I’ve been blogging since 2014 and have enjoyed the process and hope to continue. I relish the opportunity it gives to be creative with photography as well as looking back on posts and remembering what I did in the last few years.
I have also appreciate connecting with other ordinary folk like me from all over the world; seeing small glimpses of their lives or sharing philosophy of life the universe and everything else in between.
It is delightful, finding posts from people writing blogs – who don’t have thousands of followers. I like that everyone can have a voice and a relatively clean space to in which to express themselves, that has just as much gravitas as big companies or media moguls. It is very tempting at the beginning when you write constantly but get little or no feedback, but I am glad I resisted the pressure to follow 10 steps to get 1000 followers or other such nonsense created by marketeers.
Unlike Facebook -here on WordPress, I am not bombarded with advertising or false news, and most blogs don’t have flashing adverts and links – that mean I am struggling to find the content among all the other distractions and images.
My generation was the one that saw the invention of the internet and home computing and embraced it, but, like all inventions there are good and bad aspects – it is all about being mindful of what I am doing.
I was challenged recently about my lack of creativity and voiced the same trite defence – I don’t have enough time. It sounded a poor excuse even to my own ears – and it made me decide to sit back and evaluate just how I was spending my time.
It was quite illuminating – what surprised me most is that whenever there was a quiet moment – I would reach for the computer and browse Pinterest. In fact Pinterest was my go to website whenever I had five minutes – it became my reward. But when I added it all up, it amounted to two hours of my day – simply frittered away. Not only that I found that it actually reduced my creativity because I felt pulled from one idea to the next – hopping from green living, gardening, minimalism, sewing, couture… the list goes on. It was responsible for small obsessions and spending that I might not have done. (two months of making inedible bread for example). I felt mentally exhausted by it all.
I went on an internet diet – reducing my time on line down to an hour a day! which in turn- freed up all those spare moments of time. Surprisingly once I had broken the addiction -I began to feel less scattered in my thinking. I also tried to do a little bit of mindfulness – for the odd five minutes. I noticed the feel of bubbles as I washed up, or people watching in the queue of the supermarket, or the taste of my first cup of tea in the morning.
When I think back to my days of being a teenager my head was always full of noticing small details to re-create in my writing – I would people watch for hours making up stories. But that was all before the internet.
Up to now, minimalism has been an interest among many, that I follow on Pinterest, but not something I have been actively engaged in. Although my minimalism board is full of beautiful homes – organised and free of clutter – I seem to be stuck in my ‘research’ phase. I had not considered, up to now, how vital it was to my wellbeing to create ‘headspace’
You would think it would be relatively easy to create this but simple is not that simple.
Ask yourself, (as I did) when did you last see an ordinary person’s slightly blurry, photograph of their craft on Pinterest? Where are all the individuals like me that create not so pristine if slightly wonky – creations? I also notice that Pinterest seems to have much more advertising which is now not just stationary but moving and flashing. It’s distracting and designed to be. All our time on line is designed to get us to Buy buy buy… there is no way round it. Even facebook now, shows products you might be interested in… that I am beginning to have trouble tuning out.
It is so much harder to move away from the crowd, only because it is now so insidious in our society. Selling and advertising used to be limited to newspapers and magazines, but now its bus stops, petrol stations – shop windows and especially TV. It used to be that you could switch off the sound of the advertising – but now we have product placement in nearly every film or television series.
So the only option is to set my own boundaries and most surprisingly of all, keep protecting my ‘white space’.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a use for Pinterest, facebook and other sites in my life – I just need to place my own boundaries about how I use them so that I am Master of my own fate.
So thank you, WordPress, for this gloriously pristine space, long may it continue.