How a Hashtag May Save My Sanity…

Flowers in blue dish watermarked

Flowers in blue dish watermarked

**revised on June 18th 2015, to reflect my improved spirits, do to some pretty wonderful people reaching out to me, lifting me up, and encouraging me. **

I was getting overwhelmingly discouraged recently.

I wrote this article more to vent than in the hope that anyone would actually read this (but thankfully some did and send me positive words). I felt very much like the flowers in the painting above: once useful, but now past their time and fading away in the arrangement where they have been placed.

I spent the past 9 months uploading my photos to FAA, and creating posts all over social media to promote them. At the same time I’ve been writing blog articles to market said photos as well as my books. I’ve been writing and sharing about what I’ve been learning too.

So what has been the outcome of all my efforts? Well, practically no sales. Yes, really. Very few views and little to no shares. Dismal really.

On an emotional level I had reached an all time low. I used to think that all I had to do was to get my work out there and people would like what they saw and respond to it.

Seems I was wrong. I was at a point where I don’t think people particularly care for my photos, or my writing. I felt so let down and very useless.

Being a creative person has had a huge toll on my life. I’ve been obsessed with taking photos and creating artwork. I’ve tried to be “normal” and to fit in with other normal people, but that doesn’t ever seem to work.

I seemed to be in a separate universe by my lonely little self. I’m too odd and have been through too many strange and life altering experiences for normal people to be able to relate to me (seems many prefer to avoid me), and I’m not able to link up on the same wavelength as other creative people, so solitude seems to be my lot in life.

I had reached a point of deep discouragement, so I won’t be sharing more photos or artwork for a while. I said I wouldn’t be making any more efforts into trying to make a living at my art and writing, after all, the deafening silence had spoken to me.

Unfortunately, the inner obsession to write and create is still plaguing me, so I’ll have to keep writing and creating to try to assuage those compulsions. The difference now is that I won’t be seeking to share my work with people for the foreseeable future, which is fine since I have some projects to finish.

About three or four years ago when I was trying to overcome the last of my great depressive cycles, I decided I would put out only positive things in social media, and not share or forward anything negative or whiney. I shared the positive quotes and messages which had moved me. No response from anyone. Not even a single “like” from any friend, so I dropped that practice. Why promote things people don’t wish to see or hear?

I had read articles about how it’s necessary to promote one’s articles, and artwork through social media in order to build an audience, so I did my best to do just that and put my work out there.

This may seem to be very counter productive to what I wrote about in my book On Becoming a Lemonade Maker, but truth be told, it’s where I find myself at this particular point in my life. *I’m feeling more positive at the point of this revision, due to the wonderful people who broke through that barrier of silence to encourage me.*

Things may change for me down the road, but right now I’m going through a period of turning inward and I’m not going to continue the inner battle of trying to put myself out there until I feel the time has come to do so.

I don’t seem to really have a clue as to what people want to hear in writing or what they want to see in photos or paintings so I create what touches me and what speaks to me.

I did read an article about adding hashtags to posts and articles, which act as search keywords for people looking for particular things, so I’ll experiment and add a few to just a select amount of posts or articles, just to see if there is any interest generated.

On the whole, I’m withdrawing like a turtle into my shell, to nurse my soul which is feeling very let down by the lack of responses and sales. I used to say that “a worker is worth his wage”, that an artist or writer should be able to earn their living doing what the universe has given them to do, but I’ve reached a deep low in feeling positive that this adage applies to me. Like I said, I will continue to create, but it will be just for my own personal feelings of release.

I was reorganizing some of my boxes in my daughter’s garage, when I pulled out some of my paintings, some of which haven’t yet been photographed or uploaded to FAA, and I felt such pleasure to see these old friends again.

(For the past two and a half years all my personal possessions have been packed up in boxes and are sitting in my daughter’s garage. Since I moved in with her to help out when the baby went through her second battle with cancer, my marriage died, and I stayed on with my family. We live in a tiny two bedroom townhouse, for two adults and three children. I share a room with the baby, so setting up a corner of the room with my art things just isn’t feasible or do-able.

I will keep focusing on positive things. I will continue to do some sketches and some writing.

My energy online will be spend promoting the photographers in the four groups I administer, and writing encourageing and supportive things for other people.

Once I get my head out of my butt, I have found the best way of moving forward is to focus on sharing and giving. We all go through down times, and I’ve found talking about it is part of the process to come out of the woods. The step of finding ways to help others is a wonderfully rewarding activity and helps to rebuild the inner confidence.

The actions of continuing to create are an acknowledgement of the inner spirit and the need to express it!

Thank you everyone for your encouragement! I hope you receive the encouragement you need, when you need it… sometimes the Universe brings us encouragement in non-human forms… it’s up to us to pay attention!

PS: If the Universe brought you encouragement in a way that seems silly or too “small or insignificant” to others, *smile*, don’t worry! Why? Because you’re the one the message of encouragement was for! Does that make sense? Good! Don’t worry if other people don’t get it! You’re the one walking your walk, not them… so keep going! We can all do this!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]

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