Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.
Instagram numbers crushing your creative vibe? Here’s how to change that.
I stumbled upon a mindset that helped me detach my creative motivation from those pesky Instagram numbers – the follower growth on IG that plagues any digital endeavour. Since this is a challenge that many artists who begin sharing their work publicly deal with, I wanted to share this analogy with you in hopes that it may shift you into an ‘appreciation of’ mindset over a ‘validated because’ mindset.
“While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.”
Top Pic by Anna King on Unsplash
Left pic by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash
The beginning of that toxic relationship with Instagram number
When I began my journey of painting daily, I watched eagerly as the numbers of people following my work climbed. I remember wanting to check my account first thing in the morning to see if the painting I had posted the day before had gained me new followers. It was a dirty little addiction and I didn’t enjoy the way it felt.
For many artists, myself included, there have been periods where, if the climb wasn’t happening rapidly enough, the motivation to paint just wasn’t there. The ‘who cares anyway’ thought would come to lurk on my shoulder.
I call this a ‘validation because’ mindset.
I would only feel motivated to paint because the external validation was pulling me to do so.
Why a commitment to self helps break the cycle of IG numbers feeding creativity
It was the decision to paint daily no matter what that eventually helped break my addiction to validation. My commitment to my own challenge was more important than whether many followers latched on or not. Instead of stopping to paint, because of the unsatisfactory follower count, I pushed myself to paint through the feeling, paint in spite of the apparent low validation.
Then things shifted.
With daily work, the momentum of the art snowball takes on a life of its own. Once that happens the numbers stop mattering.
Your mindset shifts too.
I call this stage the ‘appreciation of’ mindset
Here’s the analogy I tap into to explain how daily work will break your attachment to the social media numbers:
With daily painting, that looming number on Instagram, the people following your account (ie your creative work), begin to appear like whether it’s raining outside or not.
While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.
Light rain or no rain (no new followers) = “eh, I can take it easy for a day, I can build slower. There’s no urgency to build the house because no one is coming inside. No one cares.”
Now, if you keep making despite light rain, hard rain or sunshine then suddenly you have a house to keep painting in and you care not for nought about the numbers. They’re just there. Pitter pattering on the window panes of your creative palace.
Now, about that shallow self-talk, when we feel like the numbers matter
I don’t believe that in the heart of an artist, the numbers matter. That’s not initially why you sat down to paint, or to undertake a creative challenge. (and if it is, honestly, I’d suggest asking yourself if you really want to be an artist or if you just want recognition somewhere)
When creatives look at the numbers, we think they matter, because we think high numbers = you’re a good artist.
But what you’re really looking for is not approval, it’s signs of growth.
That’s WHY you started painting. Somewhere deep inside, you, like me, are hungry for growth of self. We’re all just hungry for inner expansion and connection to our purpose.
But it’s in the continuation of painting that we begin to see where the visible growth is happening. It’s in us. And it’s on that canvas or paper.
Stay committed to your creativity.
Before you know it, the numbers won’t matter.
What will matter is your art. And it will matter most to you.
MY METHOD TO STOP INSTAGRAM NUMBERS FROM AFFECTING YOUR CREATIVE MOTIVATION
1. Decide why you want to paint.
2. Commit to painting daily.
3. Painting daily switches your mindset around Instagram number growth from ‘validation because’ to ‘appreciation of’
4. Through painting daily you create a momentum and accountability to self.
5. The growth you’re looking for in the ‘Instagram follower increase’ is really a growth of self.
If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x
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