Over the last month, on my social media break (as much as work allows), I’ve noticed a few things. Things about my life that I completely missed in the non-stop app switch that is social media. Firstly, I’m not very satisfied with my life. I keep looking for meaning and coming up short. And yes, to be honest, it’s hard to tell if it’s general dissatisfaction or if I’m going through something. But the feeling remains.
And secondly, feeling good (making myself proud and doing what I want) has motivated me. And then, I started chasing the algorithm. Which algorithm might you be asking and concerning what? The short version is all of them and everything. From Google to Instagram, Twitter to Pinterest, I was creating and somewhat existing to tick a box. Except, the box was unclear at best or invisible at worst.
IRL and online, I was looking outside myself for that pat on the back that seemingly never came.
But I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to spend the next 20+ years of my working life unfulfilled and ticking boxes. And that’s precisely why I work for myself to have the freedom to create and do what feels good to me, especially when it comes to this blog. But also when it comes to living my life. It has to be my number one priority; I’m no good to anyone if I don’t find a way to put my happiness first.
And so, with all this figured out, this thought keeps popping in my head. It taunts me that I should have got a handle on this stuff already. That I should know better and that I can’t seem to learn my lesson on this one. I’ve been here before when I’ve felt disconnected from my life and threw in the towel.
At various stages throughout my life, I’ve been here before. Sitting on the steps of my first real home here, wondering if the choices I’ve made are going to create a life for us or sink us. Wondering if I’m capable, worthy or deserving. Wanting so desperately to make it all work. Exhausted by the very prospect.
But I won’t beat myself up for stumbling at this point again.
And just so that we are all on the same page, I know now that it’s time to seek some help. So that I can maintain the life I want to live and see it through using tools I’m yet to learn. At this stage, I’m not sure how much of that process I’m going to document here, but I’m permitting myself to share what I want. To stop being afraid of upsetting someone or putting a foot out of place. And to say nothing when it feels like something that is mine.
It turned out, in the end, I’m still a blogger. After reading Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work, I realised that instead of racking my brain week in and week out for what I hope people or algorithms want, I could share what I’m loving/doing/enjoying instead. I could document the process.
Which, if I had paid attention, some of you have been saying all along. Yet everyone says a blog can’t be successful unless you focus solely on giving the reader what they want. Make it entirely about them and what they need. But I won’t survive if I do it that way. I’ve always found an overlap between you and me; we often go through the same things.
Let’s hope this is one of those times you are happy to come along for the ride.
Some of you aren’t going to believe this. Maybe I’ve claimed a comeback one too many times. But I’ve been throwing around some ‘show’ ideas for the YouTube channel too. I’m 100% not sure if I can pull them off yet, but I thought, that’s also the sort of thing you guys may want to join me in figuring out. And speaking of comebacks. I decided that while I’ve enjoyed experimenting with my hair colour again, I miss the blue. It felt like me, and I miss it. So, with some effort from the team, it’s making a comeback.
I’ve been here before, questioning myself and my ideas. Back in May 2020, I would give the blog a bunch of my effort and see what results I could get. Make a decision then if blogging was still for me after all this time. It’s hard to confront that the only real skill I’ve spent any time developing in the past decade might be obsolete.
But in facing that head-on, I learned that there is still a living to be made in blogging. Yes, it means a few more ads or affiliate links when the occasions arise, but it also means the blog is a business. Worthy of time in my work week and not just being relegated to those exhausted moments at the side.
The funny part is that maybe you won’t notice a change.
Funny haha, I mean, not funny, strange. If you follow the blog or the socials, maybe it won’t feel that different. I don’t plan on changing the topics I blog about, nor do I plan to conform to some new schedule or content plan. My haphazard style of posting will probably continue to bump from where to buy guides to rants and back again. That may all look very familiar, and I’m okay with that.
Taking a social media break has allowed me to check in with myself in a way I haven’t done for a while. Not looking at those ‘doing more than me to figure out what it is for me to share, but asking myself what I want. Everything feels different for me now. That’s what matters, or should matter, for any of us.
How amazing is it that we live in a time when women can decide to start a business, blog or personal brand and do it for themselves? For the things that matter to them like time, freedom and space to dig deeper into what makes them tick? To side hustle or create and ensure that their finances are their own. I’ll never forget how empowering it was to find, inspect and buy my own car. I imagine that feels a world away from women unable to open bank accounts without husbands or enter public bars.
The quiet of being without other people’s opinions or their fears allowed me the space to hear my own voice. To stand on my own two feet and ask the questions of myself that I hadn’t taken the time to ask in too long. What do I want? Am I happy? Why do I do what I do, and is there anything else I’d rather be doing?
The answer is I’m right where I want to be, with room to grow and options to explore. I’m a writer, a photographer, a blogger and a creative. And, since I saw my first magazine with pages of glossy advertisements, I’m a marketer. So it’s time to stop questioning all of that and start doing.
I’m back from my social media break and ready to roll.
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.
OMG!!! I’ve been dealing with the same thing in my blogging life. Thank you for sharing this journey because you have encouraged me to keep going and to place myself as a priority too.
You’re so welcome. I’m glad it was here when you needed it. It was one of those posts I wondered if I should publish, but I’m glad I did.
Always happy to read this blog.
Thank you, Pat. Always a pleasure to have you here. 🙂