These days I'm rethinking my 4 rules. A few years ago, I did this video about my 4 rules for reviving my YouTube channel. The 4 rules are:
Have a purpose
Communicate that purpose with everything you do
Don’t worry about time
All of these rules run counter to everything I was doing before that point.
Have a purpose? “Dare to be pointless” was my mantra.
Be authentic? I guess you could argue I was being authentic but only sometimes. Mostly I was hiding behind jokes.
Don’t worry about time? The only real purpose, it seems, WAS worrying about time. I tried to make sure I had a certain amount of videos done each week, and I made sure to get them done in a day or two, no longer.
Unfortunately, from around 2013 to 2018 my channel was on a decline and it was getting to the point where I was filling out my resume and looking at other options.
Then I took a break. Worked on a much bigger video for months, and that video had a specific purpose: seeing what happens when you quit added sugar for a month.
It blew up beyond my wildest dreams and currently sits at 11 million views!
From that point on I have tried to follow the above rules and my channel has been more successful ever since.
But here comes the big HOWEVER! (I was gonna say “big butt” but that’s lewd)
I’m rethinking rule #4 Don’t worry about time.
When I made that rule I was sort of thumbing my nose at the common advice to YouTubers/bloggers/podcasters that you need a regular upload schedule to be successful. I don’t think that’s necessarily true for YouTube.
But it does help creatively.
I’m always having the quality vs quantity battle in my brain. When I work on one thing for a long time it’s a different kind of stress. Because it’s taking so long there’s pressure to make sure it’s great. If it doesn’t perform well it’s a bigger disappointment, not only because of all the work but because now it’s gonna be a while before the next one so I have to sit with my perceived failure.
And because it’s SUCH a big project with an indefinite time frame it’s hard to know what part of it to work on next, and to motivate myself to work efficiently.
Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law?
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
For me this is ridiculously true. I’m doing a lot more unnecessary work on each project.
So I want to reinstitute some more regularity in my bowels work.
Of course, then the concern you might have is “So you’re gonna churn out a bunch of crap instead of a few gems!??!?!”
Which brings us to:
Quality vs Quantity
I’ve done videos about this and might do another one soon.
But I firmly believe these things aren’t mutually exclusive! Especially with something like a random youtube video, quality is impossible to measure.
True that if I work on something longer chances are it will have some more value but it’s diminishing returns as the parkinson’s law gremlins grow.
And also, especially with internet content, a big part of the value IS the quantity. By that I mean one of the valuable features of your favorite youtube channels, blogs, podcasts, news sites, is their dependability. It’s comforting to see your familiar stuff when you expect it to be there.
The way my channel is set up now, there is no “expecting to be there”.
So now I’m in a mode where I’m revisiting the idea of “worrying about time”. I may have over compensated on the rejection of my old ways. I’m trying to find a new balance (not a sponsor) of the current way and the old way.
Things I’m doing are:
Repeating “done is better than perfect” in my head.
Trying to complete (not upload, to be clear) one main channel Wheezy video every week. It’s working. I have several unreleased videos done right now. At some point I may increase my upload schedule (or have one at all) once I get a bigger backlog going.
A regular newsletter I've just started doing that you can sign up for here, but I'll probably also be posting it (or a slightly different version) right here on this blog, like this very blog post.
Anyway, I hope this adventure journey of mine has helped you in some way. Or at least gave you something to look at instead of doom scrolling.