The Response from the Universe Part II

It’s not always overt when the Universe responds. Rarely is the message a blinding neon sign in the sky that says: Go this way. Or follow this path. Instead, the message is subtle. So subtle in fact that it’s easy to mistake it for a coincidence. But when you see something at just the right time you need to see it, or something/someone comes into your life at just the time you need it one can’t help but wonder, is this a mere coincidence, or something more?

Yesterday’s existential crisis had me heading towards emotional, but as I look through my usual email newsletter feed, I noticed an article from Writer Unboxed that seemed to pertain to my thought processes that had led up to this existential crisis.

Wants vs Shoulds:

The article’s crux was essentially that a lot of us have this idea of how we should be doing something, or how far we should be on a project and this creates a spiral of guilt that in many cases make our work output even less frequent.

Part of my existential dread is that because I am not currently working on a project that this somehow means I cannot reasonably call myself a writer much longer. After all, if one doesn’t write every day are you even a writer?

My boyfriend made a similar point to the article, but the main takeaway I got from all of this is that ultimately not writing, or even not blogging with any kind of frequency, doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me less of a writer. But if I’m only keeping up any kind of blog schedule because I should then I’m going about it all wrong. Why is it, I’ve published 3 blog posts in 2 days? Because I want to. I have a lot I want to talk/write about, and so here we are. Outside of my normal “timeline”. Because saying I’m going to blog these days and these days is tricky.

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Is remaining a blogger more about vanity, than the desire to blog?

Cissa's Side Blog

As YouTube takes up more and more of my life, and my blog seems to take up less and less, I can’t help but wonder, is remaining a blogger more about vanity, rather than the desire to blog?

I’ve been blogging since 2006, though it wasn’t until 2012 that I really started blogging with any kind of frequency and really started to gain a following. At the time, I was in my early twenties, and daily blogging had become a way for me to really ramp up the production of my blog posts, into something more akin to a job, and I loved it. Until I didn’t. Towards the end of the year, it was more often than not a struggle, but I managed to keep it going. Then, I blogged sporadically for another year, by which I mean, one or two posts throughout 2013, and then slightly more throughout…

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What Happens When You Don’t Trust Your Insticts

It was somewhere in the middle of my Design With Me style podcast, that I had the thought, I hope this is a good idea. I had just made the seemingly innocuous decision to end my relationship with Wix, the company that had previously been hosting my website for the better part of the last year, in favor of going back to WordPress. I had already ended the plan and even gone so far as to contact WordPress to ensure my website was in proper order when the realization, mid-way through this decision hit me:

I had purchased an email through Wix, the same email that was currently hosting my YouTube account.
I was sure I was losing everything, frantically I called my boyfriend, nearly in tears. I emailed Wix and Google, in an effort to straighten everything out, and for the next few days I tried desperately not to have a near constant panic attack as the thought of losing my YouTube channel loomed over me.
There’s that feeling you get, that back of your mind thought that says, maybe you shouldn’t do this. Or perhaps more accurately, is this a good idea? There have been moments, over the course of my twenty-five-year existence in which trusting my instincts has served me well, and not trusting my instincts has been pretty catastrophic. Or at least, felt catastrophic.
There was a moment, in which I was making this change where I literally said aloud (and you can hear it on my podcast coming Saturday) I hope this is a good idea. That was my gut. A subtle note to self that probably, I was making a mistake, or at least I hadn’t thought things all the way through. There’s a lesson to be learned in all of this of course, not the least of which is one I already knew… really listen to those thoughts that say, are you sure about this?  If you have a doubt it might be worth it to look at why and consider what the consequences might be. It’s not that I think I still wouldn’t have found a way to justify it to myself, but at least I would have noted that thought and said, hmmm. Maybe I should really think about what I’m doing and consider the negatives.
Fortunately, Wix was able to transfer the email over to Google and I can pay Google directly, but this was a stressful circumstance all the same.

So how do you avoid a similar fate?

