Reclaiming Myself

In the year 2018, I started this blog titled ‘A Hundred Quills’ after winning a few online short story writing contests and after one of my stories was reduced to ashes by a reader/critic. It was such an emotional moment that the title of the story became the title of my blog. No sooner did I join the world of blogging, my social media profiles were inundated with friend requests from complete strangers. With slight apprehension I accepted the requests, meeting like-minded people and being part of a ‘community’. Over time, I learnt how a community can help you thrive in the world of writing and social media. Social interactions provided me with ample opportunities to be part of writing clubs, challenges, activities- all of which steered me forward in this journey for three long years. I was published, commended and recommended.

But there was something amiss. I felt lost. Lost in a maze of social interactions, most of which were nothing more than obligatory exchange. I was part of WhatsApp groups of writers, poets and bloggers, attending workshops on writing, participating in online and offline events. In short, doing everything right for my craft and being pulled in a direction that held so much promise. But, in earnest, I was never any of this. I couldn’t elude the existential crisis that raised its ugly head time and again. I constantly felt its fangs at my throat. Maybe, you would say, I am going little too far in my analysis of the situation. So, let’s stick to simpler terms like ‘feeling lost’.

The joy of getting published that should have doubled when I shared the news with others, seemed to vanish into thin air the moment my feed was flooded with messages. I often lacked the bandwidth to connect with those who were kind enough to stop by and drop a message or a like. Often, I also felt bereft of words and unable to write. It was strange because I cannot claim to be an out-and-out introvert. The need to fit in and also write what was in vogue left me exhausted. I had almost six hundred pending friend requests, when I took the decision to remove all my social media accounts except one. I walked out of WhatsApp groups. Was I ready to tread territories that would leave me socially irrelevant? Most of the community said I would lose readers and opportunities. But as a writer, I was looking to reclaiming my writing and myself before reclaiming my readers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that all those on social media are misplaced or no longer in touch with themselves. Subjectivity and individuality are the eternal verities of human existence. But, it is as much the truth, that many of us who see social media as a means to boost their creativity, are unable to cope with it. The reason is that creativity needs silence to grow and being on social media is about living loud. If you are able to strike a balance, good for you. But, just like me, if you are harbouring feelings of rebellion against this noise, be rest assured that staying away will help you to reclaim your creative-self.

Ever since, I’ve made a little place for my creativity by blogging regularly. It helps me create space for my thoughts and although going off social media leads to fewer footfalls; I am content at being able to create and have meaningful conversations.

I subscribed to magazines, interacting with content and not people. Most writers, who find being online a little unsettling, do so because they are unable to deal with the flood of people on a social networking site.

I create a lot offline, gradually looking for a home for each of my creations.

I log in to my solo social media profile once a day (time bound) to keep up with submission calls and activities of the community.

Has any of this been helpful? I’m in my comfort zone, reading and writing more often than I used to. Work takes precedence. When I took the plunge, I thought I would be back pretty soon because I wouldn’t be able to cope with missing out on a lot of things. But the truth is I don’t miss any of it. I feel relieved and this is my happy place. If that means anything, then yes, it’s been a lot more than just helpful! Do you identify with my feelings? I’d love to hear how it’s been for you.

‘This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva andNoor Anand Chawla.’

70 thoughts on “Reclaiming Myself”

  1. That was so refreshingly honest! There are at least 5 times every day where I feel like throwing my phone away but I don’t do it. I just don’t have the courage. Kudos to you.

  2. This is so interesting, because blogging itself is one corner of the social media world. And personal blogs on WordPress.com are a (usually) safe and supportive corner, a calm controllable corner of the larger blog sphere. Even this can become a burden if you let it: yesterday one blogger said she followed 600 blogs which took “only” 4-6 hours daily. That’s a choice, but how could anyone finish writing a book ora play or even a poem with that level of distraction? You’ve figured out a fine solution.

  3. This felt so good. And finally I know how you got the name for your blog, was always intrigued by that name!
    Its nice that you stand by your decision…do what you feel is right and gives you contentment. My best wishes!!

