3 years on Youtube

(ENG only) A couple of days ago I came across a video that my fellow Youtube friend Nina from The Minimalist Ninja shared talking about her third Youtube channel’s birthday. Nina and I started our channels more or less at the same time (she is my first ever Youtube friend!) and sometimes it feels a bit weird for me to think that it has already been 3 years for me too since I started making videos.

Back in 2015, I knew I wanted to do some content online and thought that starting to live more minimally and sort of “documenting my journey” could be something I could share. A few months prior the decision of making videos I heard about minimalism and wanted to give it a shot. The idea of living a life with less stuff but more purpose sounded very appealing. I wanted a life change. A big one. Moving abroad in April 2014 made me live out of a suitcase and not much more. I loved it. It felt liberating and refreshing. When things got tough for me though, I started accumulating again and went back to the old habits of finding comfort in shopping. I was living with a smaller than usual (for me) selection of items, but still something wasn’t right. I knew I needed to change something in the way I was living. The ideal day off for me included a trip to H&M or the mall and I was still managing to accumulate more than what was necessary.

At the beginning of my minimalist journey in Spring 2015 I certainly made some mistakes and fails (I thought that getting rid of something because it didn’t suit me or my needs was an excuse to purchase something in exchange… well, at least I was sticking to the “1 in, 1 out rule”). Anyway, I started thinking that, even though I was very afraid of the camera and always found myself more comfortable with writing (used to have a blog on Tumblr at the time), I wanted to try and start my own Youtube channel.

 

Well, it turns out that 3 years later I have more than 11k people following my content on Youtube. This is a lot more than expected. Like a lot more. Thank you thank you thank you.

As much as I find the process of creating content rewarding, inspiring, motivating, it wasn’t all peaches at first and still isn’t sometimes. And when I heard Nina saying that sometimes, when she films, she still gets anxious, starts sweating, thoughts don’t come out right etc. , a part of me felt somehow relieved. Not about her feeling bad when filming, of course. But about acknowledging that I am not weird nor strange. Because I am not the only one feeling like that. Because, even though it has been 3 years, sometimes I start sweating like a freaking fountain when filming too. I feel anxious because I am afraid that the video won’t come out right. Because sometimes I can’t articulate my thoughts properly, even though I did this already in my head at least ten times before filming. Etcetera. And I feel a little embarrassed to tell that it took me 1,5-2 years to start feeling comfortable in front of the camera. Feeling like me, with no filter and no fear.

When I first started filming and making videos it seemed like I was doing everything wrong: I wasn’t prepared, at all. I literally started in my little studio apartment in Tallinn with a stack of books and a camera that had focus problems (had to use laptop or phone most times), huge lighting problems and no idea whatsoever of what I was doing. It wasn’t the technical part that was most frustrating though (the video quality part of course is important but not as much as the content itself), but it was everything else. It was me. I wanted to do this but somehow the thought of me talking to a camera was “blocking” me. Somehow I couldn’t speak a decent english. My face was so tight I looked like a puppet (if you watch my first videos you`ll see the difference). I wasn’t relaxed. I wanted to share what I was learning along the way, what I was inspired by, and somehow I couldn’t manage to make things work like I wanted. Sometimes I felt like I had to say certain things in a certain way, otherwise people would never like my content. Too many times I haven’t shared something because I was afraid no one would like it.

Please don’t get me wrong, I was never fake. I have always been “me”. It just took me the longest time to feel less pressure. I definitely could have done things differently, but this is who I am. I am awkward, I am introvert, sometimes I do weird expressions when talking, I can’t remember certain words, I ramble for minutes and don’t get to the point (used to do this a loooot at first!!). And sometimes I felt like a failure, because it took me ages to put together a video I could barely consider decent and was constantly comparing myself to others. All. The. Freaking. Time. And, I also used to care about what others could think of me. Co-workers, acquaintances, everyone who knows me basically. I was afraid of sharing my content and tried to do my best to hide it so people couldn’t gossip about it. (They did anyway). Sometimes, I still care about what others think. But a major think changed: I realized that certain people and “haters” gonna judge and hate anyway, regardless of what I say or do on the internet. Why should I quit? Because of them and their judgment? Heck no. And if I would have quit, they probably would have something to say about me anyway. Here`s the thing: if there’s even a bunch of people out there thinking that my content is inspiring for them and worth reading or watching, I’ve reached my goal. I just try to inspire people to live more simply and consciously while learning things myself. And my heart is filled with joy for the incredible support. It has even happened that friends or acquaintances have approached me asking for advice for themselves to help them reduce their waste or reduce their possessions and I felt the happiest person out there!!