If there’s ever a voice that says, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this,” or “Maybe I should do this other thing,” listen. Pay attention, even if you don’t follow it (because sometimes we make mistakes and don’t listen to that nagging instinct telling us we might be making a mistake) learn from it. It’s easy to blame the Universe and feel why me? But I know that I put myself here, and now I know, what not to do next time, or at least, to think twice before I do next time.
Have you ever done the same? Comment down below and help me feel a little less alone in my mistake of ignoring my instinct telling me what to do.
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17 Unexpected Things You Learn from Doing YouTube

When I started creating content for YouTube earlier this year, I didn’t really know what I might get from it, or what to expect from the experience. I knew that I wanted to challenge myself to do something different, and originally I didn’t expect to make more than one or two videos. Along the way, I’ve learned a couple of things that new YouTubers or people considering doing YouTube might want to know.
  1. Time=Content

    We spend a lot of time doing things that aren’t creating content in our daily lives. Some of that time is prepping for creating content and that’s time we could be devoting to more content. Which is why GRWMs are such a big part of my YouTube life.

  2. Time Management

    Not surprisingly all of this has also taught me better time management skills. If Time=Content,  any time you’re spending not creating content is time wasted unless it’s watching other YouTube videos because then it’s research.

  3. Celebrate the Little things

    Success is what you make of it, but celebrating the small victories and successes (like your first 13 followers or your first 20 or 100) is important. It’s all amazing, people want to watch you and hear what you have to say, and I’m eager to celebrate all of that, as much as possible.

  4. Don’t Engage in Negative Comments

    Technically this is something I learned long before starting with YouTube but I definitely feel as though now that I’m more active on YouTube, and as my channel continues to grow it’s going to be necessary more and more not to engage with negative comments. As mama Ru would say: What other people think of me is none of my business.

  5. Authenticity Speaks volumes

    This is an obvious one, and another one I knew before YouTube but one thing you can definitely tell is when someone isn’t being genuine. I knew fairly early on that Valentina (season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) wasn’t genuine, and though a lot of people seemed to love her, recent incidents have proven that her attitude on the show was fake. It’s easy to want to put on a good public face to make yourself seem better than you really are, but if the rise of YouTube drama channels (and call outs from other channels about drama channel creators) proves anything it’s that the fake-shit comes out real quick.

  6. Better communication

    For someone who does YouTube, runs a podcast, and writes as a part of my career future, it’s kind of ironic how bad I can be at communication. Particularly personal communication. I think it’s largely a Virgo thing, but something about me is that I struggle to be open about things for one reason or another.

  7. It’s cathartic

    Not too long ago I had a serious dysphoric incident… I decided rather than sit and wallow, I would start filming and try and work through this, if for no other reason than to document it, and to share my struggle with others– I never did post it, but it ended up being very cathartic for me.

  8. It’s fun

    Along with being at times cathartic YouTube is surprisingly fun. Well, filming is. There’s something about getting in front of the camera and sharing your thoughts and what’s going on that is actually fun. But like writing, the editing is… tedious.

  9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

    Some of the best YouTubers are known for being a little out there, it’s relatable because that’s life. We’re not perfect, and if you take yourself so seriously you put yourself in a position where you can’t really have fun, and you can’t just be yourself and that can be limiting. It goes back to the conversation too about authenticity. If you’re reserved people can see that.

  10. You don’t need fancy equipment

    The alluring siren song of Canon cameras and ring lights can be hard to resist for a YouTuber starting out but you don’t need it to start. If you have an iPhone you’re already off to a great start. The back camera can film up to 4k, but you can create some great stuff with 1080p at 60 FPS. For lighting, add two lamps with LED bulbs and place them on either side of the camera, have at least two more overhead lights to really brighten up the room as much as possible (or substitute natural light if that’s more your speed) and you’ll have beautiful videos.

  11. Pace yourself

    I have a tendency to jump into things 110% out of the gate, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but one of the things I realized is that actually it can be detrimental in terms of long term success. It’s great to want to put up 5 vids in a week, but it can also be exhausting, so pace yourself. If you have the time and energy to keep it up great, if you don’t, create a more sensible schedule or you risk burnout which is a nightmare in any creative context.

