Sam Cote ‘23 on not letting Instagram affect your creative output

It isn’t easy being a freelance photographer, illustrator, youtuber and to be writing your first novel. Enter Sam Cote. Sam Cote is a sophomore international relations and anthropology major who has gained attention on campus for his photography as well as illustration-based designs. He most recently has been focusing on his new YouTube channel which features lifestyle videos and shoe reviews as well as his fantasy novel.

“I definitely sometimes worry I am forgoing a lot of growth in favor of a wide breadth of smaller growth, but the idea of cutting out any of them is not an option for me, they all tend to different purposes and physiological needs.”

Sam Cote is from Hopkinton Massachusetts and has been a creative his whole life. He says that the first inspiration for this fantasy novel he is writing now came in 7th grade.

“Our school implemented this weird extra period at the end of everyday… we were supposed to do an activity but no one ever did. My friend just came up to me one time and said he invented this whole new language and we created this whole world around it.” 

Eight years later and that small spark in middle school has turned into a full-fledged story which Sam has created. Like many fantasy novels, not only is Sam tasked with writing the story but he also has a responsibility of building the world around the story. He has already created maps plotting the different geographical locations in the world as well as created different government entities and politics that exist within the book.

That being said, Sam is not looking to “Cheapen the whole effort” of the story, as he put it, by leaving the story hollow and just relying on the coolness of the world building.

Cote says the book has no timeline to being done and is still in the beginning stages.

Cote’s Instagram account @samtheminuteman has over 1500 followers and features his best photos. Recently Cote took a break from Instagram for the entire month of February. He continued to take his photos but didn’t post them on the account.

“I felt a conflict between the art I was creating and the modes of distribution” Said Cote. “My relationship with Instagram is worse than I thought… In the back of my head while I was taking photographs there was always will my followers like this? Does this match with everything else on my grid?… I needed to figure out how to distribute my photography in a way that doesn’t harm me.”

Cote said the month away from Instagram was good and he learned a lot about himself and how he makes his art. He is continuing the post regularly on YouTube and is now slowly getting back into posting pictures on Instagram in the healthiest way. 

To learn more about Sam and his experience check out his YouTube channel. The most recent video talks all about his opinions on art and Instagram and how he stayed away for a whole month!



Story by LaunchPad Global Fellow Jackson Siporin ’22; photo supplied