Day 18: The First Step Out of My True Comfort Zone
Writing is my main medium of content creation.
I can easily make words appear on the screen and arrange my thoughts in a way that makes me appear, succinct, coherent and intelligent.
Recording the sound of my own voice however is another story.
My venture into YouTube started back in 2016 when I decided to do a series of daily learning vlogs for a hackathon I later participated in. The series only last 4 days when I found it too unsustainable — not because I didn’t have the time to it, but because how long and self critical I was at creating the content.
For me, the written word is different. I can pause. I can read over them. I can go back, chop, change and edit what I want and when I want.
When I’m recording, I see everything that is me — my hair, the way I talk, the way my eyes shifts constantly from screen to camera, the endless flailing movements of my hands, the up and down way I talk especially when I’m nervous and the way my brain doesn’t match the words coming out of my lips. I became extremely self-conscious and self-critical. After at least fifteen recordings of the same thing and each take not being quite perfect enough, it was quite unnecessarily time consuming.
Fast forward to today.
I gave myself a maximum of 1 hour to get a video recording of some sort done. I knew what I wanted to record and I decided to keep my face out of it for the interim until I’ve mastered the speaking part. Putting my face on the screen again would only create the same issues I had back when I originally tried to start a YouTube channel.
After 30 minutes of trying to get my external mic to work, I knew there wasn’t time to waste trying to get the perfect opening. During the first take, I went for it.
I talked like I was talking to someone else on the other side with no chance to stop the recording and review it before I moved on. The entire thing was done in less than 10 minutes. I was happy with it but wanted to do another one, to see if I could do better. I liked the content but the audio quality wasn’t as good as I knew it could be.
After 3 more takes and stumbling over my own words again and again, I saw a pattern in my mistakes. I was stumbling because I was trying to recreate the words already spoken in the first video. By the third take, I could hear me repeat myself and jumbling up the sentences because my brain was trying to auto correct the script.
At the end of the hour, I settled for the first video recorded. Rather than trying to be perfect, I’ve decided that learning to speak to an invisible audience is much more important. I can’t efficiently do what I need to do if I give myself permission to constantly stop and start again.
In order to be good at presenting myself in a format I’m not used to, I need to complete things so I can practice and produce more of the same. I need to get used to talking the entire content to the end.
The video won’t be up on YouTube just yet. I still need to work on the intro segment and ending credits, along with the accompanying website content and free resource materials.
I don’t expect the first few videos to be expert quality but I do expect it to improve over time. I just need to keep making and get better at making until I reach a point one day where recording myself for YouTube becomes as second nature as writing my daily Medium articles.