There’s one precious thing I learned though: not forcing myself to post. In the past I did this a lot, especially for the first year or so. I was forcing myself to stick to my schedule of posting a video every week whilst juggling a full time job, a partner, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, to-dos. It was too much. And I was feeling bad about not posting because I felt like a failure. And the more I felt stressed about this, the more I felt that Youtube was becoming more a chore than an actual enjoyable hobby I love, making feel less inspired as my stress was increasing. Always because I was thinking “why am I the only one who seems to suck at this so much that I am not even able to post once a week?”. Well. What can be seen or read on the internet is just a tiny portion of a content creator`s life. We don’t see what’s behind that camera or that computer screen. And assuming that others are great and feel well all the time just because they are able to keep up with their schedules is crazy, and pointless too. We are all humans. And we all have ups and downs. I learned the hard way what does it mean not to take care of myself and to listen to the signs my body and my mind give me. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. I want to create content I can be proud of and, more importantly, that you can be proud of too. Of course, you won’t like everything all the time, but that’s normal. That’s what makes us beautiful. That we are all different and we have diversity to share. Same is lame, right? πŸ™‚

It’s been 3 intense but absolutely rewarding years. I smiled, cried, worked hard, had fun, did things I definitely could have done better and things I did a great job at, I received bad comments and the most lovely and kindest comments, I went from moments of being uninspired and stuck in a rut to being inspired again, I felt like quitting, I compared myself to others and realized that is absolutely pointless, I got frustrated, I realized that I freaking love doing this. And that this is worth every second I spend at it. This is what I love to do. And it still feels mind-blowing to realize that so many people find some value in my content and enjoy watching my videos and reading my blog. An amazing community has been built around my channel and blog and I am incredibly grateful to be able to be connected with so many like minded people from all over the world. It’s amazing what internet can do these days.

Thanks for being part of this ride.

Talk to you soon.

xoxo

Jen

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5 Comments

  1. Lycke
    September 18, 2018 / 19:59

    You’re doing great!! X

  2. theminiamlistninja
    September 20, 2018 / 16:55

    I can totally relate to everything that you said. Sweating like a fountain it is! At least some of the time, ha! I always tell myself that posting a video that I’ve put a lot of thought into and didn’t turn out exactly like I envisioned it to be is better than holding back and not posting it at all. It’s the intention that matters for me at the end of the day πŸ™‚

    Although it may look like I film all the time, I actually don’t. Most of my videos that went live in August were actually filmed back in July and currently I am just filming away so that I have enough for the next few months. I did the same thing in new york city. I’d set aside a day (usually saturday or sunday) and would just film a whole bunch of videos in one go. Then there are times when I don’t do that and just film as I go, which also totally works. Then there are other times when I don’t feel like it at all and don’t film for weeks at a time. There’s something about speaking in front of a camera and editing it that I don’t always enjoy, ha!

    I also enjoy writing a lot these days because I get to do it no matter what’s going on (light, noise, etc.). I really like that aspect of it πŸ™‚

    I am so thrilled that you uploaded that first video of yours and that you gave YouTube a shot! I totally agree with everything you said!! :))

    • September 23, 2018 / 14:45

      …then we’re going to be fountain mates ’till the end, ehehehe! At least we share the same situation and honestly, I feel a bit better now knowing that you are experiencing the same… it feels good and relieving knowing that we are not alone!
      I never managed to dedicate an entire day to filming to make a few videos in a row, but will definitely start doing this after my holiday to Bali… as much as I Love the whole creative process, sometimes I don’t feel like filming at all and having some pre-filmed videos would be great! Like you I also feel more comfortable when writing, if it’s noisy or not the best lighting conditions etc. I can still isolate myself with earphones and just let my thoughts flow. I’m so glad we found each other back at the time Nina!!

      • theminiamlistninja
        September 24, 2018 / 16:24

        Yessss!! Ha! πŸ˜€ Totally! It still happens to this day on occasions and back in the day it happened all the time. I’d literally be soaking wet after filming!

        I feel you! There are times when I don’t feel like filming for weeks and now that I am traveling it’s sometimes simply not feasible to put something up. It gives me peace of mind knowing that something is up.

        In new york city it was so hot in my apartment that I was sometimes unable to film and filming them in batches on cooler days helped me out a lot. Can you imagine having the window closed so that no noise comes in while it’s 30*+ inside the apartment! It was a mess! πŸ˜€

        I highly recommend giving pre-filming a shot and see how you like it. While I don’t always feel like it it usually works great on days that I do.

        I so feel you on that one! I really like that aspect about writing! πŸ™‚

        Absolutely!!!!! :)))

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