inspiration overload.

Illustration by Lindsay Letters : via

I have been struggling a lot lately with feelings of inadequacy, lost in the abysmal blogosphere of the most talented designers, photographers, crafters, and writers on the planet.  Perhaps it's just par for the course, having taken so much time away from regularly scheduled blogging. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by all the loveliness of Pinterest, my google reader and beyond, that I feel completely bogged down and well, just plain down.  When I measure my creativity against the whole entire world's I feel completely paralyzed--like an original idea could never possibly cross my mind ever again. Sometimes I spend so much time pinning together my little dream life, and jonesing for everyone else's life via Instagram, that I forget to actually live my real life...Does this sound at all familiar?  Do you ever feel like everything has already been created, so what's even the point?

Since becoming an iPhone owner, I've become acutely aware of just how much it owns me.  I adore the perks of having a smart phone and can't imagine life without it--it's so good in so many ways.  But I cringe at the thought of all the missed moments with those around me, because I've been glued to the screen, fueling the lie that I am somehow creatively inferior.

One thing that's been helpful to me in kicking the rut, is to spend one day a week UNplugged. At our house this summer, we're trying to be more intentional about observing the Sabbath. For us, that means taking a day away from our business, to do family things, to take R&R seriously, to tackle projects around the house, to go to church, and to stay sane during our busy wedding season.  Adding my phone, email, and all things social media to the list, I find it AMAZING; truly remarkable just how much time there is in the day, and how much we can accomplish, when our only goal is to take a break from accomplishing things...

Do you ever get bogged down in the blogosphere?  And if so, what are your tricks for recharging? I'd love to hear...


. said...

I refuse to go on pinterest and I stopped reading too many blogs. I totally understand that feeling and yet I find it funny that someone at your caliber of craftiness would feel that way.. You are pretty awesome though, and you should know that.

I too, have felt that idolatry of my iPhone stealing my life away. Unplugging is awesome! The more you get off, the easier it is to stay away.

Hope you get some good tips, but I think you already have the right idea.

bethany said...

Oh, yes. Yes, yes, absolutely! This really hits home.

Especially since moving I feel that inferiority big time. My life looks so different from the pretty, well manicured lives I see on the internet. I've got A LOT of time on my hands, and could easily lose days just sadly clicking through perfectly-curated worlds. But I had to stop. There are days where I just can't venture to the creative world of blogs, Pinterest and so forth as they just leave me really deflated.

(Confession: I've probably cried about this at least six times since moving. So lame of me, but true.)

After taking stock, I realized that Pinterest was the worst of my problems. I go into complete materialistic, inferiority mode whenever I pop over there. So, I've really limited myself to logging in only when I'm in search of something specific...or for tracking a product I truly need to remember.

I also trimmed down my "following" across the board. While I'd love to be plugged into 200 blogs and following hundreds of people in IG...I just can't without losing myself, or finding myself unable to keep up with the friends + bloggers I really like.

A friend of mine just deleted the Facebook + Twitter apps from her phone. Genius. You can still access both from Safari on an iPhone, but at least that makes you less likely to open up those apps and flip through every hour or so. :)

Anyway, blah blah I blather on. But loving your honesty and felt the need to echo back that you're not alone in this. :)

Hugs from the Middle East! :)

Katie said...

great post and know exactly how you feel...but i really dont think you have any cause for concern...your photos are amazing and your crafting talents are uncompared!! you are so talented. :-) (and beautiful going away package for bethany. ^^)

Lindsay said...

hi! Always been a "lurker" and was happy to see you posting again. you have a very lovely way of putting things, and an eye for beauty i appreciated. blogging, pinterest, instagram (still not even approached that) use to bring me down a bit too. they don't anymore, i think because i really do know it's all a "best face forward" world. keeping that in mind and simply looking for inspiration or ideas and using it as my own springboard makes it delightful instead of disheartening. for every beautiful picture you see, you know there is a chaotic one just beside it. we are all simple humans. no one is perfect, no one has it all, and no one has *your* life.

Valley Girl said...

So here is the deal. I think it all comes back to "why do you do what you do." Your motives. Your intentions. I love LOVE love the internet. I would marry Pinterest if I hadn't already found my very own dream boat of a man (who forgets to take the trash out but I love him still). To me it is there to inspire, feed the creativity that is already in you. I think you hit the nail on the head, when you feel like it is taking FROM you and not inspiring or GIVING to you...it is out of balance and time to turn it off, walk away for a while. Even just a day. I do not have a smart phone (mine is quite dumb really!!) and I am very much so dragging my feet at getting one. I know I will fall prey to exactly what you have described and I don't really want that temptation in my life right now. I struggle with feeling like I should be able to master, or want to do EVERYTHING. Canning, sewing, photography, painting, building, gardening, homeschooling, cooking, baking, you name it...I should be doing it. I forget that I can also just enjoy looking at the fruits of other's labors and not add one more thing to my "to do" list. I also must say I have loved your blog, your "eye" for style be it in photography, craft making, whatever. I love to see how you view your world. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Eadaoin said...

I've been thinking about a lot of similar stuff recently, it's refreshing to read other blogger's thoughts on it. The net allows us access to so much talent and creativity that these days I think it's not unusual to feel overwhelmed and like you have to keep up somehow. I think you've found a good solution though, taking time away from the online world and focusing on your self and your own creativity is an excellent way to recharge your creative batteries :) I believe the key is to look inwards and really focus on what you want, what you love and what you want to create and learn to make yourself happy by satisfying your own needs rather than trying to keep up with everyone else. Obviously all that is easier said than done, but it's a start to begin thinking about it and asking yourself what you really want, and I hope you find yourself happier about it soon x

Lindsay - Shrimp Salad Circus said...

This is so wonderful and timely! I've been adding bits and pieces to a similar-ish post for ages and love to hear others' thoughts on the topic. I think that our constantly-accessible society today fosters comparison beyond what's comparable and a nagging sense of inferiority. What I need to do is stop checking everything right before bed and right when I wake up. That's not always the right note to start or end a day on, right? Wonderful, refreshing post, Jessica!

- Lindsay