Focusing on the Important Things

I have a habit of obsessively focusing on the analytics of my YouTube channel. I made the mistake of downloading the Studio app for my phone, with the intent of using it to respond to comments throughout the day, only to find myself trying to make sense of something that to this day I don’t fully understand, and I realize, maybe isn’t meant for me to understand. Because I’m not creating content with the hopes of getting views or likes or subscribers. I’m creating content because it’s fun for me. Because I’ve come to enjoy it and it’s something that I want to continue doing. The videos of mine that are successful are to my mind inexplicably so and it makes me realize that trying to make sense of why this video is underperforming and another video out performed any of my non-existent expectations is both a waste of my time and frankly boring.

I love vlogging. I love that it has become something that is a huge part of my life now. I love that it’s become something that I’m constantly thinking about how to make it better, more fun, different things that would make my filming area more interesting, different ways I can improve upon things and make them more entertaining. I love that I’m always thinking of new things to talk about and new topics on my mind. I love that it’s become something that I’m so incredibly passionate about and that I’m now almost 100 vlogs in.

But analytics is a rabbit hole with no end that I could fall down for days and still never make sense of it. If 10 years of blogging never helped me figure out how analytics worked (and why was I never obsessed with it in this?) then why would obsessing about it now even matter? I get where it could be beneficial to someone, but I’m not going to change what I talk about or how I vlog just to potentially get views because YouTube doesn’t even work that way. I would rather focus on content than analytics, even if that isn’t quite how this works.

Check out my other social media platforms:

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

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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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?

    Check out my other social media platforms:

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

When Is It Complete?

I’ve noticed, increasingly as of late, a fair amount of articles aimed to answer one of the toughest questions a writer can face: How do you know your novel is finally done? The short answer is, probably never, but the truth is, ask any author and the long answer is, it’s complicated, and it depends on the book. In an ideal world, once you write the words The End, this would in fact be the end of your novel, and all the work you would need to say that your novel was complete. But nothing could be further from the truth. Novels take a great deal of work, in editing, rewriting, re-editing. It can take dozens of drafts (not simply the 3 that High School English classes would have you believe), and even then, you may never feel that it’s actually done.

I’ve struggled to learn to let go of the attempt at ‘perfection’ and over the course of my writing career this has been the longest and most exhausting struggle. Perfection is a mythology created by anxiety to convince you that you truly aren’t good enough. But who gets to decide who is and isn’t good enough? I don’t wish to decry any author as good or bad, because honestly this is only a matter of opinion; there are many authors who I just do not care for, who are wildly popular. There are books that I couldn’t get into that are best sellers and cultural phenomenon. I love Harry Potter, my friends love it, frankly most people I know love it, but there are people out there, people I’ve met and talked to, who could never get into it. And I was almost one of them. The difference between liking something and not liking something is just kinda random.

The point is that art is subjective, and not everyone is going to like what you do. It can be hard not to take it personally, our art is something we feel a great emotional connection to. It’s something we’ve likely spent years on, it’s a deep and spiritual connection.

So when is it done? I wish I could tell you. The truth is, like most things there isn’t an easy answer, nor is there necessarily one that’s going to be satisfactory to everyone. Writing is a complex and personal process that requires each person to decide for themselves when it’s complete. There isn’t a universal because writing isn’t a universal, one size fits all endeavor. I’d like to think that my story is complete, at least until an agent/editor suggests changes, but I’m sure there is always going to be something I second guess and wonder if I couldn’t have done it better another way.