Sometimes it feels like in order to keep in favour of Instagram Gods, you have to keep going. There is no way to miss posting, engaging, creating. You are part of a heavy machine which is moving regardless and you can come along or get run over. I call it bullshit. It is not my case and will probably not be your case either. Many of us is already struggling with growth or good enough engagement and we are afraid, that once we do something “out of the book” we will be punished, buried deep in the graveyard of Instagram squares. But the things is that following all the rules and doing everything right might still doesn’t guarantee you the spot on the top what so ever. I took a break from Instagram and didn’t post for a month and guess what?
Nothing happened. No-thing. Earth kept spinning and people of Instagram managed without me. If I am totally honest with you, I was freaking out and felt so anxious at the beginning. I decided to take a complete break so I wouldn’t be on Instagram at all. No comments, likes, posts, messages, nothing (of course I didn’t manage and after a week started to sneaky check all of your photos guys). The reason why I was so frightened to leave was, that I though that people needed me. What if someone write me a message with a question and I won’t answer? What if I get an offer to life changing collaboration? You know that feeling when you go out, forget your phone at home and expect thousands of missed calls and messages? Then you come finally home and… nothing? Yeah, exactly. I posted after a month of doing nothing and my engagement is still the same as before.
I know that most of my beloved followers were respectful and just didn’t text me because they knew I needed a break and so many send me such a kind messages when I finally came back. But the rest survived as well. You feel this amazing freedom of some sorts when you realise that you are not doing heart surgery and saving lives there, you are “just” sharing your though, art, photography and what not. I didn’t take a break because I was burned out, I hate algorithm or I had no more ideas (if you knew me, you would know that is not possible). I just WANTED to take a break, just for sake of doing it and also because I had most important things to do at the moment like taking care of my amazing clients and such.
And no, it is not as suddenly brand new world opened up in front of me and I had all this time in the world. I was amazed because it didn’t feel like I got any extra time at all. You know what they say about time, we all have the same amount and it always fills up, if you don’t have time, make time. And after a week or two I missed all those Instagram shenanigans. I am so lucky to have great followers which brings me so much joy and give me endless energy and I love to create too. So it wasn’t a vacation with a glass of martini for me, more like a sick leave when you are grounded and can’t leave your bed. But now I am back!
Did I enjoy my break?
Not at all. I missed you guys, I missed the creativity, I haven’t taken any pictures except this one, I missed connections, conversations, kindness, fun. I am an introvert and homebuddy and as I like to call it, Instagram is my club. I rarely go out, but I will gladly make a cuppa and spend hours on Instagram. Yeah, I had a bit more time to do other things but you know what? I just realised that I just have to take less projects on myself because I want to have time for sharing between tiny squares because it is a part of my creative process.
Would I recommend you to take a break?
You know guys I am always trying to make you feel good about what you do and try to find ways how to make social media world more creative and fun and less stressful. What this break made me realise was that it doesn’t have to be stressful. It is not a big deal, yes, I am going to say it, IT IS JUST AN APP. We love it, we hate it, but at the end of the day, we will live.
And even though I am now trying to build a business around Instagram and I know many of you have a business too, a break don’t have to be a bad thing if taken for good reasons. If you want to “quit” because you hate everything about the algorithm, the break is not going to help you as once you come back, ups, still there! But if you like me have other passions, have a lot of orders and need a peace and quite to do an actual work, or if you need to use your creative energy to launch and create new products, then I say go for it! It is always about why are you doing it.
Taking break from Instagram taught me many things and some of them sort of unexpected. For example that it is really hard to find your way back. Posting on Instagram regularly is at the end of the day same as going to the gym. It is a creative habit which becomes part of your everyday life, your family knows your posting time and you are thinking in a tiny squares. Once you fell out of it, it is like, yeah, I like to do that, but, I might as well watch one more episode of stupid show instead. I think taking a break is easy, but coming back from it might be a bit tricky. You don’t have an energy, have no idea how did you manage all that before, and people little bit forgot about you. So I thought I would share some tips and ideas fro you how to come back and enjoy it:
1. Give before you ask back, always
Think about it. You didn’t like or engage with anyones photographs for a month and now you want them all suddenly run to you and be all over the place? That is most likely not happening as we all or busy, forget, you name it. So if you are planning to come back after a longer break and don’t want to have your instaheart broken, try to engage with others a couple of days before. Share some likes, comments, let them know you are back in a genuine, caring way.
2. Use Stories to remind them
I love love love Stories as they are unscripted, authentic, silly and fun (well mine are anyway). It is always a great way how to keep your engagement high in time when you cannot post that often or when you don’t want to post but want to stay in touch. It is like Face time with your partner while you are apart, it is really that simple. It is also easy way how to get into peoples mind again as the Stories always appear on the top of the feed. So just share some picture, write some words, show them what you do and make them excited for your grand comeback!
3. Take it easy
I was thinking that my first photo must be a huge come back. You know like when celebrities take a break and then come back with something phenomenal. Guys, we are not celebrities and the best thing is to just take it easy, have fun and be yourself. Do it for the right thing, remember why you started, remember why are you posting and bothering all together. Your happiness have nothing to do with likes you get, focus on your creativity and people and you will be just fine.
Lovely read. I didn’t think you were away for a month!! Seriously! It just seemed like a week or so to me. 🙂
Thank you for pouring out your thoughts, Barbora. Love reading your blog and posts. I have had all those feelings and thoughts you’ve had about taking a break or just not being on IG for a while. Stepping back always provides that wonderful opportunity to reflect on what drives our creativity, to have that freedom of choice and decide what’s right for our business. Fortunately, for us we do have a choice on how we use our time. Have a lovely weekend x