  12. Find your niche and fill it

    It’s a business 101 strategy, find what you’re good at, preferably something few others are doing and fill it. And if everyone else is doing it. Then find a way to do it better. Chances are good that there’s something unique about you that makes you stand out better than the next person. YouTubers are a dime-a-dozen. But what I offer is a YouTuber, writer, and graphic designer who also records a podcast and can mix some music together, in a way that is uniquely me. No one can do everything, but I can do a lot of things, and very well, if you can do something well and you can offer that to people in some form you’re going to be at a better advantage to succeed than someone who can’t.

  13. It’s Rewarding if you let it

    The good comments often out weigh the bad and it’s so cool hearing people who enjoy what you do. It isn’t necessarily about material rewards either, sure there’s monetization which can be great if you’re lucky enough to hit it big, but it’s the interactions. The communication with people who are loving what you do, who support you and maybe that you can even help.

  14. Use social media to your advantage 

    The social media platform you’ve already built can be very helpful in succeeding with YouTube. I learned through analytics that about 30% of my viewership comes from Instagram. So I make sure to share links to my vids through Instagram and tag the shit out of them. Marketing is your friend.

  15. Take analytics with a grain of salt

    Analytics are a good way to drive yourself into a panic attack, particularly if you’re someone already prone to such things, or are a perfectionist; they can be beneficial like figuring out who are the majority of people watching your content, for how long, their age range and even where they come from, but take it with a grain of salt. I’ve gotten 2 views on a video just from putting in cards, and end screen info for them, and a girlfriend of mine and fellow YouTuber has told me that the analytics vary greatly from the phone app to computer app.

  16. Don’t let analytics determine your content

    If you have subscribers, you have them because of staying true to your vision. A lot of people try and follow the ‘scientific’ seeming analytics, to see what videos do the best, and do those more in an effort to double their success. This is the sort of thing that leads to rebooting old shows (Gilmore Girls, Fuller House, Roseanne, etc) hoping that if they can just rekindle the magic that worked a decade ago, so they can hit on a successful enterprise. But it isn’t a decade ago, and just because something hit once doesn’t mean you can repeat that success. I have a video that is 3 minutes long, is about next to nothing (save for a very attractive man stripping {taking his shirt off} in the middle) and it has over 600 views. Why? I presume the stripping, but no video I’ve made has come close to this analytics, yet, and I can’t spend my time recording guys stripping just to hit upon that success again. It’s an anomaly of a video, and I’m okay with that.

  17. Subscribe for Subscribe?

    There’s a lot of people who will subscribe to you hoping for a subscribe back, and for some people, this is certainly one path to success, but it’s not a long term solution. Sure you can get a lot of people following you which looks great, but are they watching your content? Are they commenting? Are they liking and contributing? Views and subscribers are great, but part of the fun of YouTube is the interaction. It’s the communication with people who enjoy your content. Sure it can get ugly quickly and that’s the part of YouTube you have to be careful of, but there are great things too.

    Ultimately I’ve learned a lot of important lessons from creating on YouTube, it’s so much more amazing than I ever could have imagined. It’s fun, and it’s something I genuinely enjoy doing. I never imagined it could take over my years of blogging and almost make me quit blogging entirely but here we are. Almost months later, with all the knowledge I have accumulated. What have you learned that has surprised you either from YouTube, or social media in general or just sharing your work?

