It’s time to come clean about some things.
I’ll be the first to admit – my attendance here has been spotty. Sometimes, I show up and share content that I’m truly proud of – like this interview and photo story with artist Mia Carameros. I love that one. But the key word here is sometimes. Certainly not on the 3x weekly publishing schedule that I so faithfully followed for months (even on vacation!) when I first launched Block Print Social. Not even close.
For months now, I’ve been telling myself – and you – that I have SO many good reasons for this. And that’s not untrue. I did move from London to Austin, and it has taken my husband and I a few months to recalibrate and settle. I have been setting up a new home and I have started a new job in an altogether new industry.
There have been adjustments.
I have been busy.
But that’s not the whole truth.
For as many “good” reasons I have for spending less time here with you, I have just as many not-so-good ones. What I’ve been leaving out – from the story I’ve been telling you and the story I’ve been telling myself for all these months – is that I haven’t felt connected to this space that I created. I mean, I have sort of – but not really. It’s as if I fell out of alignment – with my enthusiasm for what I’m creating here; with the message I’d like to send out to you; and with the sense of discovery (of art, design, creators, and creative concepts) that I’d like to foster.
But how did this happen?
And how do I find my way back?
PART 1. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
I have a theory.
When I first launched Block Print Social, I had spent months – years! my whole life! – collecting an arsenal of inspiration. I read countless other blogs and publications, interviews with creative people doing awesome, creative things. I gazed at beautiful places and works of art, both on- and off-line, and I was buzzing from it all. There was so much that I liked and that I wanted to share! I should start my own blog!
The truth is none of that has changed, but here’s what did.
Drawing on all of that inspiration, I crafted my own little corner of the Internet where I could share my enthusiasm and connect with others who shared it. Hopefully. There was a lot of hope involved.
Then, people began showing up.
Actual readers (YOU).
And not just friends and family either.
Strangers from other countries.
And then one day I woke up to find that Instagram, where I had also been sharing my enthusiasm, had listed me as a suggested user. My follower count was growing. 2K…5K…10K… and up and up and…
But why me? My photos aren’t as good as So-and-So’s. My blog isn’t as popular as So-and-So’s. I bet So-and-So is rolling their eyes at this. Who are all these people? Where are they? Are they even real or are they just a bunch of spambots? Why didn’t they “like” this photo? Why aren’t they clicking through to my blog? Oh no – I’m losing followers. I was told this would happen – but this many?? How do I stop this? How do I make them come back? I knew I didn’t deserve this…
And THAT, friends, is how it happened.
Suddenly, my favorite blogs and Instagram accounts were no longer a source of inspiration; they were a source of competition. Why didn’t I think of that? I don’t have the money for that. It was all … noise. I was only as good as my follower count; only as good as my Google Analytics report said I was. Each follower was a follower I might lose! Each reader was someone that might judge my words – and thereby judge me!
It’s no wonder it became so hard to show up and share.
I became afraid of losing these people who had serendipitously come into my life (YOU) – a gift! – and this fear has been blocking me from the only thing I ever really wanted for myself and for this space – authentic, unadulterated, enthusiastic, let’s-all-hold-hands-and-sing-design-Kumbaya connection.
PART 2. HOW DO I FIND MY WAY BACK?
The truth is that I can’t. But I can find my way forward.
The first step was to recognize and admit to this false pretense I had created – this stupid, mixed-up (understandable, human) story I’d been telling myself. I’m only as good as the numbers say I am. (Hogwash.)
The next – to release this sudden, desperate need for outside validation of what I’m doing here.
And finally – to get still.
(That’s me. My hair’s cuter now.)
This is where my burgeoning meditation practice comes in. Lately, I’ve been trying to spend a little bit of time each day, simply breathing and getting still in my mind. I’m very new to this so I like to use guides, like the Headspace app or Gabrielle Bernstein’s guided meditations. During this time, I like to focus on feelings of gratitude for what I already have and offer up any questions or doubts that I’m struggling with. Simply offer them – and try to trust that by doing so, I’ll find the guidance I need. This may sound a little woo, but so far so good.
On a few occasions during these moments of stillness, I have found that concepts or words bubble up in my mind.
“BEAUTY THAT BARES THE SOUL”
for example. Or –
“PEOPLE CONNECTING THROUGH CONSIDERED CREATION & COLLECTION”
I’m still not exactly sure what these mean for Block Print Social or for whatever else comes next – but I know that they make me feel excited. That they’ve brought me back to this space – to a place of authentic, heart-led sharing and connection – and I’m committed to moving forward & finding out.
I really, really hope you’ll join me.
Photography by Chelsea Fullerton Jones for Block Print Social.