What happened to your book? | Show notes

This past weekend, I had an interesting conversation on my way home from Kat’s going away party– I was in the car with her aunt and grandma, and her aunt asked me what had ever happened to my book? (I had self-published in 2011/2012) and though I had published 2 she had only read the first and as she said: she was hooked.

I awkwardly explained that I had become self-conscious about it, and had taken it down in an effort to edit it and make it something more to my liking. But a thought struck me recently– when it comes to books, how important is it that I like the book I’m creating really?

Even though it’s still in progress I feel like I do actually like it now more than ever, but does it really matter? I mean you think about something like even this channel– I don’t watch my videos further than editing them. I cringe watching it when my boyfriend puts it on– even if I like the video, my perception of it after filming is usually like whatever– and then I edit it and manage to put it up and that’s that. I don’t watch them… But they aren’t really for me. They are created for me to express myself, but not for me to consume, so if others enjoy something I create, and I don’t, who’s opinion matters?

Show Notes: (the future of the blog)

Well, that didn’t take long.
I still haven’t fully decided how I’m going to do this. Frankly, for a Slytherin I’m intolerably indecisive when it comes to things like this (or at least as of late). But here’s the thing, I have decided on a couple of things.

#1 – Show notes:

This one has been kind of a long time coming. I’m embarrassed to admit, I came up with this idea months ago. I’ve debated for some time holding off on it, maybe using it as a feature for my future Patreon if I decided to go down that road, but honestly at this point, I kind of just want to do this because it’s just sitting there. I spend a LOT of time writing out show notes for each video I make. Whether it’s just a general note of things I want to talk about or a full ‘script’ there’s a lot of information that doesn’t always make it into the video, so I figured these show notes might offer people who enjoy my videos a sort of behind the scenes look into my process.
Why share them now? Aren’t we seeing them in the video?
Yes and no. My videos aren’t specifically scripted; even if I write out what amounts to a script when it comes time to film videos– things don’t always end up the way I wrote them, and that’s a good thing. I thought it might be fun to offer readers and viewers a behind the scenes take on my vlogs. I also have a number of videos that I had notes for that never made it or videos that have already been done that I have notes for all of which could eventually be shared here.
#2 – Archives
One of the biggest questions I’ve been trying to figure out is how I want to do these show notes, and what happens to the content already available here? Should I just leave this as purely an archival site, sharing show notes through another platform like Tumblr? Or should I utilize the subscriber base I’ve already procured on WordPress and post the show notes here offering a mix of both the video itself in each post along with the show notes for said video? This to me seems like the most obvious choice, at least for the time being. I’ve spent a good amount of time building up the audience that I already have, it would be a shame to just abandon that and leave the blog purely for archival purposes without ever updating things.
 
#3 – Essays, Podcasts, and Shorts
Now that I’ve officially left Wix for WordPress, there’s a number of things that I still think I want to share. I have tentative plans to share some essays as a YouTube video (maybe a compilation of 2 or 3, I haven’t decided yet) and even more tentative plans to archive all podcast episodes with YouTube (and any future episodes that may occur).  The psychical written copies of the essays will continue to live on through the blog, and eventually, once I’m settled on how I want to do things I can archive podcast episodes here as well (but more on that in future). As for short stories, I’m not sure I’ll be sharing the ‘original’ Wix versions anytime soon but that isn’t to say I won’t want to share them in future, which I think is part of why this blog has been next to impossible to get rid of. I just have a thousand and one ideas and plans and thoughts and I like to keep my options open.
What does this all mean? In the abstract, it means that this blog will be a lot more active than it usually is. Between ‘new’ show notes, and old show notes I could reasonably put up a new post every day, and if ever there’s a time when I want to share some type of thought or note that isn’t necessary vlog specific, that could also be done on a non-vlog day. This offers me plenty of options with how I proceed with the blog in question and keeping up everything as I’ve wanted to for all this time.
I don’t know yet whether or not I’ll take the time to make actual blogs again, frankly show notes are something in between a blog and a script. They probably read enough like a blog post but a number of them can be a little jumpy as they are meant to serve more as talking points than as scripts. Ultimately I feel like this will offer me a considerable amount of freedom because the blog isn’t so much about blogging and whatever that means, as it is, sharing a behind the scenes look at something new that I’m working on, mixed in with other things on my mind. Maybe there are more thoughts I have on a story than I want or can put in a video, and rather than crowding my YouTube description box with all of this, I can share it in a long-form blog post. Where the idea came from, my motivations, or even addendums/author notes. This will open greater creative avenues for me, and hopefully, allow an even greater interaction with subscribers as they will be able to have an even deeper depth into my work than what would be traditionally seen through vlogs. Or at least, that’s the hope and idea. They can also comment here and leave suggestions for topics and ideas, answer polls and everything in between.

