Social media – release or embrace?!

Much has been written on the ills and/or necessity of social media in this internet age.

Depending on who you read, social media can be a contributor to social dislocation or an essential part of your personal brand. Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle (as it usually does).

Social media is, in my view, neither the devil incarnate nor the answer to your everything. It is a tool which can support, and even enhance, our lives, but it also contains hazards. Not just the obvious noisy trolls, but quieter dangers like discontent, jealousy and time-wasting.

I don’t worry so much about avoiding trolls: they will trample wherever they will, and there ain’t much anyone can do about that except wait for them to move on.

I have found a way to managing the quieter dangers. It is simple, but effective:

consciously choose what goes into your feeds

I’m a Tweep, a Facebooker and a Pinner. All these media have feeds.

Over recent weeks, I’ve been making conscious decisions about what I do and don’t want in my feeds, and who I want to hear from: I’ve cleaned out my Twitter follows and started work on my Facebook newsfeed. Pinterest is yet to come.

More important to me than clearing out is choosing what to embrace in my feeds. I want to be encouraged and inspired, so I can spread that joy wider.

Interestingly, I’ve found that I enjoy Twitter more than I do Facebook. I think it’s partly because there is no requirement to be friends with people to share their wisdom and humour. And the character limit makes for quicker scrolling and less ranting. Facebook does help me stay connected to people I care about, but Twitter leaves me smiling!

Anyway, here’s a couple of tips for releasing and embracing your social media feeds:

  1. Think about what you actually want to see:Β  what do you want to be feeding your soul? If you do this right at the beginning, it will make choosing who to release and who to keep around much easier.
    • My Twitter feed had ended up full of cynical political commentary which was dragging me down. Cynical is one thing I really don’t need encouragement for – I can do it quite well by myself! So, I’ve deliberately chosen to follow people whose tweets encourage me and make me smile (especially if they feature cat pics).
  2. It is okay to release people from your feeds. Chances are they’ll never know…
    • I find Twitter is less emotionally charged than Facebook for this – but I have discovered you can unfollow individual Facebook friends without having to take that fraught step of unfriending. This takes them out of your newsfeed, but leaves the friendship in place. Pinterest is dead easy – just unfollow boards you don’t enjoy any more.
  3. Build a feed that feeds you
    • It really doesn’t take much effort to fill your feed with images and words that feed your soul. Just search for what you actually like and want to see (see #1) – and do remember it is okay to release and unfollow what no longer works for you.

We are allowed to grow and change, and we are allowed to take our social media with us as we do!

How do you manage your social media? Do you have any tips for de-cluttering this part of life? Please share πŸ™‚

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A new month and a new season

PC1.2 Daffodils

Spring has sprung, September is here already (did that really have to happen so soon?!) and my thoughts are turning to de-cluttering, spring cleaning and re-vamping.

Given what Spring is like here in Wellington (soggy, windy, changeable, windy, damp, did I mention windy?!), I find this is an ideal opportunity to look inside my house and myself, and see what I can shake up and sort out.

So, in as much as I ever actually plan anything round here, I’m planning a theme for September of “Spring Cleaning” (what a surprise…)

If you’ve got any tips, questions, favourite sources of information and transpiration, or anything else vaguely relevant to the topic, let me know (you can use the comments, Facebook, Twitter or email verdant at paradise.net.nz). Guest posts are welcome, too.

Otherwise, you’ll have to put up with whatever comes to my mind – so don’t be shy!

πŸ™‚

BTW I’m still accepting submissions for August’s monthly challenge (there is no deadline… unless you want one… in which case, tomorrow! Panic!!!) I’ll announce September’s challenges soon.

πŸ™‚

Creating with the common cold

As you can probably guess from the title of this post, I’m currently in battle with a cold (and lucky ol’ me got the bonus throat infection add-on for free :/ )

But feeling ill doesn’t actually stop my creative urge; it just limits what I am capable of achieving between tissues and headaches… so, how does one go on and create stuff despite feeling yurk?!

Here’s my tips

  1. Think simple – now may not be the best time to wrestle with that complex lace shawl pattern or to recreate the Taj Mahal with matchsticks… what if you sneeze?! Have mercy on your aching brain and congested sinuses, and attempt something that doesn’t require intense concentration or exceptionally fine motor control.
  2. Think small – things that can be created quickly or in small chunks are good. You’ll get a sense of achievement and forward momentum despite being surrounded by tissues.
  3. Cold time can be a good time for working on those uncomplicated but lengthy projects that require persistence and regular effort, but aren’t necessarily exciting to work on. But do make sure you can put your project down easily without losing your place, in case you need to grab a tissue in a hurry.
  4. Cold time probably isn’t the time for lengthy blog posts on complex topics requiring immense feats of research. So, I’m going to stop writing πŸ˜‰

Hope you all stay well and germ free!

