I am a poet with a small, loving following on Instagram (IG) for which I’m grateful. On that account, I combine photography, graphic design, and poetry to create what some have told me is a uniquely aesthetic page. But here’s a little-known fact:

My current IG poetry account, @solaceinraindrops, which I started on September 5, 2020, was not my first. 

My first experience with IG was in March 2020, just after our first COVID-19 stay-at-home order went into effect. After spending a few years on Twitter, because that’s what fiction writers are supposed to do, I decided to start an account on IG in order to see how it worked.

I instantly fell in love with the visuals and the sense of community I felt within the writing community on IG. Twitter had always felt like an ever-buzzing hub of passing thoughts that didn’t mean much most of the time, but might go viral for reasons that never made sense to me.

But on IG, writers shared posts with intention, with heart. Poets took time to prepare gems. Writers connected and supported writers—not just to become popular, but because they cared. Within a week, I was hooked, and my time on Twitter, which had dwindled in the months prior because it always felt like I was riding a bicycle on a freeway, all but ended. 

Joining IG in March 2020 marked the beginning of finding myself as an artist and founding River Blossoms Press. 

I’ve always been achievement-driven and stubborn, a combination of characteristics that has helped me accomplish much over the years. After I learned that beautiful photos are what makes IG so appealing, I started studying photography and exploring ways to compose a beautiful page containing only my content (no stock photos). I wanted my IG to be all mine. But it wasn’t. 

I had joined IG as a writer of fiction, just like I’d been on Twitter. I used the same pseudonym and promoted myself as a writer of romantic women’s fiction, but this posed a problem. Writing fiction under a pseudonym no longer fit me. I was changing. 

I discovered that I loved taking photographs—a hobby that I’d always wanted to explore but hadn’t. More importantly, I discovered that I loved writing poetry more than I enjoyed writing fiction—a truth that I’d denied myself due to being brainwashed by the traditional publishing beast.

After all, if I wanted to be considered a “real” writer, I needed to get a literary agent and a reputable publisher. To do that, I needed to have fiction publishing credits, win awards, win contests, have a following, and have more books in my head, ready to be written (or in progress already). 

I realized I was unhappy.

It was too much pressure for my now. I have a demanding life as a psychologist and mother. Putting all my spare moments into the demands of becoming a “real” writer was never what I wanted. I simply wanted to share my words with people who might like to read them. That’s all.

IG taught me my truth and reminded me that I’m happiest when I’m creating. For me, this is not about becoming famous or being a “real” writer. It’s about self-love.

The moment I decided to break free from the life I’d built as a sometimes-writer of fiction who didn’t want to live the writer’s life, I started up @solaceinraindrops. 

Raindrops are my tears fed by sadness, by joy, and by my appreciation for being me. And owning my truth brings me solace. 

So, here I am, Ann Garcia, poet and sometimes-writer of fiction. I link words into poetry and prose, and I plan to share them with anyone who might like to read them—even if it’s only two people plus me. 

Thank you for spending time with me today. If you’re a creative, I’m wondering if experience with social media has prompted you to change paths or otherwise assisted you in elevating something within yourself.

I never expected social media to help me find myself as a creative; as a writer, prior to IG, I often felt social media was a chore. If you have thoughts on this, I’d love you to leave a comment below!

Frosty May Night Salvia
May Night Salvia