  4. I feel lost myself more often than not. I am yet to find the right way and understand what works for me as others have said in the comments above. Currently its mostly Twitter which I use as my scribbling pad and write down as ideas come in and I think it is helping me to atleast create. So, untill I know what works for me , it is a constant search of exploration for oneself. Such a relatable post. And you write so well Sonia, my best wishes are with you.

  5. It’s such a relatable post. It’s all about what works for you, I think. I was very skeptical about sharing my photo (still avoid sharing personal photos), my profile photo on my blog was a portrait of a girl. I used to overthink in the beginning but now I don’t mind interacting on social media. In fact written message/comment is the best form of interaction for me (I get very awkward when interacting face to face). I am an introvert, almost a recluse, in real life.

    I use social media in a very random manner. I am on Instagram mainly because of painting. And created Facebook personal account a few months ago. And Whatsapp, I have a very limited contacts on my phone. I check when someone sends a message, otherwise I don’t check. Papa created a Whatsapp group, so can’t do anything about it, otherwise, no Whatsapp group. 🙂

    You write so well. I wish you all the best.

  6. Ironically, it’s your tweet that brought me to your post today:)
    Nodded my head in agreement at various places. I use SM when I feel like it and stay away from it when I’m deep in my working/writing mode.
    “The reason is that creativity needs silence to grow and being on social media is about living loud.” Perfectly put.
    Like Damyanti said, “You must do what is right for you.” I concur.
    It’s been a pleasure to read your blog posts and poetry.
    Wishing you creative spaces unencumbered by noise/distractions.
    Hugs.
    Arti

  7. So much of your post resonated with me, Sonia. I interact during fixed times, and take long social media hiatus often. You must do what’s right for you. Social media can be a lot of noise, and does not really bring in as many readers as most authors fondly imagine :). Take care of you, and thanks so much for always being so supportive of me and my work. Very grateful.

  8. I can connect with many of the points in your post. I am an ambivert and even online I dont share much on social media. I guess somewhere the reason for blogging changed for many from the joy of writing and sharing to getting ‘followers, likes & shares’. But thank you for this post – has sparked an idea for me on something.

  9. I always say that content is really powerful and very less people understand it. Glad to know your blogging journey. I can relate to most of benefits listed.

  10. It’s not easy to make a balance between your creativity and social media. I agree taking a break is must to find your happy place. Very well written and an honest post.

  11. I can definetly relate to what you have written, Too much of social media seem to be chocking hence I keep taking breaks once in a while just feel refreshed and get back to work effectively

  12. I completely relate to this- social media gets too much at time. I’m glad to know of your journey so thank you for sharing it 🙂

  13. Reading your blog, I could only envision the mighty seas reclaiming her land every time the burden of humanity gets overbearing. More sea-like power to you. Keep being this honest and inspiring the same in others.

  14. Blogging is field where you can share your thoughts. It is the field where you put in your creativity and efforts more than 100%. You have worked hard to come into blogging. All the very best for your blogging journey.

  15. Social media can prove to be too overwhelming sometimes. You have done what you had to do. Very honest writeup.

  16. I can completely relate to it, Sonia. Blogging and social media for me is a break from work. When it starts to overwhelm me, I take a break. You know me well that I from a creative field too. And one thing that I decided when I started book blogging was to never be overtly critical of a writer’s hard work. I have been on the receiving end and know how that feels. I might be labeled a lenient reviewer but I only talk about books I enjoyed.

    1. Oh my, is it so Ritu? I think along similar lines and avoid writing reviews for books I don’t enjoy. But there’s another side to it. I’ve been snubbed by friends for not writing reviews of their books and I’ve been too shy to tell them that I’d not give a review than give a dishonest one. I hear you.

  17. A honest and an insightful post. I always felt being active on all social media platforms takes a lot of time but at the same time feel guilty too of not being a part of it. Thanx for giving so much clarity to it

  18. It takes a lot of courage to do that. I’m still in a dilemma whenever I want to make that decisión. There is a minute I want to quit but then I’m again on. It. Hopefully I make up my mind. Keep writing and sharing. we love what you do here

  19. Ever since I have started blogging it has been a roller coaster for me. I have a hard time trying to keep a tab on all the available social media like insta, fb, Twitter, WhatsApp I feel very overwhelmed due to which many times my breaks become too long. Finally I decided to concentrate first and foremost on my blog then think about one social media handle at a time and I take my pace. This has helped me get a balance.

