Why Instagram is My Most Important Tool
I love art supplies. I can spend hours in a store looking at all the colors of oil paint lined up on the shelves, or rifling through different weights of watercolor paper on the racks. I have mason jars full of brushes, stacks of printed fabrics, and probably ten different kinds of scissors. I have a little easel to set up in my studio, and the coolest gold vintage sewing machine. All of these resources allow me to create new work, but by far the most important tool for my art this year has been Instagram. It has been a huge motivator of my work, all because I started using the app everyday.
For years, I have wanted to post daily on Instagram. It has been a goal that I’ve struggled with, because after about a week of consecutive posting, I would always lose motivation and quit for a while. I wanted my account to be a place for me to share my art, but preparing the content I wanted in my feed felt so time consuming. It was hard to stay motivated to work on something as trivial as social media when I had other priorities to focus on, like work and school.
So when I challenged myself this past January to post daily, I was resolved to actually stick with it. At the beginning, coming up with content was easy because I had a painting exhibition going on at the time that I could post about. But a month or so in, after the show was over and I was running out out of relevant pictures, things got a lot more difficult. If I wasn’t working on a project, there wouldn’t be anything new for me to post. There were plenty of days that I didn’t feel like making anything after working all day and having to take care of other priorities. Skipping a day of posting was reallytempting on evenings like those, but I would manage to power though because I knew skipping would lead to quitting again.
One weekend, I was visiting my parents and didn’t have any posts planned for those couple days away. I was complaining because I didn’t want to break my streak, but also didn’t want to have to ‘do work’ while enjoying time with family. I told my mom that I felt like I was making art just to post on Instagram, and not because I was excited to do so. It seemed insincere, like I was creating work for the wrong reasons. She told me I was thinking about it backwards- that even when I didn’t feel motivated, posting on Instagram was keeping me actively making art. My streak motivated me to sit down everyday and get the ball rolling on whatever project I was working on. And usually once I got started, I was just as happy to continue working for hours. That conversation put things into perspective, because my goal is to create art consistently. To be an artist everyday, not just when it’s convenient or when I feel like creating. Needless to say, I changed my tune that day and made something to upload to Instagram.
And the result of making art everyday? I’ve gone through stacks of stretched canvases, blocks of watercolor paper, and yards of fabric. I have piles of floral illustrations that gave me the inspiration and content I needed to launch my Society6 shop. I’ve done commissions for paintings and custom handmade bags. I’ve connected with so many other amazing creators. I’ve learned so much about making, painting, sewing, and being an artist, all because I realized the importance of staying consistent.
So find what keeps you motivated, friends. Figure out what your most important tool is for putting your ideas into action and staying serious about your dreams. If it takes something as silly as an Instagram streak to keep you on track to achieving your goals, I say it’s more than worth it. You just might accomplish more than you ever imagined.
P.S. Balance is key to everything-One of the most refreshing things I did this summer was take an Instagram break while I was away on vacation. That week was still full of creating and brainstorming new ideas, but also focused on rest. If you’re always running and never stop to catch your breath, you’ll be worn out in no time. Just wanted to throw that reminder in there too. 🙂