This past week, I have been conducting interviews for NMR with a variety of new media artists and entrepreneurs. Each person that I interviewed had completely different personalities from one another, yet all had the same response when asked to give advice to aspiring creators. Be authentic.
I know what you are thinking. Be authentic, that’s it? Though it may seem like living your life day to day is being as authentic as it gets, oftentimes it is actually much more complicated than that. I struggle with this same concept myself when writing for the Web, every published article is a lesson in finding an authentic voice. This is by no means an absolute list on “how to be authentic,” because following instructions on how to be authentic is ultimately counterproductive to that cause. Instead, consider this article as a way to gauge whether you are starting a YouTube channel, blog or Web project for the right reasons.
Is It Something That You Really Love?
Blogging or filming about something that you love should never feel like a job. More often than not, YouTube celebrities have said in our NMR interviews that, if something feels like a chore, you shouldn’t be doing it. If you are struggling to create content right from the start, perhaps you may need to look into blogging about something else. If you pick a genre or subject to start a YouTube channel about because it seems popular, audiences will quickly identify your lack of interest in it.
Are You Thinking About How Much Money You’ll Make?
If you are, you should probably rethink what you are doing. Every YouTube artist or successful blogger started creating work because they had something to share. I have never once spoken with a new media professional who started their work because they thought it would make them rich. Going down that path will guarantee that you will sacrifice your vision and artistic integrity to do what you think will make the most money.
Do You Have Your Own Voice?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting inspiration from people’s work you admire. There are thousands of authors that I try to emulate every time I sit down to write. However, there is a fine line between adopting the style of someone’s work and copying it outright. Every success story in new media has been the result of a creator reinventing a certain style or genre. Many new media personalities are simply just the first to do it and have perfected their craft. Make sure that you know that your voice is your own. If you plan to be a clone, make sure your voice is somehow unique.
Are You Okay With Failing?
Does your YouTube channel or blog failing mean that you won’t be able to pay rent this month? If so, then you may need to reevaluate what your goals are in new media. There are millions of people looking to start projects that will inevitably fail, and they need to be willing to accept that. No one can know without a doubt, that their project will succeed, and betting everything on it can force some bad decisions. If your quality of life depends on a blog making money, you will only begin to make choices that result in making money, which shouts inauthenticity.
Can You Take Criticism?
The idea of creating a career from new media relies heavily on your ability to handle feedback. If you believe that every move you make is the right one and that you know best, you are destined for failure. As new media creators, we all must learn from one another and not only give good criticism, but also be able to accept it. Many artists and bloggers I speak with are still trying to figure out their plan and their craft years after they have begun.