Why You Need To Actually Create Less

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Michael Thompson is amazing. Let me just put that out there for the record.

Yesterday we spoke about my YouTube channel for an hour and he gave me a TON of wisdom..

One of them is this simple idea..
Creating less is actually more.

Don’t Hate Me Yet

You see, I made an announcement recently that my YouTube channel will feature five new videos every single week.

It was going to be a daily vlog (meaning new videos every Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.).

And by all accounts I’ve succeeded so far.

This month I went from 47 to 486 subscribers, published 20 videos, and received tons of comments/likes from people who enjoy my content on Medium. Tiffany Sun even showed me some love!

-[‘7y8u

By all accounts, the channel has been good, and I’ve had a lot of fun making these videos..


You Shouldn’t Just Be ‘Good’

It’s time for me to be honest..

On many of the days I created new videos, I basically just threw shit together.

Like, I thought about a topic on that day, did a talking head video, and threw caution to the wind in the filmmaking and editing process.

I think it showed, too.

Yes, I was fulfilling my goal of posting 5 times per week, but was I even proud of the video I put out?

I thought this is what it was supposed to feel like to be a daily vlogger.

Constant scrambling, creating, and learning.

But then I realized something…

My first video STILL has FAR more views than any other video I’ve created thus far. You know what the difference between that video and 95% of the rest of my videos was?
I actually planned that one.

I wrote the “script,” story-boarded shots (YEAH, isn’t that crazy?), and set everything up meticulously.

It took me one full day to shoot and edit everything, but if you include the “planning” bit, it took me another full day to ideate the video.

It works, and I know it works. You know why?

Because there was a storyline.

Because I could actually see the movie playing in my head before I created it — and I KNEW it would make sense..

In short, this wasn’t happening with my vlogs..

When I started vlogging, I had no idea how certain shots would line up..

I had no time to think about that because I was too busy working on other things WHILE vlogging. You know?

And for me, someone who JUST started making films again, I just didn’t know how to cope with this disorganization.

I think it’s easier for someone like Casey Neistat who has YEARS of filmmaking experience as well.


Why Creating Less Is Actually More

Here’s a summary of what Michael Thompson said to me..

Time Off Is The 🔑 To Better Ideas

The best ideas come to me on my off days. When I give myself space from my work. When I allow my mind to frolick about thinking of other things besides my email inbox.

“Familiarity breeds contempt.”

That saying is also true for work in my opinion.

To be a better video creator, I have to sit back, learn from other creators, and strategize my content. How the hell can I do that when I’m stuck in this endless cycle of creating?

Remember why my first video did so well?

You guessed it..because I thought about EVERYTHING — from the shots to the music to the story.

I couldn’t have created this good of a video if I only had 1 day to make it.

😃 You’re Happier With Time Off

Less creative burden leads to less stress which in turn leads to more happiness.

Happiness actually boosts creativity.

Raise a pint for science. 🍻

⏰ There Is Absolutely No Fucking Rush

I wanted to do a daily vlog for a lot of reasons, like..

  • The CHALLENGE of it seemed ridiculously hard. I enjoy challenges.
  • I knew you get better with practice. I wanted to maximize practice time.
  • I wanted to publicly practice what I preach about how it’s okay to suck at stuff. I know/knew my first 25–50 videos were likely going to suck.
  • I wanted to grow my YouTube channel QUICK.

My biggest apprehension to taking time off was the fact that I already promised people I’d make 5 new videos every week for a year.

Now it looks like I’m quitting that.

And from a Youtube perspective, I’m not. I’m just as focused on my YouTube channel, IF NOT MORE!

I just want to give you all better content.

Isn’t that what it’s about in the first place?

If I wanted a shit ton of content I’d scroll Kanye West’s Twitter feed all day.

If I wanted quality content, I might just go watch one of Todd Brison’s weekly Finish Friday videos (I love that show).

I’m not saying Kanye’s feed isn’t glorious and fantastic, but not every tweet is made equal..

Apologies to Kanye.

Michael basically boiled it down for me like this..

He told me I’m going to grow no matter what. He told me I’m only 25 and I have no responsibilities whatsoever. He basically told me there’s no freaking rush at all.

In short, I’m going on what should be the trip of a lifetime. I don’t want to spend my time NOT enjoying these locations.

If I’m not careful, this whole trip will pass me by and I won’t have known it.

I’m so happy he helped me realize this.


Altering Your Original Plan Is Not Bad

At the end of the day, altering your original plan as a creator isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably a really, REALLY good thing.

Most times there’s REALLY important things you simply didn’t know a month ago, a year ago, or in my case, even yesterday.

If we stayed stuck in our creative ways indefinitely, there would be absolutely no growth at all.

What if I decided to stick to my original formula (i.e. Creating MORE is good) for the rest of my life?

What if I never explored other ways of doing things? Such as focusing on quality instead of quality?

I mean, my original formula has its pros, but it also has a lot of cons. Same with creating less.

But in order to grow as a creator, I need to legitimately be open-minded and test other strategies. It’s time for growth.


I’m Not The Only One Who Preaches Quality Over Quantity

It seems the universe has been tapping me on the shoulder about this recently.

One of my favorite writers, Todd Brison (50,000 Medium followers) took a small break from writing and then came back with a freaking vengeance a few weeks ago.

This past Friday he completely overhauled the intro to his Finish Friday series, and started using two camera angles in his shows instead of one.

He also overhauled his set design. It looks freaking awesome if I do say so myself — like a completely different show — and it made a difference.

He then sent out this email on Friday..

It’s time for me to change. It’s time for me to look to my idols and take a page out of their book. It’s time to focus on quality instead of quantity.

I hope you are all okay with my transition.

Thank you for supporting me!

Want to build an audience of your own on Medium? I have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Followers” that will teach you how I did it! Sign up for it right here.
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