It’s day 15 and my anxiety keeps increasing. You’d think that after writing 14 posts and sharing it with the world, the 15th one would come easy. But no.
I’ll admit, I’m struggling.
Every morning I wake up and check my phone for likes and comments. And no matter what I see, I am left disappointed. No number of likes or comments is ever enough.
I start asking myself where did my post go wrong. Did I not write something that my followers want to read? Was it not clever enough? Funny enough? Emotional enough? Did I post it at the wrong time?
I then spend my day thinking about what else to write about that would appeal to the audience while constantly checking my phone for notifications.
I noticed all this when a friend of mine asked me to write about social media’s affect on us. I realized that in just a couple of weeks my mental state went from excited and hopeful to one of fear and doubt. In just a small amount of time, I changed so much. What happened to me?
As a closet occasional writer of poetry, I joined Writing 101 to purely write for myself. Never did I think I was any good or that people out there would actually find some of what I wrote mildly interesting. Even in high school I hated writing and hated the fact that I was forced to read books I did not like. So when I gathered about 40 followers on my blog, I was quite shocked. And thrilled.
But now I feel trapped in my own mind. The constant search for approval has left me with anxiety. And the more I get, the more I want. This is the effect of social media. At least on me.
What started as a truly personal endeavour became something more. Something it shouldn’t have become. I lost myself in the search of others’ opinion. I feel paralyzed every time I push the publish button. And the aftermath of it leaves me in a state of constant discomfort.
It took a lot of courage to write this blog. To admit that I’m struggling. But I decided it was necessary to get the word out and share my feelings.
But mostly to remind myself to not let social media affect me. To not look for the approval of others. To do things for myself and find enjoyment in the act of doing. To remind myself of the following lines from The Fountainhead:
Peter, before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. The work, not the people. Your own action, not any possible object of your charity.
Fellow bloggers, if you’ve gone through this as well, I’d love to hear what you do to cope.
This post is written for WordPress’ Writing 101 topic: take a cue from your readers.