Yesterday, I did something I swear I wasn’t going to do. I resurrected my relationship with TikTok.
As you remember, two weeks ago my daughter and I made the empowering move of quitting TikTok once and for all. And the feeling was glorious.
But yesterday, I was overcome with regrets, and I did the equivalent of texting “Hey handsome” to an old fling.
Here’s what happened.
Earlier in the day, I finally released the first teaser to my next book, Masquerade Mistake. It was a moment of sheer overthinking, because I wanted to make the best first impression. So I spent a long time (hours) creating this first reel, and I’m super pleased with how it turned out. I uploaded it to both Instagram and Facebook. Then I did the classic thing the rest of the day—refresh, refresh, refresh as I prayed the Meta gods would push it out to the masses.
It didn’t happen, and I started thinking back to my old ex, TikTok. You know, that young, popular, attractive dude with a flashy smile and so many great ideas. I thought back to the times when TikTok showed my videos some love while Instagram snubbed me. And I thought about all the great things TikTok did for the sales of my last book, For the Birds.
So I invited TikTok back onto my phone and resurrected my account.
Right away, TikTok embraced me with open arms. He showed me back to my seat at the table, and re-introduced me to my 1400 followers. Then he showed me what all my old friends were up to before inviting me to share my own update.
So, I uploaded my fancy video with all the information about my next book. Then, I exited the app, knowing that I could spend hours with TikTok but I had a dinner event to be at.
Towards the end of my dinner event, I snuck off to the bathroom to check on TikTok and see how he was helping promote my video. To my surprise, the video was nowhere to be found on my profile. I could see it in my timeline, but nowhere else. It was only when I pinned the video to my profile that I could see it there. But I hate doing that, because sometimes when you do fidgety things like pinning a video, TikTok doesn’t like it. But I had no choice.
The video stood there at 1 view. Just the 1. But in the back of my mind, I could hear TikTok telling me it would take time. To be patient. That if I waited, I’d experience the most viral moment of my life.
So I waited. And while I waited, I scrolled. And once again, all those icky feelings started washing over me while I went through video after video of people doing strange dance moves, weird lip syncs, and other trends that stopped making sense since I last quit the app. Even more, I found myself stuck in an infinite scroll as I obsessed over my views and also all the things I needed to do to stay relevant on this app.
Six hours after posting, my video remained at 1 view, and still wouldn’t stay on my profile unless I pinned it. And I realized all the reasons why I broke up with TikTok in the first place.
Here’s how it felt. Have you ever dated someone you like, and they suddenly stop returning your calls? When you are calling, texting, calling, thinking they must be dead in a ditch because surely they wouldn’t ignore you like this. You think of all those promises you made together, the plans, and you keep thinking there’s a possibility if they would just pick up the damn phone.
This is my relationship with TikTok. There was a time when I would post a video, TikTok would serve it to thousands of people, and I would make a few hundred dollars. Never anything to quit my job, but enough to show me it worked and to keep posting.
But I had to work hard for those views. I was posting once, sometimes twice a day. Some would be duds, some would be winners. And while I never reached true viral status, the promise was always there.
And then there were the control issues. Like, you can’t delete any post, no matter what. Same with comments. You have to only like videos that are in line with your brand. You can only use 3 hashtags. No, make it 12. No, don’t use any. You have to use this viral song or filter. Wait, you blinked. Trend over.
Dude. I couldn’t keep up. I found myself doing all the crazy things to try and please TikTok so he would make good on his promises, but I quickly realized I was too tired to keep this up. And last night, after 6 hours of this nonsense, I felt too manic to go on. That damn video, the one I spend hours creating, remained at 1 view. And when I unpinned it from my profile, it got lost on TikTok, never to be found again. I realized that if I stuck around, I was going to go back to being a slave to all of TikTok’s fruitless promises, and it would be to the detriment of my mental health.
So I deleted my account once again. And if I ever feel compelled to go back, let this letter be a reminder that TikTok is just not into me, and is not worth my time or energy.
Now, to woo my old buddy, Instagram, and her daddy, Meta.
If you’re curious, here’s the link to my first video tease for Masquerade Mistake.
What I’m Writing
I am in two modes right now. Gearing up for the release of Masquerade Mistake, I have my marketing hat on, which, as you know, sometimes feels like an ill-fitting costume. But I’m also a little excited because I haven’t shared much about this book or the series yet. MM is with my editor, I already have the cover (which I’ll share in the next few weeks), and I’m excited to start recording the audiobook (I’m doing this one myself!).
I’m also preparing to write the 3rd book of this series. I have it plotted and ready to go, and will probably start writing next weekend.
As for the 2nd book in the series, I’m letting it rest until after I’m done writing the 3rd book. Then it’s on to editing book 2 and getting it ready for an October (hopefully!) release.
Phew! After so many months of darkness around my writing, it feels good to be this focused and motivated. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s spring, or because I got the writing rest I needed, or if it’s just a fantastic side effect of treating my PMDD.
P.S. You know my earlier goal to write a Substack every week? That was an easy goal when I was not in book production mode, but fun while it lasted. I’ll be here most weeks, but not every week. Besides, we’re flexitarians, right?
What I’m Listening To
Lately, I’ve been finding so much solace in the teachings of Ram Dass, and have been listening to him through several mediums, my favorite being the Here and Now podcast. It’s been a few years since I started my deconstruction journey in faith, and I’m now at a place where I’m open to all these new teachings I never would have understood before. Particularly, the message of awareness that we are all one spirit living in separate bodies, how love unites us, and how dogma works to keep us separate. There’s so much more, but I still don’t feel safe talking publicly about the things I know to be true in my heart. However, Ram Dass teachings are a good indicator of what I wholly feel to be true.
I’d love to suggest one episode, but the truth is, every single one has something in it that blows my mind. Look for it on your favorite podcast platform, or find it at beherenownetwork.com/category/ram-dass.
What I’m Obsessed With
Snacky meals. I have discovered that if I plan accordingly, snack meals make eating healthy fun. My favorite lunch this week was one where I cut up a bunch of veggies, cooked some chicken, and had a few healthy dipping sauces. It was like a lunchables for grown ups.
But my favorite meal this week, was the above dish make up of leftover rice, smoked salmon, avocado, cucumbers, and wasabi, served on seaweed squares. Easy, peezy sushi-like meal. Plus a glass of wine, because **fancy**.
I hope you all have a fantastic week, however you spend it or celebrate.
I don’t just write rambling blog posts, I also write novels. Find them all here.
Ram Dass rocks. And those sushi bites look delish! What a great idea!