Video Editing and Writing: How Creative Pursuits Help Each Other

Lots of writers have hobbies aside from writing (and no, before you ask, alcoholism does not count as a hobby). Emilie Dickinson baked, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes raised bees, and Kelsey J. Mills makes fan videos.

I’ve written before on how my two hobbies help each other, but alas, I have long since lost my word document and the link to the actual blog post. However, as two years have passed since I wrote that post, I feel that I’ve grown as both a writer and a video editor. So today, I would like to present two ways video editing has helped my writing and two ways writing has helped my video editing.

Video editing has taught me…

You don’t have to share everything you create

I’m of the personality type that needs constant approval for every little decision and action. It makes me seek to share everything I do in my desperation for someone to say “yeah, that looks pretty good” (I aim for “THAT WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE EVER SEEN AND IT CHANGED MY LIFE” but I’ll take what I can get). I grew up in the age of the internet, and I know that it is entirely possible to receive constant instant gratification.

Possible, but unlikely.

You’re only human, after all. Some of what you create isn’t going to be very good. Some of what you create might be really good, but it might not have a place yet. Some of it might be terrible to everyone around you but really good to you. And that’s okay.

You don’t have to share everything you create with the world. You aren’t a bad writer or bad painter or bad video editor if you don’t share everything.

It’s okay to be underappreciated

I spend a lot of time on my videos. I work to make the best product I can, and I aim to make people feel. I will create a video up to my standards, post it to YouTube and expect the adulation to come pouring in.

It doesn’t.

I watch other videos that I consider to be below my skill level, less artful or whatever that have tons of views and comments. And I die a little inside.

It’s the same with any kind of art, but especially writing. A lot of people are too lazy to read. You create a witty blog post that no one likes or comments on. You write a story that your friends tell you is the best one you’ve ever written that can’t get published. Or, the worst, no one wants to read your writing at all.

Most people don’t get rewarded right away. Our internet culture of instant gratification has created an atmosphere where we expect to, but we don’t. Some people never get rewarded at all: I can think of several authors that only became famous after they died.

What your mom told you when little Timmy stole your eraser is true: you can’t control other people.

It is at these times where I buck up and take the writing advice everyone and their dog gives: I ask myself why I’m doing this. Is it to get views? Is it to be famous? No. At the end of the day, it’s because I like video making, and I like writing.

Some people won’t like what you create, or will ignore it entirely. That’s okay, as long as YOU like it.

Writing has taught me…

Sometimes, it takes many drafts to make the best version

In writing, if you don’t draft you’re looked at as a complete amateur. And, truth be told, you probably are. Drafting is essential to make your writing shine.

What I didn’t realise is how that principle could be applied to video editing.

My new technique is to first set the clips where I want them to be, and save that version. Then, I go back and put in the transitions where I want them to be. Save that version separately. Then, I add in the effects, and, you guessed it, save that version separately. Then, I convert it into WMV format and make sure everything is hunky dory. Then, upload.

I’ve noticed a definite increase in video quality through drafting. I’ve been writing for so long, I’m surprised I didn’t think of applying this technique to other things sooner.

Taking some time to really master craft is always a good thing

I was an itty bitty twelve year old when I started video editing. I would throw clips together without any regard for, well, craft. I progressed bit by bit. And I mean bit by bit. I kept operating under the assumption that there was worse than me so I was good by default.

Meanwhile, my writing was progressing at light speed. I wondered how I could be so good at writing, learning and growing, and yet stuck at relatively the same level I had always been at video editing.

Then, it hit me: I had taken time to learn the writing craft. I had read books, gone to conferences, practised.

I finally took some time to learn the craft of video editing. I watched music videos and movies for ideas on how to use transitions and filters well. I watched other videos and analysed what made them good or bad. And I practised. And I got better.

It is always better to take some time to learn the craft. Unless you really do want to be twelve forever.

2 thoughts on “Video Editing and Writing: How Creative Pursuits Help Each Other

  1. Pingback: On Vlogging | Kelsey J. Mills

  2. Pingback: On Finishing Things. | Kelsey J. Mills

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