Juggling your dynamic balance

In my post last week, I alluded to the juggling act that is life.

So I figured today that I might let you in on some of the things I’ve learnt to keep myself vaguely balanced and (even more vaguely!) sane. I can’t promise you great wisdom and insight – I am very much a ‘work in progress’ – but I do hope these ideas give you some encouragement and spark your own inner wisdom:

To juggle well, you need to know what you’re juggling: balls? knives? flaming chainsaws? day job? family? house renovations? demanding friends or relations? hobbies?

We all have a range of things we do and a range of people we interact with. It’s good to take time periodically to review what’s going on in your life and where the tricky bits currently are (they move around!) Then take time to brainstorm how you might deal with those tricky bits and adjust your balance. There’s usually some sort of tweaking you can do to make life more manageable: sometimes you might need to cut down on some things for a while; sometimes you might need to take deep breaths and say ‘this will pass’ a few hundred times; sometimes chocolate IS the answer…

Review, revise and remove without shame or fear. Some things we are joyfully committed to for life. Other things may come and go. Our lives usually have a balance of both. Enjoy things while they last, be that for ever or for a few months. And if it is time for something to move out of your life, let it go without shame or sorrow – sometimes some grief may be involved, but don’t let that dim your enjoyment of what remains.

Also, do let go of all the stuff that came with that thing: old hobbies have a way of cluttering up our lives and houses – no one needs dried up old paints and you can always get more beads if you want them (I have to repeat this to myself regularly!) – and old love letters can burn quite nicely πŸ˜‰

Make sure you feed your inner fire. You are precious and the only one of you. Even in the crazy times, do take the time to stoke your inner fire: whether that’s going on a week-long creative retreat or grabbing a few moments on Pinterest or somewhere in between. Take the moment to watch the sunrise or acknowledge the full moon. Spend some time journalling your heart out. Buy the glittery unicorn stickers and use them joyfully. Paint something a beautiful colour. Dance wildly with the wind. Jump. Play. Blow bubbles with your kids. Celebrate and enjoy your creative soul.

Sometimes some things work better than others for no obvious reason. Trust your heart and do what works for you – but do avoid harming yourself or anyone else (so… less alcohol and lots more deep breathing πŸ˜‰ ). And if something is not working this time, try something else (sometimes the answer is tea, not chocolate…)

And if it all gets too much and you can’t balance it alone and your ideas are running out:

Reach out and talk to someone. Pour your heart out to a good friend (or three) for a loving reality check. Go for a long walk with your beloved. Talk to your manager about how you might prioritise your workload. Pray to the deity/s of your choice. Reach out in love and honesty to your online networks. Give yourself a hug, then pass it on to someone else who also needs it.

We are social creatures by nature. We are not meant to walk in loneliness. It takes courage to reach out, and to let others reach back to you, but the relationships and communities we can build through that process are oh so worth that first tentative stretch…

❀ ❀ ❀

Please share your insights and ideas in the comments.

And if you want to reach out to me, feel free to use the comments, Facebook or Twitter. I might not be able to respond immediately, but I will respond as soon as I can.

Re-blog: Guiding and Fostering Creativity

A useful reminder of what we need to feed our creativity.
(Disclosure: this blog is written by a friend of mine who teaches design to high school kids)

Design Drawer

In my wandering through inter-space I came across this article that rang true for teaching DVC and getting into a creative process. We all at some stage wonder why we are feeling underwhelmed or unmotivated when it comes to a Design Project. I can only begin to imagine how students sometimes feel, what with life getting in the way. (hold on, been there, remember the feeling, ugh, so glad I’m not a teenager). This list sums up the useful points I particularly like:

  • Just get it out, no matter how crappy that first draft.
  • Don’t try for perfect. Just get it out there, asap, and get feedback.
  • Constantly make it better.
  • Get out, move, see new things, talk to new people.
  • Read wildly different things. Especially stuff you disagree with.
  • Get lots of rest. Overwork kills creativity.

The first three I can relate to participating-in and evolving their design work…

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Which will you choose?

Comfort or magic?

Some days that’s a hard choice…

Other days the two seem a little a closer together than this…

Online yoga classes with the best teachers. Request invite. www.yogatime.tv #yoga #yogi #yogaeverywhere #yogaposes #yogaclasses

Something to ponder: No ‘right’ routine

How The World's Most Brilliant People Scheduled Their Days

It appears there’s no magic routine for creativity! (Hurrah!)

So, go DO what works best for you πŸ™‚