I had this crazy thought when reading the book “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. What if I started this website to promote music, but included some lifestyle content as well?
One of my favorite blogs is “Live Simply by Annie.” She’s a Seattle based professional organizer, but even in DC I get so much joy out of reading her words. She clearly has fun writing them. Maybe she built a site to initially promote her flesh and blood business. But the site became a way to connect with her whether or not you’ve hired her. I have friends in the same boat of balancing an in-person business (live music, life coaching, public speaking) and maintaining an online presence as well.
This is a slippery slope for me. Maybe I’m a child of the 90’s, but sometimes I have trouble seeing what happens on the internet as “real.” Feel free to imagine this next sentence in a crotchety old-man voice: In my day, you didn’t like each other’s posts. You hung out at the gas station slash convenience store nearest your high school. (I grew up in a small town, okay?)
But I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that the internet has flesh and blood affects on my life. My husband and I started hanging out largely due to Twitter. My personal style, my hair, the clothes on my back can’t help but be informed by ideas I get on Pinterest or Instagram. The internet affects what music I listen to. What dollars I spend. I make real, analog, unplugged decisions about my life because of someone who I’ve never met who published a book or a blog or a tweet and now I have the benefit of reading their thoughts and getting a glimpse into a different perspective.
So, embrace it right? Why not write about my latest gig outfit? My gear? How I keep my calendar? Ooh. Wouldn’t it be cool to share how I discovered a powder manicure doesn’t chip, no matter how much you play piano. I could post pictures of it! I could name my followers and readers something cute.
While I’m really excited reading that paragraph above, there is something in me that says “be careful.” Posting pictures of clothes is fun. But it might take away from those quiet moments you need by yourself in order to do the real work. The unglamorous moments of practicing, and ignoring the phone for a few hours. Those difficult moments of struggling to distill A feeling into just the right phrase or musical idea. John Mayer once quit Twitter because he admitted it was getting in the way of his songwriting. To paraphrase what he said at the time: It was far more gratifying to send a tweet that got immediate engagement than it was to sit down and do the work. For the record, he’s back on Twitter now- but perhaps he sets more boundaries now, or perhaps he’s in a season in his life where he’s not currently writing an album. Or maybe he has someone in his life to hold him accountable, who says he can have his phone back when he’s written three more hits. I don’t know. But that boundary left an impression on me.
I also have my own personality to contend with, here. I tend to be a private person. I definitely identify as introverted. So my social time happens in fits and starts, both in person and online. The idea of “new music every Monday!” Or needing to “show up online” every day is tiring to think about.
I’m not sure what the answer is here. Do you feel the same struggle to balance online life with analog life? Do you feel nostalgia for the 90’s like I do? Do you have helpful boundaries you’ve discovered? (I think we need to bring back the “Away Message” a la AOL Instant Messenger.” It basically says “I’m not snubbing you! It’s just that my attentions are focused elsewhere at the moment!”) I know when the 2016 election happened our collective mental health took a very anxious turn as a direct result of social media, and lots of conversation emerged about setting boundaries. I think that’s a positive thing. But I’m still struggling. With what I think I’m supposed to be doing, with what I want to be doing, with seeing other people doing things and going “I could do that.” I’d love any insights you’ve discovered.