Thursday 30 September 2021

Dragging My Feet



I'm at 390 pages of about 450 pages edited and I haven't done any in days.

Too much. Too many pages. Too many words. 

Make it short now please, yes, thank you.

I have also fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube recently. Instead of editing the novel that I need to get finished, I have been making YouTube videos about Rwandan KFC and avocado chocolate mousse... Why? I have no idea.

I just can't decide whether I like YouTube or not. It makes me very uncomfortable, but I can't seem to stop doing it. First off, I hate the way I look on camera. It's dreadful. People say that about the way their voices sound when recording, but I've always quite liked my voice, and I find it easy to manipulate, to make it low and sexy or curt and direct. But you can't really do much about the way you look, and YouTube is full of beautiful people. Trevor Noah did an interesting piece on how constantly being online is affecting women's self-confidence: "humans didn't evolve to see their own faces all the time."  It's hard to feel comfortable, but I think I'm getting over it.

It also totally blows the mystique for any writer, and the viewing figures show that. It's been shown in previous studies that people fall in love with books rather than authors, and authors giving opinions and being actual people can put readers off pretty fast. So, there's a big risk in authors doing YouTube. It's like that whole photos on CVs thing. When people read a book, they have often never seen the author, and they imagine the best version of that person. When they do see a picture, or an interview, or hear the author's voice, it rarely lives up to the illusion.

Finally, the reason authors love writing is that it gives you time to consider what you want to say and to find the perfect words to do so. Whereas, videos are way more immediate. Yes, you can edit, but only to a certain extent. Fixing videos in post is way harder than fixing text in post. Writing, you can completely rewrite, whereas video takes a lot more effort to refilm. It also takes people more effort to quote from text than to copy and repost video clips. So, you feel a lot more social anxiety about it.

I just don't know if I like it or not. I swing wildly between 'make more videos!' and 'delete everything!' I don't know if I'll keep doing it or not, but, for the time being, it's interesting and there aren't that many people doing it in Rwanda.

I'm a bit annoyed as I have another channel with over 220 subscribers, and I have no idea how I got them. One of my videos about intore dancing racked up more than 30,000 views. But there's no way to transfer people over to my new channel, and that only has 45 subscribers, even though I feel the content is more interesting. It's irksome that the videos where I don't appear and don't talk get huge likes, but the ones where I do barely get any. 

I've been watching a lot of YouTubers talking about the social anxiety that goes with content creation, and the importance of not taking it too seriously - and the issues surrounding YouTube rewarding clickbait rather than quality content (because it's all about advertising revenue). So, I think, so long as it's just a side hobby, there's no harm in it. However, it is distracting me from writing a lot. I probably would have finished editing Sargon by now if I hadn't started making videos (and watching a shit ton of them). 

So... I don't know.

I'm having focus issues right now.

I'd love to hear from other writers with YouTube channels - what their feelings are about it and whether it's a constructive use of time or not? Is creating video content fundamentally at odds with the writer's psyche?

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