The 18 Things I Learned, Failing at Self Publishing

In 2011 I made the decision to self publish my novel to a resounding failure. What went wrong, what could I have done better, and what did I learn along the way?
  1. Self-doubt is real- In the immediate aftermath of failing at any dream, your mind will reel with self-doubt. A lot of negative thoughts will hit you at once and you’ll find yourself wanting to give up. Don’t do it.
  2. Ignore the Comments- Not everyone is going to like your work and the reasons why are often personal– in the words of RuPaul, what other people think of me is none of my business… use this to your advantage.
  3. Perfectionism is a fool’s errand- Perfectionism is this shiny little notion that you can create something universally beloved, yet even things that are loved by tons of people, have haters. Nothing is universal. There are things I have disliked or (won’t even try to read/watch) simply because EVERYONE is obsessed with it and I just get sick of hearing about it. It’s not personal, people just have different tastes.
  4. Marketing is imperative (readers won’t just find you)- Just because you wrote an amazing book, doesn’t mean readers will just magically flock to it. Word of mouth is a great promotional tool, but you can’t depend solely on your friends telling other friends and hoping everything will just fall into place. Sometimes you have to be willing to put yourself out there more. There are plenty of writing blogs that feature other authors, magazines to publish essays or excerpts, Facebook groups, and forums to show off your work. Use these tools to grow your brand and get people to find you.
  5. Utilize your social media –  I have a confession, I kind of hate social media most of the time. But I use it because it’s the way in which you get your message to a wider audience. Hashtags are your friend; a lot of writers aren’t the biggest fans of social media, but if you’ve managed to cultivate some type of platform, it might be a good idea to keep that going and use it to your advantage- if you’re not sure how to do to something do your research (but more on that later).
  6. If you don’t like it, why should anyone else? – I didn’t really like the version of the novel that I actually self published. But I was so sick of editing and re-writing that I just thought, screw it, and went with it anyway. Sure there were some who loved it, but my not loving it made me weary to even try to promote it and ultimately it just died in limbo because of it.
  7. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH- There is admittedly, a learning curve to publishing yourself, from marketing, to what your process should be, where to go and what editor/designer you should contact to help you. Research is 100% necessary. The great thing about the internet is anything can be found at any time and about any subject. If you have questions, chances are you’re not alone. Google is your friend; if someone you trust talks about someone they went to for an editing service maybe look into it.
  8. Conflicting Advice- The negative to the above approach is of course, that not everyone will agree on what is and isn’t the right way to go when it comes to self publishing– so you may need to try and find a consensus or check the pros and cons for yourself. Not everyone’s journey will apply to you and that’s okay.
  9. If you look at it as a last resort, that’s not the best attitude to approach it with– One big mistake I made, was looking at self publishing as sort of a… well everything else failed, what have I got to lose? mentality. Going into self publishing with a defeated attitude almost guarantees it’s not going to go well. Why would it? It goes back to point 6. If I don’t like it, why should anyone else?
  10. Success is how you define it and it takes time- Patience is a virtue that I don’t often have. Especially when it comes to my work. I’ve worked hard for over a decade to get to where I am today, but my successes thus far don’t look quite how I’d imagined them in my youth. But that’s okay. That doesn’t minimize my success. It’s important to be able to recognize that it takes time and ultimately it’s okay to re-evaluate what you consider to be success.
  11. Don’t compare yourself to others, their road is not your road- Around the time of my self publishing journey, a good friend I’d met through blogging was also self publishing her novel. She had randomly decided to write it out of boredom and self published it to a considerable amount of success roughly six months to a year later. I was happy for her, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous at the time. I had been working for years, how could she just swoop in and be great? The problem is, her path isn’t my path, and my path isn’t hers. She put in the work. She joined a writing group, made friends with bookstores, and actively campaigned to get her book into spaces where I just sort of hummed about it. She was successful because even though I had been working longer, she worked smarter. Success isn’t about how long you do something it’s about doing it well, and putting in the effort and not being afraid to take chances.
  12. The worst someone can say is no- There’s a good chance you’ll hear this a lot if you’ve been in writing for any length of time. I’ve been rejected by multiple agents, multiple times, and though it can be difficult to hear, it’s good practice for other avenues where you may hear no a lot. It’s okay. If a bookstore doesn’t want to put your book up that’s okay. If someone doesn’t want to host a signing or write a review, that’s not the end of the world. It never hurts to ask.
  13. Leverage your contacts- I happen to be friends with an amazing artist, so when I decided to self publish I decided to ask her for her help in creating the cover art. I was also friends with a brilliant editor who was able to edit my book too. Ask around, and leverage whatever contacts you find… self publishing can be pricey and if you have a friend who is willing to help you for a more modest fee or even for a returned favor, it’s a good idea to utilize this.
  14. Don’t let one failed book stop you- It’s easy to be intimidated by the failure. There’s a part of you that feels like this is a sign, maybe I’m not cut out for this/meant to do this, but don’t let one failure stop you from your dreams. As J.K.Rowling pointed out, failure is inevitable. 
  15. Invest in yourself and in your work- If you’re lucky enough to have any kind of financial success put no less than 50% back into your work, into marketing, blog ads, Facebook ads, Instagram whatever you can afford. The more you market the book the better your success, your earnings should go to your work more than you.
  16. You can’t know everything- Even if you do everything right, or think you did, failure still is apart of life. It’s better to have failed than not to have ever tried.
  17. LEARN- You may not succeed the way you think you ought to. Learn from it. What went wrong? How can you do better? Every mistake, every misstep is a possibility for learning and success in the future.
  18. Bonus: Two things… you can submit your book to Publishers Weekly for review before it comes out– also through KDP and CreateSpace you can create a pre-order for your book up to 3 weeks before launch, and create buzz for your project.
At the time, I thought I was doing everything right. I thought I was making the right decisions, and following the path to success, but in hindsight I can see that there was a lot I got wrong, and a lot I’ve learned since. Failure is still always a possibility, but only if you don’t learn from your mistakes.

