“It’s okay to take a break”. I’ve heard all kinds of people say that, but I never really knew what it would mean, why it matters, until now.
A week ago, I finally did it on bookstagram. Yep, I posted the reason why I was so absent lately, the reason behind my un-creativeness, the reason why I rarely post anymore, etc.
If you’ve been actively following me on Instagram for some time now (thank you!) you’ll know a gradual change in my IG behavior. I don’t know when it exactly started, maybe a couple of months ago. But the change is there.
It’s like I’m slowly losing the will to post on bookstagram the same way people lose the will to live.
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[ANNOUNCEMENT] Wordy post up ahead. I hope I don't bore you to tears. • Okay. Some (most? none?) of you might have noticed that I've been really inactive here on bookstagram lately. I'm still alive and well. But I think I've lost the motivation to take photos, you know? I'm in a situation I call, "Bookstagram slump". These past few weeks I feel like taking and posting photos here on bookstagram was a chore, and I felt like I was forcing myself to do something that I don't have the will to do so. I love the friends and the life I've made here, but I think I need to sit back and enjoy life for a bit. I'm still gonna post every now and then (when the mood strikes) but yes, I'll be in… what do they call it? A HIATUS. I could use a few extra hours a day without worrying about Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, the app itself is one of the reasons why I'm taking a break. I CAN BARELY: •post stories •save drafts •post the original quality photo without it turning grainy on IG •post stories with GIFs, text, drawings etc. I've deleted and downloaded it again several times in 2018 already and all I can say is that Instagram is no longer the same as before. I'll still be active on my book blog (here comes the self promo, link in bio), which I have recently improved. I could really use some time for other things, like: •my research paper (I only do this once in high school, I gotta NAIL it •Math (Math is my forte. Don't judge.) •Learning stuff. •Hobbies •Blog •Discover new stuff and relive old ones •so much more So yes. I won't disappear from the face of Earth. And I'll still occasionally post stories here, just not that often. I'm gonna miss this. So much. Not gonna lie, I love y'all to death and my DMs are always open if you wanna talk. Before I go, I want to take the time to thank everyone. When I first created this account on August 31st 2017, I never thought I would go this far. Thank you for the likes, the sweet messages, the support, and most of all, the friendships. Just to clarify, I'm not going to delete/log out of Instagram. • This isn't goodbye yet, okay? I'll see you again soon 😊
As the title says, in this post I am going to explain why I’m finally decided to have a hiatus, life updates and how I’ve used my extra time after that, and tips + tricks on how to prevent Instagram slumps and the alternatives to a hiatus (which I’ve learned from experience and fellow bloggers).
Whoa — What is “bookstagram”, anyway?
Let’s start with the basics. What is bookstagram? Well, in its simplest form, bookstagram is the book community on Instagram. Bookstagrammers take photos of books (usually as aesthetic/photogenic as possible, depends their feed) and post them, with captions of course.
I first discovered the bookstagram community on August 31, 2017 and I’ve been active there ever since. My feed style has evolved over time, mostly because I’m an indecisive book dragon who constantly changes her feed every month or two.
Why I decided to take a break from bookstagram
When I first excited about bookstagram, I was obsessed. I itched to post 10 photos a day (most of which were random book snaps that weren’t even focused). I spent 5+ hours on the IG app a day and it became a great way to procrastinate. I was addicted to likes and comments, and was super thrilled whenever someone comments “Great photo” on my post, even though they probably just copy and paste it to comment sections or they’re just spam/bot accounts. I literally followed every bookstagram account I could find (and that’s how I discovered just how BIG the bookstagram community is).
So, what’s changed?
1. Instagram itself
The biggest reason why I’m taking a bookstagram hiatus is because of the Instagram app itself. Back then Instagram was all I could ask for. It was perfect, it hardly (never?) lagged and the upload quality is the same as that of the original photo. Now? Well. (Warning: heated rant up ahead.)
- I can hardly post video stories any more, and when I do, it turns out to be blurry and dark (darker than my past, somuchhate –_– ). A week ago, I uploaded a portrait video on my stories. It was perfectly fine, but when I (finally) managed to upload it, it STRETCHED into this hideous landscape one. Ugh.
- Error — stories with text, drawings, etc. disappear and I have to do it all over again. To be safe, I ALWAYS take screenshots of my post, just in case Instagram mistakes “Post” for “Discard my effort” again (for the millionth time on my part). The only exception wherein I don’t screenshot my story is when it has stickers (GIFs, question sticker, poll, etc), in which there is no point in screenshotting it at all.
- I can no longer save drafts. It no longer saves the draft of my post and I have to copy the entire caption and paste it when I’m ready to post, just to be safe. When I exit the post without copying the text, the whole post is discarded — caption, photo, filters, tagged people, locations, EVERYTHING is gone. Trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way.
