A Sweeter Juice for the Squeeze
Notes on YouTube, obsession, creativity, and criticism.
I recently released a video on YouTube that I recorded in Ukraine.
This is the second that I’ve released publicly so far. Both this video and the other have racked up more views than I expected, so I’m going to run with the concept and hope the medium finds a larger audience than my newspaper articles.
On a personal level, I’ve found the experience of releasing content on YouTube to be fun, and equally satisfying and validating as publishing an article—only with one-tenth of the time and stress involved.
While I sometimes bang out a written article in the span of an afternoon, this isn’t always the case. During the final stages, I’ll often obsess over the finer points of my argument, or make laser-guided deletions to the text until it’s squeezed to the brink of implosion and inevitably ends up less perfect than it was at the start. When the editor accepts it: pure euphoria. If the editor turns it down: total dejection, and a real psychological wound.
In writing, I’m my worst critic, and my process is usually mentally exhausting and socially abrasive, requiring a level of isolation and self-centered focus that can offend the people I love.
Reviewing the video catalog I recorded in Ukraine, however, has been joyful and easygoing. Quickly editing the videos—lightly tweaking the brightness or adjusting saturation here and there—scratches a similar itch as the copyediting process in writing, although with fewer points of error and fewer opportunities to go wrong. In video editing, I allow myself to overlook the sentence-by-sentence details and self-criticisms that I obsess over. It results in a sweeter juice for the squeeze.
I invite you to be my worst video editing critic, instead. I will respond to your criticisms better than those I impose on myself. And I value them more, too.
I have about a dozen high-quality videos recorded in Ukraine that I’m hoping to release over the next month or two, offering glimpses into the unique historical moment experienced in this part of the world.
That’s ‘bout it.
If you want to follow along, I invite you to “Subscribe” to my YouTube channel linked here. Prayers up that I don’t obsess over this enough that I lose my job. 🙏.