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Video 038

Enjoy this video of me walking in the rain and talking to you!

The morning I recorded this video, I made the error of eating breakfast at my desk, thinking I’d give my home-for-the-summer kids some space in the house, and I could get some work done. Instead I: read a bunch of essays, read a bunch of emails, clicked on a video linked in an essay and very much regretted watching it, clicked on a video linked in an email and it was fine but not necessary to me, read about a book that might be a good birthday present for someone, and spent half an hour looking into a creative business coaching course that I don’t need. Then I realized it was 11:00, and I hadn’t done any actual work.

So much of my life (SO MUCH) I have looked outward, looked to what other people are doing, didn’t even consider what I actually wanted to do.

The internet and social media have provided a really easy way to keep up my habit of looking to others to tell me what to do. I don’t even have social media on my phone anymore, and I still find all sorts of reasons to pick up my phone and check for messages.

I want to hear my inner voice first. I want to get comfortable with not knowing the answer immediately, with waiting until I hear what my gut is telling me, and then checking on the voices of other people only when I know what’s right for me.1

So much of internet culture teaches us that we don’t know what to do, that we can’t trust ourselves, that we should look to the hive mind for the answer. And sometimes the internet does have the answer! It’s great that we don’t need to know everything. But it’s one thing to seek advice on a good dry cleaner in your neighborhood, and another to ask the internet what you should find pleasure in. There is a huge difference between knowing the best lasagna recipe and knowing what kind of hobby you enjoy. There is a difference between knowing the average lifespan of a honeybee and knowing what music you like. You know you — better than anyone else does.

I walk the line between wanting messages from my insides and deeply wanting to connect with people and hear their recommendations. But it feels like a fine line, some days, and soon I’m down that path where I’m not listening to my insides anymore, and watching videos I don’t even want to watch, and not writing.


As always, I’m going to tell you to do what feels right for you. Maybe you like that the internet has so many opinions on what you should do. Maybe what your inner voice is telling you is to research what some other people are doing, for your answers. But my inner voice is telling me that when I constantly check to see if anyone has sent me a message, it makes me believe that the messages from my gut are less important than the ones coming from outside.

I believe that if I followed my inner voice most of the time, I’d be doing ok. I don’t think it would steer me wrong.

And so why do I still put so much emphasis on what other people think I should do? I truly don’t know! I’m easily influenced, I guess? I’m continuing to do things without my phone, analog things, things away from the messages from other people, for big chunks of the day. Listening to my inner voice is the way for me to get good creative work done.

The best way I can manage this without throwing my phone into a lake is by waiting as long as possible each morning before I check email/texts/Substack. I do my morning pages, I exercise, I meditate. Honestly I often don’t manage to get very far — often I check after morning pages. I don’t know why. I don’t really want to, except I always wonder if maybe some wondrous message came in overnight. But the messages won’t disappear if I wait another hour or two to check them.

How about you? When do you check your messages? Do you feel like it blocks you from your intuition, or is your email inbox is completely separate from your internal inbox?

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This always makes me feel like I’m on the verge of being a parody of a Gen X person in relationship to the internet, like everyone trying to remember the word “marzipan” in While We’re Young. “Let’s just not know what it is.”

Do the Work
Pep talks about writing and creativity, mostly while I'm walking the dog.
Julie Falatko