I decided to try vlogging. I took a post I had already written for Samuel Richardson's Pamela and turned it into a video for my book blog.
I've been a little afraid to try video blogging. For one thing, I've always thought that I seem a lot smarter and more interesting on paper than in person. Also, I tend to ramble and end up not making sense or saying things I don't mean (or both). But I really like others' video blogs--when they're done well. So I decided to give it a shot.
Here's why I decided to try vlogging (and why you should too, if you're a blogger):
First, I like having the opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices of other bloggers. Usually people will share a picture of themselves, but rarely ever do other book bloggers do video. I would love to see that take off more among book bloggers--and as Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." (Maybe he was talking about bigger and grander things, but I still think it could apply to blogging...)
Second, I'm trying to involve myself in the digital revolution more. It's becoming almost essential for new writers to be able to build (or expand) their online presence. I want to have the skills before I find myself trying to market my first novel.
Needless to say, since it's my first vlog ever, it's rough. (Really rough.) The lighting is bad, I made a lot of mistakes, my backdrop is my untidy kitchen, and I stuttered and said "um" a lot.
So, here are the things I learned about vlogging from doing my first-ever video blog (and what I want to do better in the future):
1. Just because it was a good blog post when it was written out doesn't mean it's going to sound good on camera. I noticed that I needed a lot more verbal transitions; I couldn't just quickly cut from one thought to another like I could in writing. Also, while the post was fairly short when I wrote it, it turned out to be way too long when I tried to talk it through on video, so I had to cut a lot of it out. The final video was under 5 minutes; next time, I would like to do one even shorter.
2. I need to stay on script. As much as I knew I had to have some semblance of a script before I started (like I said, I ramble), I also wanted to keep a fresh, conversational feel in the video. However, when I watched my various takes, I realized that getting off script made the video feel wild and unfocused. It's hard to think well when there's a camera in your face, and it's hard to say things right the first time. Next time I'll stick to the script, and then if I think of something new, I'll add it to the script before the next take.
3. It's okay to start over...but at some point, I just need to call it good. I was obsessed with getting every word and expression right in this video, so I ended up doing too many takes to count. Finally, I just had to stop and recognize that even though I made mistakes, I needed to cut myself some slack. It's never going to be perfect.
4. Looking at the camera is vital, and smiling is okay! It's hard to look at the camera all the time when I'm trying to stay on script and make sure my face looks okay in the video, but I do need to look at the camera as much as possible. I probably didn't do that as well as I should have this time around, but I want to do better next time. Also, I realized kind of belatedly that I hardly smiled in this video. Next time, I want to smile more and have a more welcoming persona.
All in all, I was pretty happy with my first vlog. It was a fun experience to make, and I think it will help me connect with my readers more. I still have fears about it (what if I'm totally different from what my readers expect and they decide they hate me?) but I'm excited to be dipping my toes into the video blogging world.