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How To Create A Unique Instagram Presence As A Writer
As a graphic designer and writer, I would definitely say that having a consistent brand is always going to work in your favor; however, I wouldn't let not having one stop you from starting.
Welcome to the Collective World Careers Newsletter. Collective World is a one-of-a-kind creative network powered by the minds and voices behind The Thought & Expression Company. We’re so glad you’re here.
Today we’re sitting down with Charlotte Freeman, author of Everything You’ll Ever Need (You Can Find Within Yourself) and This Was Meant To Find You (When You Needed It Most), about the most important facets of being a writer on Instagram—and how creatives can make their brand recognizable.
Give us a brief rundown of your career. Where did you start and how did you get to where you are today?
Momentary Happiness began as a passion project and it was a hobby for 6 years before it transformed and became my full-time career and my livelihood in 2020. When I first started Momentary Happiness (which was 10 years ago this month), I was working in a job I didn’t enjoy and started the instagram account purely as a creative outlet. I definitely didn't ever imagine that it would end up where it is now. In 2020, I released my first book with Thought Catalog and also launched an online store selling prints of my poetry.
I studied a bachelors in Advertising and graduated in 2010 but I never felt completely connected to that degree, so while I was wondering what to do with my life, I was working for my dad as a dental nurse. I became extremely comfortable in this position, and the pay was decent, but I always felt I was destined for more. This is when I created Momentary Happiness in 2013.
I continued working for my dad for a few more years and I couldn't shake the feeling of working in a job that was never going to ignite my passion, so I knew I needed to do something more creative. I knew I loved three things at this point: the community I was building on Momentary Happiness, writing, and design. I quit my job and studied graphic design full time in 2015, and this is really where things began to fall into place for me. My three passions finally found their way to each other and everything began to make sense. Studying graphic design allowed me to eventually work as a freelancer, which gave me the freedom to write my books and start my online store.
A little bit of a backstory to where it all began: When I was younger, all I wanted to do was write poetry. When I was 12, my parents encouraged me to attend a Young Writers Camp, which was essentially five days of writing poetry. My mum wrote me a long letter for me to read before my first day at the camp. The end of the letter said, “Writing is a very personal thing, and it’s wonderful that you have the gift of being able to express yourself through your writing. We hope your ability to write helps you excel in school and life after school.” I wanted to share that because I think it’s an important reminder that if you are passionate about something, you owe it to yourself and to your heart to pursue it. Take as many detours as you like, but always come back to what you are truly passionate about. I took a pretty major detour career-wise, but came back to what I wanted to do when I was young, and I think that there is so much beauty in that.
Why is it important to have a presence on Instagram as a writer?
The most important reason to have a presence on Instagram as a writer is to be able to reach people you would have never had the opportunity to reach otherwise. Once you have the reach, you begin to form a community. If you foster a community, you build relationships with your audience and connect with them on a daily basis.
What are some strategies you have used to create such a unique and defined Instagram presence?
I don’t know if this is necessarily a strategy, but if I had to put my success on Instagram down to one thing, it’s consistency. You need to consistently show up for your community if you want them to show up for you. I began Momentary Happiness 10 years ago now and I have never really taken a break from posting.
Instagram can be such a saturated environment, especially for poets and writers. How do you stand out against all the noise?
In my experience over the last 10 years, the best thing you can do on Instagram to stand out against the noise is to just be authentic and post what you truly want to post. It is so refreshing to see someone fearlessly express their true self, and that’s why I encourage any writer on Instagram to be as authentic as possible. When you are authentic, you foster genuine connections, you foster an environment where people care about what you put out there into the world. Emotional connection with your audience is what helps you stand out amongst the noise.
When you share what is close to your heart, I guarantee that it will resonate with someone. If you are ever feeling unsure about whether to share something, my advice is to be vulnerable, as there is always someone out there who needs to hear it. I think having a true connection with your community is the best way to stand out from the noise, because when people have an emotional connection to your work, they will engage with it and support it.
Trust yourself and do everything from the heart. Passion allows you to keep showing up for yourself. Passion allows you to be authentic.
Why do you think people connect with your work?
I believe that people connect with my work because words are so cathartic for so many of us around the world and you can relate to them in so many different ways. Something that always amazes me is how someone can resonate with my writing, yet our paths and stories are so different. I find this so fascinating and special. I like to think that my community connects with my work because they find a way to see a little bit of their own story within mine, and there is an undeniable strength in realizing you are not as alone as you feel.
How important is creating consistent branding for Instagram? Or is it not important?
As a graphic designer and writer, I would definitely say that having a consistent brand is always going to work in your favor; however, I wouldn't let not having one stop you from starting. I have seen so many writers on Instagram who don’t have a solid brand and that kind of becomes their brand, if you know what I mean. When it comes to sharing your writing, I think what you are saying is going to connect more with your audience than the way it looks, but with this in mind, keeping everything consistent helps others to recognize your work, which is really important considering how many times posts are shared on instagram and credits are often lost! My advice is to stick to the same fonts and colors for your posts or have a few fonts and colors that you alternate between and don’t stray too far from that.
What are the top things you wish you knew when you first started sharing your writing online?
I wish I knew in the beginning that the connection you share with your audience is more important than the amount of people that follow you. In the beginning, I definitely had a strong emphasis on the amount of followers I had, when it is really so much more than that. These days I put a lot more time into engaging with my existing community than trying to attract new people.
I wish I knew that in reality we have very little control over the algorithm. There are always so many changes to the algorithm, and I used to get so caught up trying to understand it all, but at the end of the day we have very little control over it.
It’s okay to repost old content. Don’t get so caught up in feeling like you need to post never seen before content each time you post. Reposting old content is an easy way to stay consistent with posting too.
Not everyone is going to resonate with or like your work, and that is okay.
Your newest book ‘This Want Meant To Find You (When You Needed It Most)’ is out now! What would you like our audience to know about this latest release?
I truly feel so blessed to have my second book finally out into the world and into the hands of the people who need it the most. One thing I would love to dive a bit deeper into is the story of the title. When I was brainstorming ideas for a title for my second book, I wanted to choose something that encapsulates the essence of my work and what it means to my community. Over the years of engaging with my community, I would frequently see comments on my posts along the lines of “this popped up exactly when I needed to see it,” to which I would usually reply “I am so glad you saw this when you needed it.” I really wanted to create a book that echoes this idea, as it really sums up why I write and share the inner workings of my mind on Instagram. This Was Meant To Find You is a book that stands unwaveringly by your side, no matter what kind of day you are having, no matter what you are going through or growing through.
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