At the beginning of the year when I made my goal lists, I initially had two things on there that I ultimately deleted. One was learn TikTok and the other was to post to Instagram more/become an influencer. I deleted it from my list because the list was too long, and even I could see that was Too Much.
I still decided to try my hand at both things, and you will all be happy to know that I have let those dreams go.
For one thing, posting to those sites every day/constantly is HARD. Coming up with content is pretty easy. I had seen a couple of movies (The Book of Clarence, Origin) that I had ~opinions~ about that I thought would be good for short form videos. It was also Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so I had several things to say about that/him. And, in that same vein, learning the platforms themselves isn’t that difficult as they’re both pretty intuitive in some ways and designed for people to be able to be able to use them pretty easily in terms of uploading content.
But, as anyone who has worked with videos knows, the real work is in the editing.
During my residency, I posted a couple of videos to Instagram touring my facilities. To do that, I had to splice together some of them, which took not a little bit of time because, fun fact, when you cut together more than one video, Instagram will only provide captions to the first one you post. So I had to figure out that I needed to upload them as individual reels, add the captions, and then save each reel with the captions before adding it to the other ones to make one video.
So I felt pretty good that I had that all figured out, but after I posted a couple of videos, my daughter pointed out that I needed to add music to the background for interest. Her brain started tuning me out after a minute because there was none of that. Then, my friend texted my daughter and told her that they needed to work on making me less boring because, apparently, all of my personality drained out of my body when I talked to the camera. Talking to the camera with the same energy you have in face-to-face conversations (or even FaceTime/video chats) is a skill! Who knew?
Still, I pressed on, but last week, I got sick and fell off of my video/post making schedule because my throat hurt and I was exhausted. But something good came of that, by which I mean I came to my senses.
The first thing that happened was my daughter, who is an avid YouTube watcher, told me that I didn’t have to post every day. Her favorites posted whenever they felt like it, and their audience eventually found them.
The second thing that happened is that I was preparing to meet with a friend of mine to go over our weekly goals and how we planned to accomplish them. I have a very long to-do list, but I also have two priority items, both related to my sabbatical. Number one is curriculum building/design. Number two is writing related to my sabbatical. The short story collection I pitched as part of my project and the blog posts I have yet to write about my time at Joshua Tree. So I was thinking about these goals, I realized that I need to be writing. Not making videos. Not editing videos. Actually writing. And while being an Instagram/TikTok person may support my goal of being known, it doesn’t support my goal of being known for my writing. Because I actually need to write to do that. Which I can’t do if I’m prioritizing making and editing videos on those platforms.
Big “Remember who you are” energy as my man (lion) Mufasa so aptly put it.
So yeah, I have re-shifted into writing mode. That doesn’t mean I won’t make a video from time to time. I already have an idea for one based on something I’ve been watching lately. But that’s an as the mood strikes me type of thing, not an “I must now treat this as a part time job” thing because, let me tell you, all of that posting and stuff is work, so I’m glad the people who are putting that type of work in are getting paid for it.
As for me and my house? We are back on our sabbatical ish.