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    YouTube Channel | Twitter @narcissadeville | Facebook.com/narcissadeville | narcissadeville.tumblr.com | Instagram @narcissadeville | Email: askcissa@narcissadeville.com | Podcast

Reading, Writing, &; Creating

For as long as I’ve been a writer, I have had some trouble with reading on any kind of regular basis. My reasoning has always been, I’m writing, as if somehow this precludes me from needing to read in order to help fill that creative well. It isn’t that I’m not reading anything. I read tons of articles in a given week, but none of these are novels. None of these are necessarily long form stories. They’re just general articles, sometimes about writing but more often than not about things totally unrelated to writing.
Lately however, as I notice myself struggling more and more to actually write anything that isn’t either a script note for a vlog/podcast or a blog post, I can’t help but suspect my lack of consistent reading is partly to blame for this. So that’s why I’m going to be setting a reading goal for the rest of the year. Thus far I’ve read 2 books (that come to mind).
  1. Carry On
  2. And We’re Off
I’d like to get that up somewhere to like 15 or 20 (more) by December 31st which gives me four months. Periodically I’ll update this blog post with my track record.
Next Up: 
3. The Possessions: 
In the meantime: What are you reading currently and do you struggle with reading?  
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On Scaling Back

I wasn’t necessarily interested in daily vlogging when I first started on YouTube, actually, if you had told me that within about two months of starting vlogging I would end up doing so five days a week, I would have laughed. But then I got ahead of myself. I had filmed more videos than I was currently putting out at every other day and I felt backlogged. It was great to have consistent content, but if there was anything time sensitive it sort of had to take precedent which wasn’t always the most convenient. I opted instead to start posting vids every weekday, something which at the time seemed a sensible option, and for a while now has gone well enough, the problem is, I have a tendency to jump head long into projects and devote 110% of myself to them.
This would be a great trait if it didn’t mean that other parts of my life suffer in the process, and the thing that is currently suffering is my writing. The entire reason I started YouTube in the first place. So, I’m going back to the drawing board, by which I mean, back to my old YouTube schedule of three vlogs per week. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. With Tues and Thurs being dedicated to blogs and bi-weekly Saturdays going back to the podcast.

And We’re Off | GRWM + Book Review

I’ve been a bad reader for the last few years, and I’ve used the excuse that I am both a picky reader and constantly busy doing something as a means to sort of justify my lack of reading more often over that time. Fortunately, as of late I’ve been reading a bit more, and so I have another book review for you.

And We’re Off, by Dana Schwartz is the story of a teen artist who’s about to go on the trip of a lifetime, the catch is, her estranged mother is going to be tagging along. Along the way, Nora enjoys the sights of Europe, while vaguely getting along with/fighting with her mother most of the book. Meet’s a boy who’s basically a womanizer, but that’s okay, and then, in the end, she sees her work in her grandfather’s latest art show.

Let me preface my review by saying it’s not a bad book. It’s not really my thing. The beginning hooked me just enough to string me along to the end, which I actually really liked and honestly salvaged my feelings about the story overall but there wasn’t much to it. It’s worth noting that this is (I would guess Literary Fiction) which frankly for me is hit or miss, so take this review with a grain of salt on that front. Obviously, I finished it (which is a feat when I don’t really care for a book).

Would I recommend it? If you like literary fiction, or family drama sagas, sure.

I’m going to update my review to a: 3.5/5 stars. Not bad. Not great. Another book I have read this year. 🙂

Welcome Back Cissa

I never wanted to stop blogging.

I never imagined that such a time would ever even exist, but the Universe has a way of bringing us where we need to be and along the way, some things, unfortunately, fall by the wayside. In the early days of starting on YouTube, I worked diligently to try and keep up with my regular blogging routine. I had been doing it for ten years after all, and I had only just gotten into the routine of doing it again. I had already put essays on hold, in favor of these vlogs, and podcasts. I couldn’t possibly put my blogging on hold too.

But there was a problem with all of this, in all of my worry about what I didn’t want to put on hold, I had without my even realizing it put something very important to me on hold. My novels. How had I not even noticed it? I thought to myself. I was so consumed with all of the things I needed to do for my platform that I had forgotten the whole reason I was creating the platform in the first place.

On the one hand, writers have more opportunities than ever to showcase our work and gain exposure, more so than ever before in history. In other ways, screaming into the void that is the internet can take a lot of work before it actually pays off, and as with anything sometimes trade-offs become inevitable, and so—I made a decision. I put blogging on hold.

For about three months.

