Watch now (5 mins) | Video 029
Julie, I hear you blaming yourself for having trouble staying away from the internet when, in fact, the internet was specifically designed to light up human beings little reward centers. It’s not your fault that you are having trouble! It’s like IMPOSSIBLE to retrain ourselves. The fact that you are so dedicated to reclaiming your creative brain is amazing and deserves praise. I’ve been able to completely disconnect only when I’ve also been on vacation- and somewhere different from my home. Something about being in my own space and routine makes it’s very difficult to change habits ☹️
Hi Julie! I'm a new subscriber but I love what you've posted so far.
This one resonated so much with me. I've done social media breaks for 3 or 4 weeks, but not big internet-breaks, as I always say "I have to be there for clients". I might want to try a weekend totally offline and see how that goes.
For the past 6 years, or maybe more, I've been creating drawings and work especially for Instagram, to please followers and the algorithm. It has cost me so much time, which kept me from making what I really want to make: (picture)books and paintings.
I'm incredibly scared to dedicate a longer period of time to a book, in fear of failure. Instagram and other social media is instant gratification, so it's easy to escape to it. In hindsight, I feel I've wasted quite a few years on social media, which is painful.
Your video reminded me of that again. Focus on what I really want to do, instead of gratifying my insecurities by a quick post. Maybe make a chalk drawing :) Thank you!
In my best Rod Serling/narrator voice. "It's April 2023. Somewhere in Maine, a kid is filling a driveway with digestional distress chalk drawings. Meanwhile, in Seattle, a family of redheads slowly succumbs, one after another, to a mysterious stomach bug. Maybe it's coincidence...or maybe you've just crossed over...into the Twilight Zone." I would laugh even more at your story of the driveway (f)artist, but it would hurt me too much.
I am still very much looking forward to starting your Revision Course, once we are back to normz! :)
Clearly the answer is for you to write your next book using sidewalk chalk. I'll mail you a packet of bandaids and moisturizer, because it's going to be BRUTAL on your hands.
ROFL, no internet for 24-48hrs. Julie! I want to do it but also...
When I was a kid I spent a few years intensely bullying my poor mom to quit smoking - she started as a teen and I think she was in her 40s when I was nagging her (for her health!). She tried ALL the things, including a visit to the Russian Hypnotist (idk, it was a big deal in the late 80s?). She finally quit cold turkey when I was 12, but for the first few weeks/months she would sit at the kitchen table with a pretzel rod held in her hands like a cigarette. And around the clock she was chewing gum. That lasted for years. It was maybe 5yrs before I didn't see any sort of surrogate cigarette props/behaviors. What I'm saying is the internet is probably worse than nicotine and maybe restaurants, airplanes, and workplaces need to shame and ban internet users? And maybe we need our tweens/teens to bully us? And also be kinder to ourselves - because it's a hard time to be a fully focused creative.
I've done social media breaks, but I've never taken a true break from all things internet.
Like you, I find that as soon as I hit a pause while drafting or revising—not even hitting a wall, just coming to a PAUSE, a hmm-my-brain-is-processing moment—I have the urge to check email. I HATE this. I have to consciously fight against it.
A thing that has helped me a lot is the Freedom app, which allows you to block apps AND websites for set periods of time across all your devices. I can block my gmail. Block insta. Block any url. And then when I come to those pauses while working, I'm forced to sit with it for a moment and work THROUGH it, rather than getting distracted by my inbox. It's helped loads with deep work and creativity.
The chalk surprise sounds hilarious! I’m also trying to get back to a human-paced lifestyle (love that phrase). So far I’ve blocked social media sights every day except Mondays (I schedule all posts that day and respond to everything). It’s been so nice but like you, I still create a horizontal feed (love that phrase too by the way). It honestly freaks me out how trained my brain is to crave that. About your 24-48 hour question, I can do that when I’m on vacation. I just put my phone away somewhere. I’m hoping to take more weekend camping trips this year so that will provide some built in breaks from the internet. But I would love to figure out how to take an internet vacation during the week for my creativity. Once you figure it all out, let me know 😉
JULIE! Everything you said in your video -- a resounding YES from me. I know that "frantic digital feeling" so well and I am constantly trying new strategies to diminish my addiction to the digital world. It doesn't even have to be social media and scrolling -- I will be addicted and waste time on the most lame, mundane, internet thing. Doesn't matter what it is! And yes, it is truly distracting from my creative life. I also think it's making me a worse parent and partner, because I am genuinely very consumed by the digital world, even if I'm not actively ON it. it's still on my brain. it's exhausting. How does one ACTUALLY get rid of the internet? I have a smartphone and so that makes it hard for me to truly disengage from the digital realm. I am so curious how this went for you -- and I was wondering if you'd be open to speaking to me about it for my podcast! Cheers!