The Elusive Work/Life Balance

I’ve been down this road before, so much so that I find its rocky terrain almost comforting. For as long as I have been a creative person I have struggled to find that ever so elusive, work-life balance. But how do you find balance when you’re working to ultimately provide a better life for yourself?

A few months ago, when I first became a supervisor, I was asked to come up with a professional development presentation on a topic of my choosing, and given this was an area I felt I needed the most help with, I decided to do it on the importance of achieving a good work-life balance. I read articles, did research, found information relating to why it’s essential to mental health and helps avoid the creative hell that is burnout, and then proceeded to go back to work and utilize none of the information I had gathered.

Over the past few months since I started doing YouTube I’ve noticed a familiar trend emerging. My boyfriend will message me to ask me a question or just to talk, and I’ll have to inform him that I’m filming a video for YouTube right now and therefore can’t. Even my novel has had to take a back seat to my filming videos for YouTube. Inevitably I find myself feeling guilty for these lapses in helping people or getting back to people; but then if I’m not filming or writing, I end up feeling guilty for not working hard enough, and thus the endless cycle spins on.

Why don’t I create a schedule? This seems like the obvious solution to my problems, and arguably the best advice you see given to writers time and time again. It’s something I’ve certainly been working towards more and more. I tend to try and vlog Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. Leaving me Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Friday to do everything else, though I’m sure I don’t need to film even this much. I generally record about 2-3 videos per sitting so if I recorded Saturdays (for the week) spent Sunday after work editing and pre-scheduling for the rest of the week I would have Mon-Fri to work on other projects (eg: writing more and blogging more).