- The quality is shameful for a photography app. Have you ever felt happy for taking a beautiful + high quality photo (editing included) only for Instagram to ruin it? This is one of the reasons why I gave up trying to watermark my photos: they’re barely even readable anyway.
- Everything is lagging. When I open the app, it lags, exits, and I have to do it again. Whenever I record videos on Insta stories, it lags, and there’s this pause in the finished product. It’s so annoying and I’m sick of it.
I originally wanted to post this under “Instagram” by I specifically wanted to emphasize this point. Back then, the algorithm was great — every post on my timeline was arranged in chronological order. Now, everything is arranged based on fame. Whoever gets the most likes and comments goes first. And you know what? I think this is really, really stupid. Dumb. Why? Popular people get more popular, and the underrated ones go from little to zero exposure. Unless…
You hand over cash. For ads. Yeah, pay ’em off with money, not with your hardwork and effort.
3. Bye bye, old friends
This is connected to the algorithm. Because of the new way of how posts are organized on my timeline, some of my friends are slowly disappearing and lose contact with me. I still chat with some of them but it has arrived to the point that after a few months, I still remember their personalities but I can’t even remember their names/usernames any more. Sure, that makes me a terrible friend, but in my defense, it’s difficult to keep up with old friends and keep meeting new ones at he same time, especially on a bustling platform like Instagram. A better algorithm style on my timeline would have helped, but considering how mine is full of ads of rising superstars and fashion ads I’ve seen countless of unnecessary times, NOPE. My timeline is not gonna help.
I’ve been bookstagramming for a year and a half now and during that time, I spent nearly 3+ hours a day. 5+ even, in the beginning months. I wondered what I could have done during that time. If I devoted at most one hour to posting and scrolling on Instagram, what could I have done and accomplished? I could have read and finished more books, which is the first and most basic point of readerhood. I could have studied more and got even higher grades, and never had to be disappointed about “not enough time” any more. Bookstagram was so addicting for me that I lost balance and time management in the process.
I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, all I’m trying to point out here is that it’s not good to spend unhealthy amounts of time on social media, even on book communities. You have to remember that you are living a personal, physical life as well, with friends and family in it. When I was at the peak of bookstagramming, I secretly slept at midnight (on school days) and set up an alarm for 3 AM so I could do more bookstagramming, and then sleep again at 5 AM, then wake up at 6 AM for school. That’s not a very healthy sleeping schedule, is it? I’m the teenager, I should be the one getting lots of sleep! And if I were to have irregular sleeping schedules, it should at least be because of studying, not aimless scrolling on IG.
What have I done since the break started?
I’ve been gone for around a week now. To be honest, I’ve never felt so free. It’s like a burden is lifted from my shoulders. Wait, let me rephrase and clarify that. Bookstagram is not a burden. But too much bookstagram is. Especially when you’re an A+ student who has expectations to live up to.
I know I did the right choice. I can feel it. When I get home from school, I feel excited to do something, like read a book I started yesterday, paint the dream I had last night, watch some Science Breakthrough YouTube videos, and many more.
I admit, bookstagram has not (and will probably never) left my life yet, completely. I still check it regularly, a few minutes a day. But that’s good. That’s not too much. That’s not unhealthy.
Whenever I check back to my last post, the one that explained about my hiatus, I see encouragement and support from bookstagrammers and friends. It’s not a lot, but gives me joy every time I see it. Everyone shares their experiences with their own bookstagram hiatus and they encourage me to do what’s right for myself, and that they’ll be tehre when I decide that it’s the right time to get back.
I’m not wrong when I tell you that the greatest strength of the book community (Bookstagram, Book Twitter, Blogosphere, BookTube, etc) is its people. This is one of the reasons why I’m so in love with bookstagram in the first place. It’s not about following and then unfollowing just to get lots of followers (though there are those people), it’s not even about posting professional photos of books. It’s about creativity and bonding with the pack. And by pack, I’m talking about the thousands (probably millions?) of readers who share their passion online. These people are the beauty of the book community.
So here’s a short summary of what I’ve been doing ever since I took the big leap:
- Art (Watercolor painting, digital, random pencil sketches, etc.)
- Family bonding
- Won a Math competition
- Get wonderful sleep
- Read books
- Blogged, but not that much
- Focused a LOT on school (exams, y’all)
- Learned new stuff (not just from school)
- Had time to think (you know, just lying there and think about life)
- Watched new shows + shows I miss
- Tried new things (food usually)
- Got out of the house (surprise)
- Bonded with friends + classmates (you don’t know how much I missed this)
- A WHOLE LOT MORE THAT I’M TOO TIRED TO RECALL
After accomplishing several goals and having time to rest afterwards, I’m don’t regret taking this break at all.
Why is it good (and healthy) to take a break from bookstagram?
