When I think about how Social Media has helped me grow and strengthen as an artist and entrepreneur I get all warm and fuzzy inside and inspired to connect and share more.
I remember when I first got my iPhone I was still working a day job and doing my art business on the side. Having an iPhone allowed me to manage my emails and orders during downtime while I was at work, not to mention share pictures of myself, my art and my surroundings via Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. At that moment in my life, investing in an iPhone was huge. Having a full-time job during the day and my art business during the early morning, at night when I got home or whenever I could squeeze in time allowed me to quit my day job and grow my business faster and stronger.
Today, I rarely need my iPhone and use my computer to connect on Social Media and to manage my almost-completely-internet-based business. Social Media, especially Pinterest and Instagram, and my blog are the biggest sources for new clientele and connections with other creatives. I'm always astonished when I ask each of my clients how they discovered me and they respond with either Pinterest, Instagram or my blog. There is no doubt that Social Media has helped me grow my business and be the entrepreneur that I am today.
Then, I think about how Social Media has disconnected me from moments in my life that I will never get back I get sad that I allowed it to ever be a part of those special moments. Moments when I wake in bed and waste nearly an hour on the internet while my husband lies next to me (3 or 4 days ago I stopped doing this and I feel much better waking without those distractions). Or when I've received a notification on my phone and checked while in mid conversation with a friend (since then, I never have my ringer on and have turned off all notifications on my phone). Or even when I am on a hike and take a picture and pause while I;m in mid-hike to Instagram it. What am I doing?! Oh, I know - I am wasting my life away on Social Media.
Tomorrow my husband and I leave for an almost 2 week trip back home to visit my family and friends and to support his new Album Release. Typically, when I would visit home I'd bring my computer and plan to work and blog a little here and there in order to stay connected and to keep a steady momentum with my current and potential clients. But in the past, I've missed out on moments I'll never be able to relive because I decided to work or check my email while with loved ones.
In reality, and if internet did not exist tomorrow, what matters most to me is being with my family and friends completely and consciously. I believe in order to do that, I must disconnect from the internet.
So, I've decided to challenge myself to a 9 day vacation free of Social Media, emails and even blogging. That's right, I will not be blogging for 9 days. My challenge will begin on Friday 11/8/13 and will end on Sunday 11/17/13 (I do not rerun back to work until 11/20/13 so you may not hear from me until then, but who knows, I might dive onto my blog the moment my challenge is over on our drive back home to Nashville).
I'm not going to lie, when I first thought about this challenge, I was scared that if I took so many days off from blogging, Social Media and emails you and everyone else would forget about me. Like I would all of sudden cease to exist - as if there is some sort of internet sweeper that comes through and wipes away any clue that I ever existed. Ok, maybe that last one I'm exaggerating a little but you get the point.
I realized this fear was controlling precious moments of my life. And when I realize I have a fear, I naturally challenge myself to overcome it. I am not saying this is going to be easy or fun. And you never know, I might fold. But as of today, I feel strong that I can do this and that you'll be here when I return.
So, how about you: Have you ever challenged yourself to disconnect? How did it go? So you have any daily tips you can recommend to me or the readers here that have helped you use Social Media mindfully?
This picture was taken when I had my nice Ruby stay with us for 3 days over the summer. We painted, swam, ate pizza and ice cream and watched movies. It was amazing and I wish I took all 3 days off to spend with her completely and consciously. Those are moments I'll never get back, but I definitely plan to make up for it on our vacation.
<<< UPDATE >>> I can't believe I forgot to mention this but one of the very big reasons why I am doing this challenge it to make more space for creating. I am planning on packing my pencils, paints, brushes, ink, paper and tools so I can paint and create the entire I am disconnected. I can't wait to share with you what I come up with.