I seem to get the most creative work done after about five or six so if I were to work from say, 6-12 (when I usually go to bed) that offers me at least 6 hours to write. Assuming I spent half of that time writing blog posts and half of that time writing my novel I would actually get quite a bit accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, and I wouldn’t even have to do so daily. Leaving me time to read, work on design projects, branding further, etc.

This all sounds great on paper. It also sounds great on paper that theoretically my current job offers me the opportunity (most times) to do more creative work in between what I do on a day to day basis, and yet, it doesn’t always work out that way. None of this is to say I won’t be actively working more on finding a balance, and making time to schedule my work better, but a key change that I have to factor in isn’t just in scheduling my life more, but also in actively allowing myself the freedom not to write, not to film, not to work constantly. 

It’s easy to say, x, y, and z will offer you a better work-life balance, but putting it into practice in a meaningful way is where I really feel like I need to do more. Because frankly, I’m tired of feeling guilty for both working too much and not working enough.

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The Pressure to Create

Increasingly I have seen the advice that one ought to write every day, in order to be a serious writer. In which case, not only have I never been a serious writer, any hope of that as of late is completely out the window. Only, that isn’t exactly true. Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time can attest to the fact that I have been writing at least since I was 10 years old, and even then I took it very seriously. Yet here again I find myself, not writing. For a rather prolonged period of time now, I have written nothing new, save for a few blog posts and some script notes for vlogs, and honestly, it’s maddening. Somewhere in my head, I know that I’ve been here before, and I’m trying to be patient with myself. To take it easy, and trust that when it is time for me to write again, I will. But of course, my lack of writing has driven me into an all too familiar existential crisis. What am I, who am I, if not a writer?
 
Of course, that’s a silly question. You’re never not a writer. The urge to write never truly goes away. Even if the muse does disappear for a moment. It always returns. Even now I am writing something, it’s just not the something I feel I ought to be writing. Which of course, isn’t how any of this works, yet still I try to bend the Universe to my will, hoping, praying, that somehow it will give me what I want. As if overthinking, overanalyzing, and overstressing about not writing has ever produced more work from anyone.
I’ve always put pressure on myself to work harder, do more, write more, be better, and though to some these are signs of a ‘good work ethic’ it leads to the problems I now find myself in. Burnout. You become so exhausted from doing so much and never giving yourself time to rest and recharge that you find yourself doing not much of anything at all.
Except that I am doing something, and that scares me a little bit. Because if I’m vlogging, more than I am writing, what happens to my life as a writer? Can I ever go back, or am I simply now, someone who does YouTube, no longer a writer, barely a person who can find themselves creating a proper sentence anymore. It’s hard to complain. This was my decision after all, and if I honestly believed YouTube is the reason I’m not writing, shouldn’t I stop? Wouldn’t I stop?
The trouble is, I’ve been here before. Each time feels more and more like the end, and yet, I can’t help but hold out a sliver of hope, that each time, as before, I will eventually get back to work.

How To Create a YouTube Channel in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Decide what your content should be

And then make your channel about whatever you want because it’s probably going to evolve a lot between when you start and really get comfortable with it. The great thing is it’s your channel so you get to decide what it should be about.

Step 2: Figure Out Your Location

As important, if not more so, than what you’re vlogging about should be where you film your vlogs. Do you want natural light? You’ll want to vlog by a window. I tend to vlog at my desk because as a writer, that’s where I feel represents me the most. I have various items that also represent me, books, Harry Potter Funkos etc. to really give it a personal touch.

Step 3: Filming Equipment

As I mentioned in my blog about things I learned from doing YouTube, you actually don’t need anything fancy to start your channel. Your smartphone is a great place to begin, buy a cheap $13 smartphone tripod on Amazon and some LED light bulbs from Walmart and set up one on either side of the camera, and one directly above (like in a ceiling light) for optimal lighting. If you film near a window you should just need the two on either side of the camera.

Step 4: Shoot some test videos

Filming yourself is kind of weird at first, staring at a camera and trying to figure out how to talk like you’re talking to someone and not just yourself is tricky to get used to. I recommend filming a few (eg: however many you need) practice videos to get yourself comfortable. You don’t need to put these up or edit them but you could if you like them enough.

