I’ve been writing. A LOT. In fact, I have filled up almost an entire journal over the last three weeks. I didn’t really intend to — it wasn’t something I decided to start doing, but it happened as a byproduct of one (huge) realization.
The realization came from thinking a lot lately about “inputs and outputs.” By that I just mean everything that goes into my brain and everything that comes out of it. And I’ve learned that what goes in IS what comes out. You know how they say you are what you eat? I have decided that you are what you consume online. :)
Being a photographer and so involved on the internet, my life has become HEAVILY invested in social media–blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, online forums, educational sites, etc. I’ve tried really hard to keep it all “good” social media and frequently clear out/unfollow anything or anyone that I don’t feel offers valuable, positive, interesting content.
However. . .
It has gotten to be SO MUCH. It is SO overwhelming to be keeping up on everything and feeling like I can’t miss a tweet or a post or anything that could possibly contain valuable information. This leads to an insane amount of clutter digitally, but also mentally. My head is swimming because it is SO full of STUFF. And for the most part, it’s all good and educational stuff. . . there’s just too much of it.
In fact, I realized that some days, a vast majority of my “inputs” (everything that I am consuming in a day) were coming from the internet. Ugh! These were days where almost nothing came from inside myself — no thought that did not come from someone else’s tweet, no idea that wasn’t first seen on a blog post, nothing I learned that didn’t come from an article online. How sad is that? So of course, nothing I was “outputting” was really my own.
The more I thought about this, the more I started feeling so strongly the need to access what was inside me — my ideas, thoughts, plans, and desires for my life and business. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I knew that I knew what I wanted for my photography, my business, and my life. . . I just didn’t know what it was. Does that even make sense? It was there, I was just struggling to access it.
I took a couple days away from social media, sort of accidentally. And somehow, without really realizing I’d done it, I suddenly found how to access that truthful little voice inside me — and it was through writing. I was journaling one day about some small thing like I always do and suddenly it blossomed into something more. Something totally honest and thoughtful and true. And I discovered the connection: the less time I spent online, the more I had to say in my writing — suddenly I had these amazing ideas and thoughts and plans!
By turning off all the noise, I found everything I needed inside myself.
Once I started writing this way, I couldn’t stop. One idea explored through writing led to another which led to another. Business insights, photography project ideas, inspiration about myself and how I want to change, etc. I’ve been so amazed at what has come from my very own brain. Although I know they’re not really MY own ideas. . . I just found a way to access God speaking to me (which is a WHOLE other topic).
So. My inputs have changed dramatically since then and my outputs along with them. Of course I’m not going to ignore everything online, even knowing what I know (I do still love the internet), but I’m just going to be so much more selective about WHAT my inputs are, WHEN I let them into my head, and HOW OFTEN. Just being aware that every input will affect my output is making a huge difference. I started purging the blogs I read yet again — this time only including what makes me feel uplifted and inspired (you’d be AMAZED at how much gets cut out that way). And more importantly than that, reading blogs is no longer a daily activity or a habit. It happens when it happens — there is no stress to keep up on it.
But the biggest change for me this week has been cutting back on Twitter. A few weeks ago I came across an article about how Twitter can be more addicting than cigarettes. (Oddly enough, I found out about it ON Twitter. . . ) Anyway, Twitter is a HUGE weakness of mine and I’d be so embarrassed to admit how often I used to check it — I’ll just say it was MANY times a day. But as soon as I started writing and having these amazing ideas and revelations and thoughts, I completely stopped caring about Twitter. Just like that. I didn’t even WANT to check it for fear that it would muddy my mind with clutter that would leave no room for the good stuff I’ve been learning. I didn’t check it for three days straight this week and since then, have only peeked in here and there. This is coming from a Twitter-aholic who couldn’t bear skipping ONE tweet for fear of missing something important. And guess what? I haven’t even noticed the absence. Yes, I’m probably missing interesting things here and there, but I guess I believe now that if there is something important I need to see, I’ll still come across it. I believe in that kind of serendipity. :)
I wish I could explain the amazing things I’ve been learning and how inspired I feel. Maybe I’ll talk more about that next week, but I just want to remember how exciting life right now is. I want to always be this close to my own creativity because it is so fulfilling.
It seems so obvious: there is so much untapped potential, creativity, insight, and inspiration inside me (and you). I think we just need to clear out the clutter that’s blocking them, making the time and space available for those beautiful things to come flooding in. :)
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This post is part of my Project 52 for this year — a project where I take one self portrait each week of the year that represents “life right now.” To read more about it, see here and to see the past weeks in the series, see here.