All the Inspiration, None of the Judgment
A portmanteau for “Fake Instagram,” the new phenomenon helps fight writer’s block by giving expression an uninhibited platform.
By Michelle Nektalov, SUNY Purchase
“Just keep writing.”
I can’t even keep track of how many people, both strangers and acquaintances, have repeated this seemingly universal advice. Yet, when I sit down and try to do just that boom—I’m dry of creative juices. And from there, whatever I manage to put on a page almost seems forced, like I just need to fill in the blank space in order to feel like at least some progress was being made.
Even though the creative block has been an inconvenience, it’s not something to lose sleep over. (Unless I have a paper deadline.) I understand that still being in the early stages of my career, I haven’t fully perfected my writing voice. It’s not to say that absolute “perfection” can be achieved, but as a proud writer I certainly want to stand out and show professionalism, so this “block” has got to go. With time, practice and my willingness to “just keep writing,” I know I can level up, and hopefully one day I can have the experience and talent to consider my writing “perfection.” But in the meantime, I’ll be on Instagram.
About a year ago, a good friend of mine asked me to follow her back on what she explained is a “Finsta,” a combined word for “fake Instagram.” The account is set to private, as opposed to her normal Instagram, and follows close friends she feels comfortable enough to show pictures too raunchy or embarrassing for her daily Instagram.
As it turns out, “Fintas” have become a popular loophole amongst Instagram users to share reckless posts without showing your conservative grandmother or innocent younger cousins your true vulgarity. Plus, you don’t have to bother editing or carefully selecting your photos to give your page that “I’ve got my life together” look. The whole point is to put yourself out there without the slightest regard for who sees it and what they think.
I grew to love what these low-key accounts served up to my feed, but it’s not the picture feature that caught my attention. Normally the photos are tagged along by captions ranging from brief statements to prolonged rants, and whatever the length may be, they’re almost always worthy of a double-tap.
So this summer I caved in and made my very own “Finsta.” There’s no way I’d publically put out my username, because that would pretty much defeat it’s purpose, but I’ll tell you what having a low-profile Instagram has done for me as a writer.
I’ve come to think of a “Finsta” as social media diary where I can scandalously share the juicy details of my life with my closest friends.
Since I choose who’s allowed to follow me, I’ve made it so whoever has access to my page are people who don’t make me feel judged. Knowing that I can shamelessly express my inner thoughts leaves me free to write with whatever flare and personality I choose without the pressure trying to appeal to people. Plus, the need to analyze and add new text that I think would sound more impressive to my followers has diminished.
I’ve come to understand that the purpose of my account is to impress me. With this mindset, using my “Finsta” reared me to put it all out there, my feelings, concerns, guiltily pleasures, nostalgia and more. There’s no one to make me feel like I should do otherwise.
I fell in love with the loose and personal tone of “Finsta” captions. When I write them out, the words seemed to flow freely like I’m engaging in casual conversation. And more so than not, my voice would sound humorous and contemplative. This tone clicked with me.
I felt like I was finding my writing voice, because the text I wrote actually reflected the personality of my speech.
As a writer, I wanted to communicate to my audience with a similar approach, to give my readers a more thoughtful and real writing voice that could only come from me.
Earlier I mentioned the difficulty of sparking content to write about, and I found that the format of Instagram can be advantageous for writers in need of inspiration. In order to even begin creating a “Finsta” caption, I have to choose a photo to post, and whatever image I decide to share will automatically give me a topic or prompt to write about, allowing me to skip the part where I stare at a blank screen, desperately trying to cough up words. Pictures effortlessly evoke a chain of thoughts because of their ability to convey a mood and pull someone into a scene.
They don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing.
My ability to “just keep writing” grows stronger as I’m becoming more comfortable with what I have to say to an audience, and as I’m working to achieve just that, I’ve realized how much practice is necessary. And the more I create any means of literature, from an article I wrote to a joke I jotted down, the more I feel confident enough to show my own, personal voice that my readers can relate to.
Using my “Finsta” account has become a simple and painless method to continuously write without running (face first) into a creative block. And frankly, it’s a really fun way to express myself like the angsty little shit I am and get “like” for doing it.