I’ve always sworn that I would never create videos for YouTube. I already have quite low self confidence thanks to over a decade of being bullied, and I knew seeing my face/hearing my voice on camera was just going to make me feel ten times worse about myself.
Well surprise – I’m on YouTube!
In case you haven’t seen my tweet, I recently teamed up with Sheffield Futures to create some self care content for them – a list of 10 ways to practice self care; five for yourself, and five to help someone else practice it. They’ve then been printed off and included with ever purchase of their Self Care Merchandise, as well as put on their website for everyone to read.
Not long after I worked on this project, they got in touch with me to ask if I’d be willing to record the tips so they could put them on their YouTube channel and use them in their promotional material.
Terrified doesn’t even begin to cover how I was feeling when I read that!
As I mentioned before, I’ve always been very nervous about being on camera – I avoid it at all costs. I’ve had some pretty horrible things said to me over the years about the way I look, plus I have a slight speech impediment that I’m really self conscious about.
Nevertheless one of my goals for this year was to push past my anxiety and try new things, and I think YouTube videos definitely fit that criteria.
I spent a lot of time beforehand overthinking the whole thing (something I’m the Queen of doing) but it ended up going a lot better than I expected; I had so much fun recording with Louise and the end videos have turned out pretty great, even if I do say so myself.
Doing it was a great learning experience and something that’s going to be useful at uni, as one of my assessments is to create “reflective video logs” so I’m going to be on camera a lot over the next few months!
I really should be careful what I wish for…
I don’t mean write out every single word and rigidly stick to it, but drafting out some basic talking points and things you want to include can be really helpful.
One of the most important things I’ve found (both for video and on my blog) is to write how you speak.
Not only does this make content a lot easier to create, but it will also make it easier to read/listen to for your audience, as it will sound more genuine.
As much as we all want to look our best on camera, theres no need to make yourself uncomfortable to do this. I’m not just talking about forcing yourself into jeans that are too tight; if you don’t feel mentally comfortable in the clothes that you’re wearing, it can really show on camera too.
When I recorded my videos, I was super self conscious about “looking nice” on camera, so I wore a fancy top that I was forever rearranging because it wanted to slip down and flash my boobs off to the world. On top of that I’d been asked to wear their hoodie while recording the clips, so that I could reference back to it in one of the tips.
Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with that, as I love the hoodie and wear it quite regularly when I’m in the house; but it was a really warm day and I was overheating in it after only a few minutes of recording.
I was constantly worrying I was going red or that you could see me sweating, which kept distracting me from what I was trying to say.
Or coffee, hot chocolate or even just water; whatever your preference.
Having a cup in your hand can be a great way to solve the problem of what the heck to do with your hands, especially when you’re first starting out and not used to talking to camera. Plus is also gives you an excuse to take a break from speaking and have a sip – which is a great way to order your thoughts and think about what you want to say next.
Pausing between sentences and different points is a good idea in general; that way if you make a mistake you only have to repeat one line rather than several. It also helps with pace and stops you talking too quickly, something I’m guilty of doing when I’m feeling anxious.
This is the main point I want to make; don’t try to be someone you’re not.
It’s so easy to try and mimic someone else’s style, especially when you’re first starting out and have absolutely no idea what to say. The problem with doing that is that it’s just going to come across as forced and unnatural, especially if you’re using words or phrases that you’d never use in real life.
Instead, try to imagine that you’re talking to a friend, partner or family member – someone you feel comfortable and at ease with.
It can be so hard to open yourself up and make yourself vulnerable, especially with how nasty some people can be online. I know I’ve personally stopped going into the comment section on YouTube because it really upsets me to see all the negativity and hate; its one of the main reasons I’ve been so reluctant to leave the safety of hiding behind a computer screen and give YouTube a go.
I’m still not sure if I’m going to start up my own channel, but recording content for someone else has given me the confidence to at least try recording a few idea of my own; no promises I’ll actually post them though!
I think it’s also important to remember that YouTube isn’t for everyone. If it’s having a negative effect on your mental or physical health, then theres no shame in taking a break or stopping completely.
Do you have a YouTube channel? I’d love to hear your tips for recording video content!
A twenty-four-year-old autistic writer and designer from Sheffield. Tattoo obsessed, animal lover, self confessed bookworm and eclectic witch.