Thoughts on Social Media and the Writer’s Journey on a Pie and Beer Wednesday.

Okay, so it’s one of those hot July evenings and I just heard a few late night fireworks going off. Oh Utah… you are so weird. One fourth of July celebration is just not enough. It’s like a Hobbit’s first breakfast and second breakfast  Only, it’s first 4th of July and second 4th of July. I’d say that is one of the oddities of my State. Outside of Utah, the 24th of July is just another day.  (It’s Pioneer Day for those who are not familiar).

I hate to admit this, but there was a time I was so caught in my Utah bubble that I once thought that it was only logical to believe that everyone celebrated Pioneer Day. In actuality, it’s like a mad-hatters holiday. I could go on and on with some of the other oddities of my State but won’t. I think there’s a South Park episode that just about covers it. Some Utahns have changed Pioneer day to “Pie and Beer” day. My husband has been completely on board with this. He himself had a brewski and surprised us with strawberry pie.

cherry pie with stars on top
Photo by Hugo Filipe on Pexels.com

My children have made it back from Missouri and I too think that they were experiencing the culture shock of being outside of Utah. They went to a baptist church with their father and were introduced as “those kids from Utah,” My son said the person introducing them muttered, “you know…God’s country.” He also said, “Mom, do you know that in Missouri they sell liquor on the shelves at the gas station and in the grocery store?” 

“Yes son, I know.”

My daughter took a few pictures from Missouri and it was so cute to see what she found to be so astounding through her eyes. These tiny little 🍄 mushrooms for instance.

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My daughter mentioned that she could breathe better here. She felt as if the humidity was giving her a choking sensation. I, for, one I am grateful for the fact that Utah has limited humidity. We have been at 100 degrees and I can’t imagine pairing that with seventy percent humidity.  It’s a toss up really . Sauna or oven? I’ll take my chances with the dry heat and put my oven mitts on before touching the steering wheel of my car.

It appears my children got out of St. Louis just in the nick of time. So, what did I do with that time while I had no children and I had the opportunity to just work on me for awhile? Well…I went to Bears Ears which I blogged about, but really for me it was all about the cleanse. There are also a few things I discovered about myself that kind of surprised me.

Number One- I’m not very good at just doing me for awhile. Okay, I had a relapse and spent a few days tearing apart my daughter’s room and repainting  it a nice dusty lilac color. I just could not stop myself from being in mom mode and I took on this huge project so I was still doing something for my child because it felt unnatural to not be doing something for someone else.

Number Two-when I cleaned the house it stayed that way. So it was the perfect time for a cleanse.

I went through my kitchen pantry and cupboards. I donated some old plastic containers and pans. I don’t even want to mention how many refillable coffee mugs and water bottles I had. I shuttered when I thought about how many of them were promotional freebies that should have never made it into the house, or how much of my plastic ware had lost their lids.

I mourned the Tupperware  days where everything was guaranteed for life. I decided I should start saying no to promotional freebies and start rethinking food storage container options that were far more sustainable and built to last. I am fond of my thrift-store Tupperware and other second-hand vintage finds in yellow:)

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Am I the only one who gets anxiety when I go into a store and see all the useless junk  that is stocked on the shelves? I have a few thoughts 1). Who really buys all this crap? 2). Where is all this crap going to end up? 3). There is more “stuff” being made where all that “stuff” came from, and 4). I too am guilty of buying useless crap.

My zero waste entrepreneur friend hit the nail on the head when she jokingly posted something along the lines of “Just a reminder for anyone who needs it: you really don’t need to buy that additional stuff at Target today,” and of course this can apply to any useless stuff that may be purchased anywhere. I feel far less guilty when I buy plants, a tree, or anything I can cultivate really that I can eat or that will attract bees.

Another thing I did while I was on my own was listen to a few podcasts. Where have these been all my life? Yes, I have been living in a bubble. So much better than scrolling through social media to pass time or listening to the news. Oh boy! Robert Mueller’s testimony before congress today…was that ever exhausting!

I also went through a bunch of mostly useless paperwork I did not want to deal with from my former life and filed it away. These used to lie underneath my bed in plastic bins. No wonder I could not sleep at night. Who can sleep with a past history of shut off notices, threatening letters for collection on medical bills, old protective orders and divorce papers lying under their bed?

No wonder I threw this stuff into bins haphazardly and just shut the lid. Much of it was not even applicable anymore but so much of it gave me years of anxiety. Why was I hoarding this stuff? I’ll tell you why, because going through it all was a reminder that my life was once a complete sh*t show that I could barely manage. Oddly enough, I had to pray for strength to go through it all and I’d been putting it off forever.

I had a few tender mercies when I would run across old drawings, cards, or letters from my children saying that they loved me. I was loved during that time, and there was peace in that. I kept those mementos. I will hoard them forever. Now, some of the other troublesome material are junked or in a filing cabinet in the basement far, far, from my sleeping quarters. I recommend this to anyone. If you have anything that is stressing you out, keep it away from the area where you intend to slumber.

I’ve also cleaned out my wallet and my emails. I decided to make a conscientious effort to purge myself of things that did not serve me. Spammy stuff, or Instagram accounts, friends, or people I was following that for some reason were not overly edifying, or just having them in my cluster gave me a sense of anxiety. Much of it was my own problem.