Step 5: Set up your YouTube Account

Google has plenty of resources on this topic, but essentially you’ll want to set up your YouTube account and follow what it says to set up monetization if you want to have ads on your videos and make money from them.

Step 6: Film your first video

Once you’ve decided on what you want your first video to be about, you can start filming. Chances are you could need several takes, and might mess up, the great thing is, no one has to see that. (see step 7) If you have a later model iPhone you can film in 1080p at 60 fps (for smoother videos). The back camera is usually the best of the two but you can get away with the front facing camera if you want. Sometimes seeing yourself helps. Tip: You can fake depth of field (where the background is blurry and you’re in sharp focus– and make your vids look more professional (see below). Note, you’ll want to be a good distance away for the effect to really work.  Alternatively, you can film on a dark backdrop (using a sheet and push pins) to make yourself stand out even more. (see below)

subtle depth of field

backdrop — Note: Cats may destroy if hanging loosely so be prepared for that.

Step 7: Edit your video

There are a couple of different options you have on this front. If you can afford it, you can get the Adobe Creative Suite for $50 /mo ($20 on student discount) which will give you access to the full suite of tools including Photoshop (for thumbnails) and Adobe Premiere for film editing. If you own a MacBook you can edit with iMovie which is a lot easier and comes free with MacBooks purchased after (2012 or 2014) Depending on your skill level here, this could take a minute to put together (by which I mean several hours) There are also a lot of excellent YouTube tutorials on things like editing videos with other options, as well and putting together YouTube videos without spending too much money. Free music (with attribution) for videos can be found through YouTube’s Creator Studio. Depending on how warm your lighting is, you can also white balance your videos (which is super easy in both Photoshop and Premeire) Use YT tutorials to your advantage here too.

Step 8: Create the thumbnail

If you have access to Photoshop this becomes a bit easier, what I tend to do is after I’ve edited my video, find a scene that I like and take a screenshot of that:

this was taken from a video I recorded.

and create the thumbnail from that, using Photoshop. (For a cheaper option you can use  Canva.com)

Step 9: Upload Your Video

As with most things, there are a few ways to do this. Uploading from YouTube itself or if you use iMovie you can upload directly from the app. When doing this you can create a title for your video, based on whatever the video is about. (See examples below) Add a description, and tag your videos with relevant information to help people find your video. #makeup #beauty #story time. A (mostly) free service called VidIQ can help you better tag videos and see tags to videos on YouTube for inspiration.

Step 10: Post your video and share it!

If you have any kind of social media, you’ll want to share your video everywhere you can after you post it. Shameless self-promotion may seem tacky, but it’s a great way to get people to look at/follow your channel. Bug your friends and family, and if you’re so inclined, talk about it with anyone who will listen. There are probably forums and sites to share your channel with. Trust me, marketing is a great tool. I don’t recommend to commenting on other people’s videos for followers, that will get your comment flagged as spam and some YouTubers (me) will delete them. Subscribe for subscribe is one method to get a subscriber base however it should be noted that this probably isn’t a way to get an active following that actually comments on your work.

And there you have it. I think I was able to start my YouTube channel for about $20 for the lights and tripod. I already had the phone, and I already had my MBP and Creative Suite– It should be noted, everyone’s path is different. Don’t think that you should have to create your channel in any sort of way. This is just my path and my advice. You don’t need a fancy camera or lighting to start. Natural light is your friend and marketing yourself is a great way to get people interested. Good luck. 🙂

Bonus tip: Take analytics with a grain of salt. Analytics are a good way to learn who’s watching your content, where, and for how long, but if you’re not careful you can go into a dark spiral with analytics. Take it for what it is, not gospel. It’s your channel, no one else should dictate your content. Also celebrate the small things, if you get 5 subscribers, celebrate. 10? Celebrate. Because every bit counts and every YouTuber with millions of followers began somewhere.

Thanks to Renard Moreau who commented on my Cissa’s Side Blog that I should write this 🙂

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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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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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?

    Check out my other social media platforms:

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