Creative Stamina: Don’t Lose Your Flow!

Though I’ll be speaking primarily about YouTube in this article, the benefits to the approach I talk about can be applied to any long-term creative projects, so I hope creative folks in any area of artistry can get something out of it.

One of the most regular complaints I read on YouTube forums and communities is, “I started out with so much motivation, so many ideas, and so much time, but now I just can’t figure out how to keep making videos!” One of the main reasons I see small YouTube creators giving up or seeing their channels stall out or fall backwards is because they simply stop creating new material on a regular basis, or lose interest in the process of making new videos.

One of the biggest mistakes new creators make is over-commitment. New projects tend to arrive with a burst of inspiration and excitement, where we think we can do anything and keep doing it for an unlimited amount of time. Realizing that any long-term creative career will involve years of effort may help temper this enthusiasm into thinking about a manageable structure for your video creation process. Here are some questions I’d ask myself before starting a schedule of video production and release:

  • Is this a subject I’ll stay interested in for several years?
  • Can I guarantee I’ll have the time to schedule this many shoots/editing sessions/uploads?
  • Is there enough material to keep this subject sustainable?
  • Do I have the resources to keep at this subject?

Another big mistake I see is overshooting your capabilities. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should dream small, but remember that YouTube creators are generally single-person operations, and if you decide to do something that would normally require a crew and lots of money that you don’t have, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Some examples:

  • You may want to review all the latest cosmetics, but can you afford to buy new makeup every week?
  • Aspiring travel vlogger who doesn’t have a work schedule that accommodates travel.
  • Filmmaker who doesn’t know any actors to perform in her short films.
  • Cooking instructor who doesn’t know kitchen techniques beyond a beginner home cook

Remember that you don’t have to be an expert to be good enough to make regular content, but you have to have the capabilities to sustain yourself. You may be able to make a killer pizza, but will that be enough to make a video every week for several years? If not, perhaps change your parameters.

Making regular content that you can be proud of may seem an impossible task, but knowing from the outset what your capabilities and limitations are and planning to work with and around them is the first step to setting yourself up for success.

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