So, about a while ago, I changed my Instagram handle from its well-known @brittneykristinabooks to, simply, @brittney.kristina. At the same time, I launched my new blog, Mindfully Brittney, moving over most of my posts from my author blog, Brittney Kristina Books, and completely dropping that domain and site altogether.
As some of my followers may have noticed, I've been dealing with online image issues--for the past year, really, so I decided that now would be a good time to come on and clear the air as well as provide my personal insight on online image and being a young writer on social media. This is the most confident and at ease I've felt in a long time concerning social media.
If you didn't already know, I am an author of two YA novels, Forsaken and Fifty Days, which you can find here. As a young author, I was searching for easy ways to promote my books. For most of my life, I had a personal Instagram, like most teen girls, but then I decided to make a separate book Instagram to talk solely about the books I was writing and reading--I felt that people may be annoyed by my constant author talk. This was the birth of Brittney Kristina Books. And at the time, it was the best decision I've ever made.
When I hit college, however, my life went for a spin. I found myself questioning my journey as an author, and because I wasn't writing as much as I did in high school, and I rarely had time to read, I had no idea what to post on my bookstagram.
No writing or no current reads = no content. This is what I thought at the time, and this is why Instagram became such a pull on my online image. If I wasn't a writer, who was I?
My life was changing. I was changing.
I found myself wanting to start a blog that centered around college, self-help, spirituality and other topics that became increasingly more important to me than books and writing.
I wrote these types of blogs on my author website and I began posting about mental health and more personal posts on my bookstagram. Until 1) I realized that people may be confused if they go to my author website and find that it's this mindful blog, so I was experiencing doubts and 2) someone sent me a DM, that said, "Can you please stop posting self-help? We like you because you are a writer."
And that message stuck with me quite deeply. I stopped posting so much of what I wanted to post, and forced myself to sit down to write, or read, so I'd have something to talk about on my growing platform.
My life coach and I spent several sessions talking solely about Instagram, my blog and my online image because these things had become such a big part of my life. As someone who is used to the same routines and rarely goes out of her comfort zone, it took me a while to realize what needed to be done.
I needed to completely change my Instagram handle, and I needed to switch blogs.
This may some overdramatic to some, but I needed this.
Blogging, writing, reading, yoga, and mindfulness are all passions of mine, and I wanted to create a place where I could discuss and talk about all of them. I realized, over time, that I had limited myself to only two small parts of my life, and I allowed everything else to leak into my other Instagram.
I changed my handle because I am more than books. I am more than an author, even. And while being an author is my proudest accomplishment, sometimes, we have to make room for change and growth. I am still writing, but there will be days, weeks, months, where I hardly touch my current novel or a book!
But mindfulness, journaling, morning routines, my bullet journal... these are things that I do on a daily, every day, and love discussing, just as much if not more so than books.
By taking the word "books" off my handle, it freed up so much space and gave me loads of freedom.
Next, was my blog.
For a long time, as stated before, I wanted to create a blog blog, as I was increasingly interested in online blogs myself. The Blissful Mind, for example, is my favorite. I love blogging--it's one of my favorite hobbies, and something I'd love to turn full-time at some point in my life.
But I held onto my author blog with such a tight grip. It was my image, it was who I was, and it wasn’t until the realization that I was forcing and controlling things in my life, rather than allowing them to happen, which I talk about more in-depth in my most recent post, Clearing ego, grabbing life by the reins, and other goals, that everything changed. We can be whoever we want to be, and as difficult as it was to comprehend, I wasn’t just a writer anymore. I actually discuss my thoughts in an Instagram post, here.
And, as I did with Instagram, I took a leap, I made a change, and it was the best decision I made in quite a long time. I created a blog, to my liking, with more openness and freedom than ever before. With the intention of inspiring and helping others find their way to a calm mental state, while also discussing books and writing, my two forever loves, this blog represents me as a whole. I attract new readers every day (or at least, this is my new favorite affirmation, aha) who read my writing and in turn discover lessons on this website, as well as in themselves.
Now, here’s what this blog post is really about—making hard decisions to better ourselves and our health. Decisions are frightening, and it's not always easy to make changes in our lives, because of a fear for the unknown and the thousands of possibilities that could occur in response to our decisions. But, this is all fear-based thinking and ego.
I had to ask myself a difficult question within this transition: Why do I want to build an online platform, anyways? I had to learn, the hard way, that we mostly do it for validation, so that we feel like we’re doing something right, something productive. We rarely tell ourselves how proud we are of our accomplishments, instantly turning to social media to write or snap a photo of what we’re going through. Not to say that social media is bad, or wrong, because it is most likely the reason why you’re reading this post, right now.
But, it’s time for us, it’s time for me, to go back to my roots and understand why I created all this in the first place, why I decided to make an online platform to discuss my writing and books—to connect with others, like me, and to write. By beginning my bookstagram, I was encouraged to read and write more, and I felt like I fit-in somewhere, in this little, expanding community of indie authors.
And people grow up, and we develop other likings, other hobbies, and we meet new people along the way who all influence us in different ways and may drag us out of our comfortable shells. And sometimes, we need to make those changes, those decisions, so that we can fully embrace our potential.
And once again, this all may seem a bit dramatic. Frankly, the only one experiencing this, right now, is me. All I can do is write about it, and hope that my readers gain some sort of insight from my story.
I am a writer. I am a blogger. I am a reader. I am a yogi. I am a college student. I am a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, a dreamer. But, in the end, I am just me—mindfully, Brittney. I have ups and downs, highs and lows, and I get slapped in the face with reality about twenty times a day, and that’s okay because I’m human. I’m ME.
And me, you, us, are so much more than our online image. We are us, ourselves, doing magical things and producing incredible content.
In the end, this is why I changed my Instagram handle and switched blogs. Yes, it was to move on, transition, but it was also because I understood that it’s not this online image that I want to market and show off, but it’s me. My thoughts, my hobbies, my life.
I also officially deleted all of my “personal” accounts, because personal me IS professional me and I am so much more than an Instagram account.
What is your take on the online image and business Instagrams? I’d love to know—comment below!
Also, if you enjoyed this post, like, share and refer back to it whenever you’d like! This content is here for me, sure, but more so for YOU!