“Chasing Perfection” – or what holds you back from creating content

Today, I wanted to talk about a topic that anyone that makes content, no matter if it’s blog posts or videos or streams, encounters at some point in their “career”. I say “career” because it isn’t even limited to people doing that for a living but it also affects people just trying to create something. Creators, essentially.

Anyway, chasing perfection is this sort of problem that one faces where their inner critic is never satisfied with what they’re doing. So, obviously, one will try to make it better and better but in the end, it just delays stuff and before long, the passion dies out and you can’t be arsed anymore and then you just don’t do the thing anymore that you wanted to do.

This post is primarily targeted at streaming and content creation in that regard, which is why I’ll use frequent examples of that but the message is the same for any sort of content creation space out there.

The TLDR here is: Start small. Just get started. Learn along the way.

But in case you’re here for the first time, I’m a blogger that also streams on Twitch and that tried themselves at YouTube for a wee bit. And I just kinda wanted to talk about what stopped me from enjoying YouTube or about mistakes I made at the beginning of Twitch. Later, I’ll go into blogging-related examples, too, and if you wanna skip to those, here’s an anchor-thingy (I’m still obsessed with those).

  1. Streaming
    1. Start Small
    2. Get Started
    3. Make Mistakes and Learn from them
  2. Examples from Blogging and YouTube
    1. Shitposts and Stats
    2. You’ll never be happy with the video you’re editing.

Streaming

Start Small

When I started out streaming, I didn’t think that my headset and laptop would be enough.

I built a PC with streaming in mind but I also wanted to play games that wouldn’t run on my laptop.

At the time, I then ordered a microphone for 20 bucks as well as a boom arm for maybe another 15. I then noticed that the microphone required Phantom Voltage, so I needed to get an audio interface for another 40 bucks that would allow my microphone to function in the first place… and then, the audio sucked.

I’m talking about this because while this stuff isn’t as pricey as other setups, I essentially already overdid it. The microphone sucked btw. My headset microphone would have already been a lot better.

Anyway, at some point, I got the Elgato Wave-3 after streaming for a long time and I paid it with one of my first two paychecks, essentially, and it really worked and it’s a great microphone with great software attached to it.

But I regret making those purchases at the beginning. I didn’t have to do that and it would have been even better if I hadn’t done that.

I also have seen people on reddit who got a super expensive microphone for hundreds of dollars as well as a dual PC setup and whatnot… before even starting to stream.

If streaming isn’t for them, they’ve made a big investment into it that they’d regret.

Streaming on Twitch, YT, FB, etc. isn’t for everyone and generally, you don’t need the best microphone in the world to get started. You don’t even need a capture card or fancy transitions.

I know people that average 20 viewers on Twitch while streaming on their phone and filming the Switch they’re playing on. I know people who projected the game they’re playing onto a wall because they didn’t have a monitor – and they’d essentially just film that with their phone… and it was fine.

Start small. Don’t invest too much. All you need to stream is a phone, really. Or a laptop… or good internet… but you can stream on Twitch or get started without having paid hundreds of bucks and along the way, you make changes to your content and setup and you upgrade things.

You don’t need a camera. I have one but I don’t use it. And not using a camera was the best thing I ever did with my stream.

Get Started

I had plenty of conversations over time with people trying to imagine what sort of content they wanna make – and I think having ideals or a vision is great… but those are just ideals and visions, after all, if you don’t get started.

What’s holding people back from creating the content they want to create is the inner critic or that voice in your head that tells you that this content you’re making right now is not up to par with the standard you’ve set for yourself.

You’re essentially holding yourself back if you look at people that make great content and then try to create something like those people.

Those people that you look up to found their style after a lot of trial and error, essentially doing what they’re doing now so well because they failed many times before.

To try and capture that at the beginning is just holding you back.

Instead, just get started and try streaming first or writing or recording or whatever. Get started. Find out if it’s for you anyway. Maybe it’s not for you, after all, or maybe you notice along the way that you want to do things differently.

As Erich Kästner said: “Es gibt’s nichts gutes außer man tut es” – Which roughly translates to: “There’s nothing good out there unless you get started.”

Make Mistakes and Learn from them

This one’s more of a general tip. It’s okay to make cringe content or content that you don’t like. It’s okay to make content whose quality is less than optimal… as long as you learn from it.

Make Mistakes. Don’t be afraid to do things that you regret.

I know I said that big investments at the beginning are not good when you haven’t started and that you’ll regret if you don’t stream actually… but it’s okay to regret things and to live to tell the tale, essentially.

When I was new to Twitch, I thought everyone was streaming. I followed everyone that I vibed with even when they were just chatting somewhere. I would also often say “okay, I’m off to stream myself” but then people told me that that can get banned elsewhere…

And I didn’t understand. It’s not like we’re competition or anything, right? Is it really that bad?

But people are weird, so self-promotion even if it’s not intended like that, is often frowned upon.

So, I made a mistake, I learned from it and now I don’t say stuff like that anymore. At the same time, though, when I stream, I keep that mistake in mind and see how I want to deal with that.

When people say that they’re off to stream, I wish them good luck. When new people say that, I tell them that that’s technically what people would call “self-promotion” – and that while I don’t mind, others would often ban people outright for that.

Similarly, I used an overlay I made myself for ages that showed all the social media stuff on screen and frankly, I hated it. In my eyes, that’s a mistake I made and I learned from it. So I don’t use that stuff anymore.

Making mistakes is how you get better at things. Doing badly is how you do better, essentially. So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you’re not happy with a stream, go watch it back and see what you’d do differently – and take that to heart because you yourself are your best judge.

Examples from Blogging and YouTube

Shitposts and Stats

Chasing Stats is something that can both motivate you and discourage you from creating things. I wrote about it before in more detail – and I’ll say it here again, don’t do it.

But not every post can be a high-traffic and high-engagement post. Sometimes, you shitpost. Heck, yesterday’s post on here was a shitpost. I didn’t like that one but I wanted to talk about that topic. But I know that it’s not the best work I ever did… Whatever. It’s a shitpost.

But in the end, a lot of times, your shitposts will do better than the big posts you do.

You may create a video reacting to something or talking about something, and you’re not proud of your work there… but it will get more views than any review you’ve written previously. That’s just the way it is. “Why I don’t play Valorant anymore?” gets more views than “Indietail – Cat Quest 2” – it’s just the way it is.

Nowadays, because I focus less on stats and traffic, I get to shitpost every now and then but sprinkle in a post like this one that I did work a lot on… and generally, blogging has been more fun than ever because I don’t care about how well a post does anymore. I just try to write more quality posts than shitposts.

You’ll never be happy with the video you’re editing.

Something I noticed with YouTube is that I would often end up scrapping a video entirely whilst editing it.

I’m never happy with it. Similarly, with reviews, I’d never be happy with those, so I never uploaded a review video on a game because my script wasn’t good enough or because I lost motivation along the way.

Whilst editing, I notice often how I frequently make use of “and” at the beginning of a sentence. I sometimes stutter, I sometimes mispronounce words or I end up mumbling. While recording, I don’t realise that at all but when I listen back to it or when I edit the video, it becomes all the more apparent.

More often than not, I would scrap the idea, re-record something and then try to do it better… but it will never be good enough, which is why I personally will need to stop listening to that little voice in my head that says that this video specifically isn’t good enough.

So, instead of scrapping ideas or videos, try working on them to make them work. Re-record audio clips, script out your videos, and try to work out solutions for “mistakes” you make.

But even if you’re still not happy with it, try publishing it.

You only harm yourself by not doing anything with the footage you recorded.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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