How To Get Started – The Climb #259

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How To Get Started – The Climb #259

Saturday 7th October 2017

I had just one task to do today:  get a vlog done!

With my trip to Romania looming, I want to get back in the habit of vlogging so I can capture what looks to be an amazing trip.

But I fell foul of a mistake a lot of content creators make and I think it’s worth going over just how to start.

You see, I have this image in my head of how the vlogs should look.  I was thinking voice overs, analysis, maybe even a bit of commentary on my swordfighting.  And then as I popped to the shops I came up with this fantastic idea for a video that wasn’t exactly a vlog but more a documentary covering the entire summer and the progress I made.

It was then that I realised the trap I’d fallen into.

One of the great things about doing the daily vlogs was that they took time I didn’t have, and so I rushed them.

At first this might sound terrible.  Why put out videos that I’d not taken time over?

The simple answer is that quantity trumps quality… at least initially.  Black as Knight is all about quality.  I’ve done something like 16 drafts on that book and I suspect I’ll have a couple more before it’s ever released.

But the difference is that Black as Knight was written during a spell when I was determined to turn out as many first drafts as I could.  It was only afterwards, when it came to polishing that I worried about quality.

And that’s not to say that quality was ignored.  I still wanted to write the best novel I could.  The only difference was that I wasn’t going to get hung up and spend 13 years writing the first draft.

And that’s what you are doing when you start.  I don’t particularly want to be a professional filmmaker, I just want to learn, capturing some of my life as I do so.  When you look at it like that, I’m very much working to a first draft.

It’s so easy to procrastinate when you care about perfection from the outset.  Sure, do the best job you can, but don’t let quality derail you or hold you back.

And that’s what the new vlogs were doing.  I wanted them to be perfect, and in doing so, I wasn’t getting anything out.

I recently went back and watched my storm chasing vlogs.  What amazed me was just how much I enjoyed them as a viewer.  I completely forgot I’d made them and instead just watched them.  They were far from perfect.  I lost footage, I edited them whilst half asleep, I did far from a perfect job on them.

But the act of having to create a video every day when all I wanted was bed, forced me to get something done.  And you know what?  By the end, there were some pretty amazing vlogs.

And so I remembered this and just decided to get the first vlog done.  I stopped worrying about making it perfect, and just worried about getting something together.

That took me most of the day.  I’m sure I had tasks in town (including money for Romania) but I went through all the footage of my last training session before fightcamp and created a montage.  Of course, that initially started out as being about 14 hours too long, but I edited ruthlessly to bring it down a lot.

Is it a perfect vlog?  No, but it is done.

If I want to create the documentary, I still have the raw footage I can use.  Making the vlog I did today, didn’t invalidate that idea.  Likewise, if you are writing and write a shitty story with a great idea, there’s nothing stopping you taking that same idea and one day writing a good story.

You just got to get stuff done… and as crazy as it sounds, when you first start out, quality isn’t the most important thing.  The mistake many writers make is that they then want to publish before they’re ready.

To get good, you have to be bad a lot… and that means quantity.  If you want other people to think you good… well that’s when you start worrying about quality.  The trouble is that some people want to go straight from one to the other.

So the next time you start a personal project, tell yourself that for the first draft you’re not going to give a hoot about quality.  The results may surprise you.  Just remember that you then have to go back and make it good.  It still works out more efficient that agonising over every decision whilst writing but many people want to forget that stage and go straight to publishing.

Just get started.  Walk before you can run.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-10-08T09:13:03+00:00 October 8th, 2017|Publishing, The Climb, Writing|0 Comments

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