises and no obligations. If you want to keep reading, feel free. It’s lovely to see familiar, and new, faces around here and I appreciate every comment immensely. Just please don’t expect anything back for now.
To all the people I’ve interacted with along my almost-two-year blogging journey, thank you. Your comments and support have pushed me to be more. More me. More creative. More ambitious. I have accomplished several big goals due to this blog. I have grown as a person because of it. And I couldn’t have done any of that without you all.
To everyone reading this, don’t be scared to do what you need to do in order to reach your goals, embrace yourself and improve your mental health. If you were looking for a sign to make that sort of change, search no further. Look beyond instant gratification. Focus on what is important to you. Challenge yourself, your motives, your energy sources and drains. Do things for you. We’ve got this.
See you again sometime xxx
If you want to stay in contact or you’re just curious what I’m up to, you can always find me over on Instagram (@alysjournals) where I’m still hooked into the instant gratification circle…