  20. A very honest post. Social media can be overwhelming. I love to cook and share recipes. But I am only active on Facebook and Twitter since I like interacting with people there. We should do what works for us.

  21. I have started my journey as I always wanted to share my experience with the World. My love for writing urged me to start my blog and I can relate with you here. Nice post yaa.

  22. This blogging is ok but social media is very difficult.I have 14000 followers on Insta..and used to post daily but suddenly it became a burden…so toxic that i havent got back

  23. Of course I feel the same! My blog was also started after I won a few writing contests, so high five on that. My journey has been filled with doubts about whether or not I am good enough, do people really want to read what I write, and, confession time, that has made me really lazy to do anything to promote my blog and posts. But every time I decide to shut it down, something or the other, mostly from what I have written, reminds me that this is my happy place, and I find the motivation to go. Reading your account left me feeling pleasant about my journey!

  24. I can totally relate to your thoughts although I am new in this world. I can understand that although a little bit of engagement doesn’t hurt, too much becomes overwhelming and takes over your individuality and space. I too am not much of a social media person as I write because I like to.
    I loved your post.

  25. I felt connected reading the blog, I have lost on keeping my blogs on but ur post somehow rised my spirit, hopefully I start soon.

  26. Interesting take on it. Yes having a good balance is the key. Sometimes we get lost with lots of noise as you said. I too feel distracted sometimes. I mostly waste time online. Yes, guilty and I agree.

  27. I can resonate with every word of yours. The reason is that creativity needs silence to grow and being on social media is about living loud….very well said. And this loud sound is annoying as its killing my creativity and taking away my peace. I still don’t know how to go about it as its just been an year that I got hang of this. Getting exhausted too soon makes me feel as if something is missing in me. But taking a break and little introspect can help you bounce back strong. So will try 🙂

  28. Hi, I can totally relate to this post. Blogging have been my escape and this post made me super happy. It feels like you read my thoughts well. Love how you write.

  29. I’ve been meaning to do what you’ve done and can understand where it’s coming from. Social media can be taxing and occupies our headspace more than we like. Loved your honesty and proud that you’ve reclaimed yourself. Also, now I know why you’ve been missing of late!

  30. I salute the honesty of your thoughts and post, Sonia. What you have done requires a lot of courage, and you have what it takes to go ahead with your decision. If its working for you, that is all that matters. As long as you keep popping into the wilds of social media to share slices of your beautiful thoughts and brilliant writing with us.

  31. This is so interesting! I am a part time amateur writer and I too am very easily crushed by criticism of stories. I now get a lot of pleasure from writing and researching for my blog and feel that blogging is a great way of satisfying my need to write. I don’t post daily, or even weekly, but I am always working on ideas for posts, making notes, researching facts and sourcing photographs. I might even do Nanowrimo again one day. It was fun to do – and nobody judged what I wrote so I didn’t get crushed!

  32. Good Morning!
    I’m smiling because I think you finally got it! That’s one of the reasons, I blog only for the IWSG and the WEP. I found that was more than enough for me because my main priority is my purposes for being who I am, and that means for me, my writing and my music. It is hard to give them freedom to roam within your creative spirit when you constantly trying to put yourself forward in your social media presence. I learned that some time ago and I freed myself from the constant pressure of trying to be first or upfront with social media.
    I am on Twitter for example twice a week for about thirty minutes to promote others and anyone else I see that I know, but that’s it. I am relaxed about Twitter. I ignore groups Chats. Not because they are unhealthy for others, because for some people they are a big help, but they are not for me. They are a distraction. There are so many things in your article that make me smile. I can identify totally.
    Wishing you all the best in your writing. You will be shocked as you discover yourself through the silence. Your writing will become stronger and your inner voice will scream within the words you use, and you will be noticed.

    All the best.

    Shalom aleichem

    1. Thank you so much for saying all this. Somehow I’ve learnt so much from your posts Pat, at the IWSG and the WEP. This that you write here resonated in all of what I read previously too. Thank you.

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