Writing Is A Losing Game... Thoughts On New Media For “Writers”
“Plant a lot. Harvest a few.”
— Seth Godin
Getting others to view, read, or glance at your creative projects is problematic, to say the least.
An artist can ask someone to view a painting, which takes a few seconds.
A musician will need to steal a few minutes so the listener can hear a song.
A filmmaker will need a few minutes, but then may ask for a few hours...
With writing, a writer needs the reader’s undivided attention for an extended period of time. Then, the writer has to hope the reader appreciates the message, the style, and so on.
Writing is a bit of a losing game.
But storytelling isn’t. With other types of media such as vlogging or a podcast, the writer can deliver the same message or unique view of the world in a shorter period of time, to a larger audience.
The King Of The Vlog
You can’t talk about vlogging without talking about Casey Neistat.
I’ve recently become obsessed with his vlog, which technically ended in November, 2016, after nearly 500 daily episodes (but began again today…).
Everyday, Neistat gets up around 5:30am and finishes his edits from the previous day.
Then, he usually runs 7–16 miles before heading to work. During his day job, he films the ins and outs of his life as a filmmaker, public speaker, etc.
His tremendous work ethic isn’t the only thing that impresses his audience of nearly 7 million followers. Neistat jets around New York on a motorized skateboard, while holding a ten-pound camera to vlog with.
His work and thought process follows the 80/20 Principle, where the bulk of the work is done behind-the-scenes to make it seem effortless.
This means he’ll set up a camera and then walk through a scene like someone is filming him, even though he’s working solo (his studio is also wildly functional and organized.)
This all started due to the following quote:
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.”
This likely comes from Stoicism, but Neistat first heard it from Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle Is The Way and more recently, Ego Is The Enemy.
Quality Versus Quantity
With writing, it seems like you should always spend as much time as possible to perfect a piece before submitting it into the world, but the world doesn’t really work that way anymore.
There has to be a balance between writing quality and quantity, which is the difference between Neistat’s vlog and his film work. He spends as much time as he can on each, but the daily deadline means he’s got to finish and upload the “movie” by 8am, the following day.
For a writer, I think this could be the difference between daily posts and writing a book. There needs to be something that the writer does every single day, rain or shine, in order to improve quickly.
Neistat took off two years after getting a show picked up by HBO because he was essentially waiting for offers that never came. He had “made it.”
Looking back, he said he could have learned these same lessons from a month of working, versus two years of waiting.
Maybe vlogging isn’t your thing, but what are you waiting for?
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