I did not want to follow anything that made me feel as if it were another distraction I did not need, or something that set unrealistic expectations in my mind, or made me feel as if my life wasn’t up to par. I did not need another reason to be hard on myself. I can be happy for others in their successes, but right now, I am really going through a self-deprecating phase. I wanted to take it down to those I really felt I had a connection with as “my tribe” and I wanted those relationships to be genuine and reciprocating for the sake of a real human connection and not as a means to advance any type of superficial agenda.

I had been feeling pressures since I obtained my bachelor’s degree to jump up my social media game and Instagram has been an interesting experiment that I have been toying with. Right? It’s all about the individual aesthetic and the “branding” and this is what I have learned:

I need to scroll through accounts with intention. Not allow scrolling to be such a phenomenal time waster. I may have also mentioned that I feel as if the platform seems impartial to women my age. Where are all the women my age? I learned in school that most of the PR for authors these days has to come from writers themselves and that nobody will even consider publishing writers no matter how great if they don’t even have some kind of following that they can prove in a marketing plan.

I am reminded so much of a 1980s song called “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Is social media killing potential writers out there? Hmm…I wonder. I have read that older seasoned authors have the writing edge due to life experience. There are exceptions. Take Mary Shelley for example, who authored a book at seventeen years old. However, it seems social media platforms favor youthful vitality. It is kind of a Catch-22. (Which is a book I am reading right now and loving the writing BTW).

I wonder about some of the literary greats I have read in the past, and where they would be today if they had to play the social media game to make their mark? What would they have had to say on Twitter? Would they have made it if they flopped with the branding? What would their Linked In accounts look like or their blog pages? Would they cut it?

It almost seems the best way to get a book deal is to be famous or renown in some circles for something. I have seen some famous people whose books made it heavy into the market but writing was not necessarily their strong suit, and the material did not seem all that original.

It makes me wonder how many undiscovered great reads there are out there. In these podcasts I have been listening to I have been hearing “What is your product?” Or “What makes your product so unique from everything else?” I have also read that one must take that “weird” thing about themselves and not hide it under a bushel. One should pitch that.

My friends, I do not have all the answers. This is merely my writer’s journey. I know my blog could use some honing in and fine tuning, so I appreciate any readers who have been reading my blog as is. God bless you. A few weeks ago I defined my identity as vulnerable. This week I am flying with “as is.” I will make a few mentions about what is repellant for me on other blogs and social media and this is just me. Keep in mind, I might be kind of an odd duck.

Insta Pet Peeve- Wasteful staged styling. Stop with the Balloon styling already and I am so over seeing single use cups full of Bouygues coffee. Balloons blow.

I get incredibly uncomfortable when someone does a live video chat of themselves with no idea of what they are going to say. I like the spontaneity of it but watching another person struggle through a spill just makes both parties uncomfortable.

I get tired of monotonous stories of things that are not all that exciting. If something is going to occupy my time I want it to be visually stimulating or worth my time. For those mom instagrammers: Yay! Another video of a kid going down the slide 👍and I certainly don’t want to hear the details of your baby’s diaper incident or see images of anybody’s gash wound in the emergency room. If I would not want to be a part of it in real life I don’t want the details.

I am seeing a lot of repititious things. Flowers in front of a face, or how someone’s fig plant is doing. Some of these washed out aesthetics are getting monotonous. I like instagrammers who switch it up. I do like fig plants but get tired of everyone doing the same themes on trend. I also don’t care how great your content is, if you are posting too much I lose interest.

I do like posts that come with playlists, especially when the music is good, poignant, and so on point. One of my favorite instagrammers does this. I can’t keep up with follow trains. Who has that kind of time? I lose interest when I see others obsessing about their following or when they get too spammy with in your face products. I get annoyed when someone likes the first three photos on my grid, or they are obviously a bot. It is obvious they have not taken the time to really contemplate my photos and they are just reaching a quota.

I like interchanges that are genuine. I don’t make it a point to like or comment on a post unless I really feel compelled to do so. This may kill me in the long run but so be it. I can also sense when someone is “liking” or commenting on something of mine when they are really not feeling it. I also try not to obsess over algorithms. Those that do, are almost killing the platform or the art of communicating that can’t be squared into any equation. This pay to play business is killing art.

Anyway, my interests on social media can change. I may rave about an account I like today and it can change tomorrow. Currently I am liking an account by a woman whose family is traveling through Finland. The biking shots, suspension bridges over rivers, and pictures of reindeer in motion are inspiring. I am really liking the styling of an account I am following called The Librarian Witch.

One of my favorite accounts that has been a great resource and wealth of information for me has been 1 Million Women. They provide so many ways to be eco-conscious as an individual, a consumer, and a woman. I reccomend them.

One last tidbit. I can’t do ultra busy insta stories with a ton of words where the slides move faster than I can read them. If there are a ton of slides make it worth my while. I find so many Insta stories to be phenomenal time wasters.

Anyway I have said my piece. I have done my cleanse, and really we are living in a time where we need to cleanse our media just as much as we do the clutter in our own closets. What may not work for me could work for others, and these are just my thoughts on a pie and beer Wednesday. Until next post!

Rachelle Whiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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