I began my Saturday morning cleaning up my little office/work area. I had a dreadfully slow Friday and felt that the thing I need to do to make room in my mind for inspiration is to make room at my desk to work on said muse.
I started with organizing the media on, in, and around my desk. Unfortunately having one’s office in their bedroom that also functions as a living area doesn’t leave much room for bookshelves (I’ve been utilizing the drawers at my desk for storage of notes, books, and other such things). I cam across some old notes and articles I’ve printed along my journey about content creation and finding one’s voice as well as a copy of Dan & Phil’s book The Amazing Book is Not On Fire. I began to feel more inspired and yet also conflicted.
The artist and critic in me began fighting. I started thinking up of different sorts of videos I could do for my channel and the inner critic kept shooting them down. “I could do a top five favorite shows episode!” “No, that has been done too many times.” “Well, how about a versus series where a friend and I challenge each other in games?” “No body will care.” “Ok, so what do you want to create?”
There was silence.
My inner critic isn’t evil per se, he can just be a bit of a stubborn ass at times. He just wants to make sure I am generating content I am proud of. But the YouTube game, or strategy rather, has two focuses that have never really changed.
The first focus of YouTube is watch time. Watch time is, as of posting this, mostly algorithmically noticed. The idea is this: if lots of people watch most of any given video then it must be more interesting than the other video which the viewers never get past the first few seconds. In other words, if a video has a high amount of watch time then that video must be some quality stuff. This has also put YouTube in some pretty hot water as of recently and are working on refining and fixing this issue. Now it extends to overall watched time on any given channel before they will think about letting you monetize your content. Harsh but fair given the circumstances.
The second thing is consistency. Consistency has less to do with the algorithm and has more to do with YouTube’s users. Consistent posting of content will attract more viewers and subscribers. That’s how social media tends to work. Having to post more also encourages practicing creating content more. The more you do that, the better your content gets and the more people will come to watch which feeds into the watch time algorithm.
The argument my inner creative made was this: Posting something of varying quality is better than posting nothing at all. It might not always be top tier content but no human posts top tier content 100% of the time. However the more successful artists give their content 100% effort and thus it doesn’t matter how cheesy the video might be. Look at Dan and Phil who have made a career by sharing stories, thoughts, opinions, and playing games occasionally never mind the countless others who have succeeded. They didn’t do this be making the absolute best content that all of youtube unanimously enjoys. They made content they enjoyed making which attracted people who enjoy watching it. You can’t please all of the people all of the time and don’t forget what Andy Warhol said:
It’s not our job to decide if our work is good or bad. It’s our job to create. In the event we find something about what we did that we didn’t like, we can make note of it and do better next time.
I think the best solution when one feels an internal struggle is to clean up their living/working space. It’s amazing how the physical act of cleaning and freeing up space and also clean up and free your mind from it’s own clutter.