It was sort of an indefinite timeline, and eventually, the pull to blog again was strong and I realized that there was a solution to all of my problems. A way to double my exposure with platforms I had already spent a decade creating. I had close to a hundred WordPress followers (down from well over 400 back before the blog name change) which meant at least a 100 new people who could potentially see my channel, and potentially subscribe, and potentially grow the power of Cissa! *muahahaha*

So here’s to coming back to blogging. To scheduling things in advance, and growing my platform.

Overwhelmed | GRWM

June was a rough month.

I say this, with full knowledge that it kind of goes against my current stance of trying to look at things from a more positive perspective. I’m working actively to put more positivity out into the Universe and for the most part, I think I’m doing pretty good, but I’d be dishonest if I said that June was anything but– rough. Though in hindsight, it’s difficult to point out why, exactly. Or where it even started. I don’t think the beginning of the month was necessarily that bad, but somewhere in the middle, I found myself overwhelmed with literally everything.

Work, writing, and my own self-imposed deadlines. There were no facets of my life that felt untouched by whatever was going on for me in June; and by the end, I was more than ready for the month to be over. Towards the end, I expressed this in a vlog I had intended to put up shortly after it was recorded, but somehow other, more pressing videos seemed to take over.

A few days before the end of the month, on our usual Sunday gathering, my good girlfriend, Adrianne and I got together and started recording a get ready with me style vlog. I had never filmed myself putting on makeup while I attempted to talk before. I had seen plenty of YouTuber’s do it, but being there– staring at yourself in a mirror much smaller than I had become used to (with my farsightedness anything less than two inches from a full-length mirror is tricky for eyeshadow), I found myself pausing more than I expected.

As it turns out, recording a video while you do your makeup is harder than it looks. There’s the whole matter of trying to both look at the camera and your mirror, and somehow hold a conversation all the while. As usual, I had written notes– detailed notes too, but as usual, I glanced at them in the beginning of the video to get a feel for the topic and main points and off I went.

On Sunday, I begin editing the video, watching it back, listening to us talk and I debate putting it up. On the one hand, it seems counterproductive to my work at positivity, on the other, it shows that positivity doesn’t just appear overnight. That trusting your gut, and the Universe, and working to put positivity out into the world can be a struggle. That you can still have times of uncertainty and feeling overwhelmed. It’s sharing a piece of my life that feels personal because it is, and I realize, I have to post it. Because it’s larger than me. Struggling with feeling overwhelmed and overworked and questioning your path are very real, and many often experience them, and that’s okay.

Reacting to Old Writing

What was I thinking?

From the moment I sit down, I’m nervous. This was a bad idea. My mind is racing with a million thoughts. INTP—the logician—a thousand and one thoughts at a time. My life for years—at least I have a name for it now. I’ve already pressed record and I’m already made up, and my mother is with me, and there’s no backing out now. This was my idea after all.

It’s been years since I’ve looked at it. The cover is as cute as I remember, and I’m almost impressed that at 12 I was able to put this whole thing together. It has my old name and I’m bothered by that, but my attempts to grab masking tape to block it out are thwarted by the masking tape all but being glued to the roll. I give up—and introduce my mother, then begin the way I always do.

“I’m your host, not for possession, Narcissa Deville… and Welcome to Hell,” I’ve added a flourish to the end, all the more dramatic. I’m glad I’m wearing makeup because I can feel my face getting redder by the second as we introduce the book and I begin to read. This is going to be harder than I thought, I realize. But then, that was the point. 2017 has been a year of challenging myself. To move outside of my comfort zone. It’s why I began vlogging in the first place. So I know that I have to do this. And I know that I have to share it. Because this was the point of all of it.

I barely look at the camera the entire time—but I stick with it.

It’s funny in a way, and almost cute in others… I was so passionate even then. Some things never change—though I know that I definitely write better than I did then. It’s easier to edit than I expect and the majority of our 29 minutes ends up in the final version. I watch it several more times, add the finishing touches and prepare to share it. Maybe I’ll do this again sometime. Or maybe I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone enough for one video.