It’s just before 6am, and I’m waiting for the light. That’s the thing about video. Unless you have a full studio set up, you can’t film until the sun is up. You can’t work to get ahead whenever you want. You have to wait for good conditions. In that sense, video is the perfect medium for us procrastinators.
We love waiting. We love a credible excuse not to work. “Sorry, it’s cloudy; I can’t make a video today.”
But the truth is that I could’ve made a video yesterday or the day before that. There’s plenty of time that I’m watching fly by from my window.
Which is why I love a zine jam. A jam is a topic and a deadline, a little bit of extra incentive to help you make something. Like NaNoWriMo, it harnesses the collective will to get something done. Magical things happen when we work together, even when we’re working alone.
I made this zine, dead eyes full hearts can’t lose, for a jam hosted by Zine Crisis magazine. It was a jam to celebrate the new version of their idea generator. My prompt was “a disposable zine that dives deep into the last thing you made.”
The last thing I had made was this YouTube video about how if you’re good at social media, you’re already good at zines. It was one of those videos where I spend 10 minutes filming, half an hour editing, and then decide I hate the thing. I couldn’t stop staring at my dead blank eyes.
I’ve found myself slacking over the last month, nearly ready to give up on the internet again. I skipped some days when I promised myself I’d make a video. The thing I do best in the whole world is making excuses.
So one weekend—the weekend I spent in the pool, actually—I wrote a new list of ideas, I put them in a calendar, I recommitted myself to this thing we call “being a content creator.” I’ve made lists before, but until I actually slotted those ideas into a calendar, they had never worked for me before. Coming up with ideas has never been my problem; follow through is my problem.
With my content calendar set for the rest of the year (with my usual December break built-in), I’m already ahead. I’ve made and scheduled the next two weeks of videos. I’m filming another two this morning.
Is this how people feel all the time?
In the spirit of just doing the damn thing, I scheduled that video, even though I think I stare too hard at the camera. All we see in our own work is the parts we want to fix, but that’s how we get ourselves stuck. Just put it out there. Someone else will be happy to have two cakes.