1. The pressure is real. Don’t stress yourself too much
I know why I’m not the only one who feels pressured by bookstagram, especially after being on this community for some time now. Remmie @ Remmington Reads took a break from bookstagramming weeks earlier than I did and I can imagine how easy life is for her now!
There are lots of successful bookstagrammers out there that you’ve probably heard of. I myself am struck with awe whenever their heavenly photos grace my feed. That being said, we often aspire and push ourselves to reach their level. Hey, calm down and hold your horses. You’re not them, and they’re not you. Aspiring too much can be quite tiring, you now, and you’ll realize that soon enough.
2. Remember that thing you’ve always wanted to do?
This is exactly what I’ve been talking about a few paragraphs ago, and I won’t go into further boring details about it. The statement says it all. Bookstagram may occupy so much of your time that you no longer have enough time to do there stuff. And if that’s not enough, you give up rest just to do that extra stuff, and then sometimes ending up procrastinating with bookstagram (That is so me).
3. You have a personal life too, you know
Your life on the online world does not 100% compose you. There is a world outside of bookstagram. You have school, or maybe a job, if you’re an adult. You’ve always wanted to go here and do this. Oh, and remember, deadlines are this Thursday, and you haven’t even started it yet.
The goal to do well and succeed on bookstagram is very time and patience consuming although we often don’t admit it to ourselves, we no longer attend to our personal needs and just focus on the gram instead.
4. Don’t you miss being bored?
I’m being serious. Based on my experience, Instagram made me so busy that I could barely catch up with life. No Bookstagram meant more free time. I used that free time for studying, hobbies, and even reflecting on myself.
WAIT — what if I don’t want to take a break?! (preventing the bookstagram slump + alternatives to a hiatus)
Yes, I’m actually going to write this. You might be wondering why I haen’t applied these rules yet. well, 1) I really need the break, 2) What’s done is done, and 3) I’ve done all of these during my 1.5 years of bookstagramming, and it really is time for a break.
Preventing the slump
- Be creative. Do whatever makes you happy, there are no rules to bookstagram and the possibilities are limitless. #BeYoutiful
- Be inspired, but don’t be a copy. This is wrong. And besides, you will never enjoy being someone you aren’t. Keep in mind that an original is worth more than a copy.
- Don’t get too attached. You don’t have to follow a daily schedule when posting. Try not to get “addicted” to bookstagram.
- Discover and do new things everyday, don’t keep on repeating the same boring routine
- Interact with people, but not too much! But don’t put in your head that you have to be BFFs with every single follower you have. The bookstagram community has a million inhabitants and it’s impossible to be best friends with all of them.
- Don’t obsess over stats. We get this way too often. My advice is: Enjoy bookstagram. It isn’t about numbers: the # of followers you have, the # number of likes, the # of comments. Forget all that. Just enjoy it.
- Maybe a new account would do it. Erika @ The Nocturnal Fey did this after experiencing conflicts in life and losing touch with bookstagram, along with many other reasons.
- Make it worth your time. Start something fun and beneficial, like a bookish advocacy hashtag, a bookish tag, etc.
- Know and expand your sources of inspiration. What inspires you best? Know it and learn how to harness it!
Alternatives to a Hiatus
- Try something different. Revamp and recreate your feed. How about a new filter? A new kind of shot? Do flatlays work for you? How about a rainbow feed?!
- Limit your time online. This is another good thing you should try. Do your favorite hobbies more often instead of mindlessly scrolling on your IG newsfeed.
- Talk to some bookstagram friends. Talk to them, tell them how you feel, let them help. Don’t be shy. Remember what I said earlier? The greatest strength of the book community is its people.
- Relocate to a new social media platform. Okay, this is not exactly a new substitute for taking a break from bookstagram but it’s worth mentioning anyway. What if bookstagram isn’t your true calling? Maybe that’s why you haven’t been great at it lately. Maybe blogging or beta reader-ing OR OR WRITING THE BOOKS THEMSELVES would work better for you?! Think about it!
- Give it some time. I’m not talking about spacing out from Instagram because that would be the definition of hiatus, right? Keep posting and do the things above in the “Preventing the slump” section. Maybe the slump will pass and in a couple of weeks, everything is back to normal.
NOTE: Sometimes, you just need to admit it and accept the fact that you really need a break, like I did. Hey, don’t be afraid, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a break, and you can come back any time you’re ready and start fresh. Life happens. I understand. It’s okay to zone out for a month or even a year. Feel free to do what’s right for you.
Alright, this post is already getting too long. This is already the longest post I’ve ever written. Oops, sorry, my bad! I hope I didn’t bore you to tears.
I hope you find this post helpful and informative. Remember to live a healthy bookstagram lifestyle!
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Have you experienced the same issues with the Instagram app as I did?
Have you ever been in a bookstagram slump as I did? Tell us everything!
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