It’s Monday morning and I’ve published my 3rd YouTube video!!!

I’m feeling pretty good about it!!!

Among other things, this has been a bit of a personal experiment where I try maintaining an ongoing creative project (ongoing as opposed to a 1-off weekend thing) while also still working a full-time job, studying Korean, getting exercise, and having time for relaxation, friend time, and partner time. I’ve never been able to do it; the balancing act would always collapse on me.

So even to make it to video #3 – just feels great to have done! ๐Ÿ™Œ

And by this 3rd video I have SO many learnings – with video creating specifically and creative projects in general ๐Ÿ’–

๐Ÿ“ผ The video

Here is the video!!

๐Ÿ“น The process

It’s 50 days since my last YouTube video was uploaded, and in those 50 days I created …3 videos on 3 totally separate topics ๐Ÿ˜‚ only one of which I saw through the finish and uploaded, which is the video above!

BUT I feel like I made a huge breakthrough in my video creation process in this time!

1๏ธโƒฃ For video attempt 1 (Nov 23 – Dec 5): I wanted to try to create an “easier” video, which was going to be an overview of my (real) complicated Korean study routine.

…I probably should have figured that, making a video that is explaining something complicated, IS NOT going to be an easy video to write, record or edit lol. But I had to learn the hard way!

I wrote the script, I recorded the whole thing over a few days, I began editing, and…. I just ran out of steam.

I felt overwhelmed by how much content was left to edit, and how much work was left to do. The video just felt really difficult and massive.

๐Ÿ’ค Dec 6 – Dec 24: During this time I did NOTHING with YouTube at all. For about half of this time I was sick from a bad cold, and about half of this time I was just… not feeling it! And not sure what to do.

โญ๏ธ I then had a realization: I needed to make some changes so that this YouTube hobby could be sustainable. This was taking too much energy for me to keep up. Usually this is exactly when I would just give up project altogether, with the seemingly good reason of “I don’t have the time or energy for this” – but this time I challenged myself to figure out if there was another video format that could be easier, less time-consuming, and less energy-intensive for me to complete.

2๏ธโƒฃ For video attempt 2 (Dec 25): Davis got me a ring light and tripod as part of my Christmas gift, so inspired by that, I thought, “hmm what if I create a totally different style of video?”

I tried recording a video on how to set up a new journal for the new year. Journaling is also something I love, something I got a lot better at in the last couple of years, and I’d love to share what I’ve learned about it. It’s similar to how I feel about Korean!

But ahhh this was more difficult to make than even my previous videos!!

I recorded myself making some journaling layouts, but then at the end of it, I just had all of this footage of me journaling and… no idea how to shape it into a video.

Plus, recording my journal layouts made me feel a bit self-conscious, like “gah are these layouts even worth sharing? Am I good enough yet at journaling to make videos about them?”

From a pure pragmatic standpoint, I was like hmm, I think I’ll need some personal growth before I can comfortably post videos on how I journal, soooo proooobably not the right path to go down if I’m trying to make videos less energy-intensive ๐Ÿ˜ญ/๐Ÿ˜‚

โญ๏ธ So then I had to consider again – what might make YouTube videos easier for me?

I realized that I am actually really confident in my study skills (lol) as opposed to my journaling aesthetics, and I really enjoy teaching, so it’s probably still a good direction to try to stay in the “how to study” realm for a bit.

I thought back to how I would prepare lessons and talks when they aren’t a YouTube video – and I realized that when it came to talks, my home base was always the slide deck.

If I can say so myself, I think I am really good at making slide decks ๐Ÿ˜‚ I love planning out the visual story even more than giving the presentation; for me it’s the visual story first, the “talk” part second.

I decided to try an experiment: What if I created the graphics for my video first, alongside writing the script, before recording or editing? I’ve literally never heard anyone suggest doing this but I wanted to give it a try.

The result: OMG!!!!!!! soooooooo much better!!!! It is wild how much of a difference this made.

In retrospect, “creating the graphics” is not just creating graphics for me, but it’s actually my way of drafting a narrative and doing mental storyboarding for the story I want to tell. It was just so grounding and it was so much easier for me to visualize what the video would look like and to get a sense of pacing and structure.

It also felt a lot less overwhelming!! I think my previous process put so much work after recording, where it’s harder to make changes, whereas this new process puts more of the work before recording, so editing was much more straightforward.

My old process was something like this this:

  1. Create a script <– this is where I would try to figure out the structure of the video, but usually couldn’t quite get it right
  2. Record myself speaking the script
  3. Actually figure out what the structure of the video is, while editing the script, creating graphics, and rerecording parts that don’t work ๐Ÿซ 

And now the process was:

  1. Create script and graphics <– this is where I figure out the structure of the video, using graphics as my anchoring points!
  2. Record myself with the script and graphics in mind
  3. Edit the videos to fit the graphics and structure

3๏ธโƒฃ Video 3 (Dec 28 – Jan 9): I COMPLETED THIS VIDEO IN LESS THAN 2 WEEKS!! I didn’t even work on it every day – I had probably 3 long days of work (long: 3-6hr sessions) but in total I went from concept to published YouTube video in under 2 weeks.

As a point of reference, my last video took me 7 weeks and 3 full recordings of the same topic before I finished the video — so this is huge improvement!!!

๐Ÿ“ผ And the video itself: It’s pretty good!! I can see myself improving on things like delivery and pacing! Still not a perfect video, but definitely feel like I am progressing!

๐Ÿ’ž Reflections

I’ve got to wrap up this post and start work, but wanted to write down a few reflections as I have them:

  • A useful prompt: It’s a little cheesy but something that has been helping me is the prompt, “What happens if I don’t give up? What happens if I just keep trying?” I think this prompt speaks to me because I really don’t know if I will be “successful” if I keep at this, and I don’t want to put that pressure on myself either. But I am genuinely curious what happens, because I haven’t done this before. Having some moments of progress in this YouTube journey, in between the rough moments, has been personally really exciting and encouraging!
  • Advice I found helpful when framed differently: Something super interesting is that I strongly reject the advice, “just post a video every week” – but got a lot of value from, “I need to make this sustainable.” And in practice, ‘sustainable’ meant, having the ability to create a video that I feel proud of, under 2 weeks, without straining myself. Still processing this a bit but it felt like an interesting reframe!
  • LOL very specific reflection: I find it so hard to make thumbnails ๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • The pull of metrics optimization – “more views!! more subscribers!!” is something that’s more present than I thought it would be, but luckily I haven’t felt very distracted by it! I think it’s because I’ve had occasions in the past where random internet things of mine have gotten suddenly, unexpectedly popular and it stressed me out a lot. I like the idea of practicing the craft of creating videos, while not having the pressure of an audience โœจ I do think at some point I’m going to want more people to see what I’m creating, but for now I love the idea of just creating quietly and improving my ability to go from concept to published video!
  • Rewards? As a way to motivate myself to create the content and not just buy the stuff to create the content, I decided I would buy myself a new fancy mic as a present to myself after video #3. I’m very glad I waited, because now that video 3 is here, I … actually don’t think I want a mic! There is soooo much to learn with creating videos, and to me, adding a new fancy mic right now would just be another thing to learn, which in itself was an interesting learning for me! The benefit of a low-tech setup is it’s simple and less overhead for learning, which is great if I’m trying to reduce the friction to producing videos. …BUT I do want to reward myself for video 3! What should the reward be…?