Why I'm changing my online routine
I’d just uploaded my Sunday vlog when the thought came to me. It had been up on YouTube an hour or so and there had been about 20 views. Three of them were myself through different accounts. One was my husband.
‘It’s not working for me,’ I said to my empty kitchen. The vlogs, where I record my writing and creative week, are a lot of work. Time spent picking up the camera and explaining what I was doing, the hours spent editing - and it was being watched by a couple of handfuls of people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to those people for watching and supporting me. But to make YouTube a viable, sustainable project I needed it to grow and to start earning me money through advertisements. My vlogs were not making my YouTube grow.
It wasn’t working for me or my writing business. Possibly because it wasn’t entertaining enough. Or, it was because my audience weren’t interested in spending ten or fifteen minutes of their day watching vlogs on YouTube.
It was time to evolve. To spend my creative life on something that would resonate more. I needed to focus my time on other projects.
That same weekend myself, my husband and my two children also made a joint family decision. It’s a big one. It will mean I will have less time to spend on my writing and creativity over the forthcoming months. Maybe for a whole year. This means I have to choose carefully the projects I’ll be spending my time on.
On Monday I decided I wouldn’t go into my office but I might work Tuesday or Wednesday. But when those days rolled around I didn’t want to work or write then, either. I’d come to a full stop. Partly because of the family decision and partly because I knew I needed time to think and work out a way forward. What were my key projects? What did I love doing most? What did I love doing that also tied in with my goals?
(Then I drove the school run fantasising that Instagram didn’t exist.
I felt so free.)
Something wasn’t working for me. Something had to change.
During last week it wasn’t the filming I missed, or the photograph taking, or staging pictures or attaching my camera to a tripod.
It was the simple act of writing. The storytelling and the community. Putting pen to paper.
Now I’m not sure how this is going to work out going forward. My goals are still the same. I want to earn an income so I can contribute more fully to our family finances.
But I need to look at how I’m doing this so that:
I don’t burn out and lose my oomph.
the things that don’t make me money don’t suck all my creativity.
the short term, less ££ projects (or no ££ projects), don’t take over thus limiting my time on the longer term more ££ projects
I’ve always been very open about how I’m running my writing business and this is going to continue. So I’m being very honest when I say I do think I need to be cleverer with my time and creativity online.
I need to reserve time and creativity for the offline projects. The projects that don’t give me that immediate dopamine hit like the blog posts, the vlogs or the Instagram posts. The projects where I need to invest more time but for potentially bigger rewards (and I’m not just talking money).
So - I’ve come up with a change to my online routine:
I’m going to story bits of my creative day on Instagram Stories instead of doing my vlog.
I’m going to include videos on my YouTube channel of my projects rather than documenting my entire week. For example, I’m thinking my next video will be about how I write my fourth essay for Patreon. The processes I go through. How I think of my initial idea. What the spark is and how I get the words down. There will be one video a week or a fortnight. Not two a week. Taking away that pressure.
I want to journal more. I’ve got ideas and need to get them on paper. Some of these ideas are just for me and not for sharing. Creating on social media stops me from doing this, from exploring those initial, hesitant ideas.
I want to get back to my novel. I want to finish it and start sending it to agents.
Another thing I’m thinking of doing is changing my online name. I’m no longer A Bookish Baker. It doesn’t fit anymore. It doesn’t show that I’m a writer. And I have to tell people what I am. What I do.
And my essays. I love writing my essays. They need to be a priority.
So this is where I’ve got to. Less pressure to create online every day BUT sharing what I’m doing offline. Owning the fact that I’m a writer. Working on longer projects that don’t give me that instant dopamine hit. Being more purposeful.
I do hope you continue to join me on my writing journey.