Writing for Instagram

I began a new challenge in my writing journey: setting up a poetry instagram (@nyxilotbiscuit).

In a past life, I was vaguely annoyed by Instagram poetry, it made me feel like short sentences that were really just phrases of frustration or glee were being placed on a literary pedestal – somewhere, that, maybe they shouldn’t be.

I love visuals. I love design. I love it when words, art, and design come together like some magical collage of loveliness for me to eat up with my eyes and somehow feel full in my tummy (and my heart.)

I realised a short time ago that not writing on Instagram was actually more about hiding, and fear, than it ever was about being on my beloved moral high horse. His name is Jerry, thank you for asking.

The new platform presents a new challenge; how can I write in a way to reach people with a limited word usage? What aesthetic do I want to pick? (I’ve already archived two pieces that were eclectic…) How can I reach people? Are my reasons for reaching people the right reasons, or is the pandemic causing my ego to blow up and eke out on social, instead of real-life?

I realised that I’ve been writing since I was 5-years old. One of my first memories is splattering blue paint across a canvas. Yes, art is performative, yes, part of its function is to be displayed.

But I really, really struggle with that.

Did I make an identity out of being ‘unknown,’ in that peculiar way of feeling like my hidden scraps of short stories and poems were, in fact, hidden brilliance, perhaps to be uncovered posthumously, while my aged ghost of a self giggled from above screeching ‘I told you so!’

Like, really?

I think the hardest thing about beginning something new is that, for me, I’m fighting with not only the images I hold of myself, but of others, too.

‘Desiderare’ and ‘Safety’ are two poems I posted recently. They are sweet, and not too difficult to digest. I don’t feel the same pride in them as I do in ‘Electric Chords’ or ‘Dead Drums.’ It’s interesting to witness my own reaction to shave, pull-back, set-forth, pave new ways of writing and really, being, in a public space.

My darker poems feel more ‘real’ and ‘right’ because they’re a part of the side of myself I keep in -the night owl who adores late night jazz bars and clubs. The one who got herself into plenty of trouble.

My sweeter poetry feels more byte-sized. Tea-time-esque, not un-true, just ‘used’ perhaps. I’m not taking down ‘Desiderare’ or ‘Safety,’ but they percolate in my mind in interesting and uncomfortable ways that suggest they are poems with more growth in them.

I can see that, and you can see that – these unfinished words and stories begging for me to bring them over the edge like some unsatisfied ‘almost’ release of tension – I nearly got there, I didn’t quite make it. I don’t know why.

Shortening poems has added a sense of urgency and perhaps not desperation, but an understanding that maybe the phrases we see are not the full poem – they are just part of the poetry.

2 responses to “Writing for Instagram”

  1. Some writers really have found their niche there on Instagram. Not just poetry, but short story writers too. What an interesting medium to try. Wishing you all the best, Ash!

    Liked by 2 people

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