One of the hardest parts of making plans is realizing that sometimes, nothing you do will ensure you’re able to uphold them. Sometimes things come up, unexpected events that sap your time and leave you unable to keep up with the things you intended to do. And sometimes, the things that come up are bigger. Changes to more than just your schedule, things that mean rethinking a lot of what you do… and what you plan to do.
One of those changes came for me in November, when a visit to the doctor that was supposed to help me figure out how to be more active went the opposite direction. Instead, I went home with directions to cut huge amounts of activity from my schedule, get extra rest, and pursue more intensive testing to determine what’s wrong with me, because it turned out it may be more than just lingering long Covid fatigue.
Rest, however, is hard to come by when you have a full schedule. And cutting things from your schedule is hard. Especially when I’d already streamlined what I do, cutting out all but the things that moved me toward my goals. Of course, this came with its own downfalls. I’ve been struggling with a case of burnout for the past two or three years, and even cutting back my schedule for videos (since I had been posting doll projects on YouTube each week for years, and it had begun to stifle my creative freedom) didn’t help alleviate its symptoms.
That burnout actually gave rise to one of the questions I put before my doctor: did pushing through to keep up my production levels lead to me getting sick? I was glad when the answer she gave me was no, but we also discussed that it probably didn’t help. After all, every bit of time I spent working was time I wasn’t resting. Plus, every time I got stressed over deadlines, that did run the risk of aggravating my developing health conditions. So her instructions were simple. Cut stress. Cut projects. Rest more.
I spent the next few weeks working over my schedule again and again, trying to figure out how to keep up with all the things I do that I love doing, and after several weeks of trial and error, I made a discovery: I can’t.
So then I spent time working out numbers. How many hours could I work while still meeting the minimum amount of rest the doctor wanted me to get? Which projects took more energy? Which ones could be changed to better fit my shrinking schedule?
I learned a few things.
One, the amount of time it takes me to edit a doll project or tutorial video skews strangely depending on the length of the video. It took me proportionally far less time to edit longer videos, even though they’re typically more complicated.
Two, the doll projects are way more fatiguing than the book projects, which makes sense, and admittedly also came as a relief because I’ve always said if it came down to it, I would prioritize writing.
Three, the easiest type of video for me to produce was vlogs, which I practiced recording while writing.
And four, doll content does not translate well to vlog format.
And of course, these discoveries gave rise to a few conclusions.
I need to cut down my doll content even more… or else give up making it altogether. I’d never quit my doll hobby itself, but it’s finally come down to a situation where I have to choose between persisting with YouTube tutorials for other doll hobbyists to learn from, or continuing to write. And I can’t give up my books.
And… because of using them to practice making shorter/easier content, now I’ve ended up with a bunch of simple writing vlogs. They don’t make sense to share on a doll channel, but I made them, so they’d be nice to share somewhere.
As a result, I ended up starting a second channel where I can post things about my books and writing without detracting from the doll content people are looking for on my main channel.
It took a while to convince myself it was okay to start a secondary channel to post stuff I’d already made while also cutting down what content I make for my doll channel. But it’s stuff I’d already recorded, stuff that was a learning experience, and people have asked me to share more about my writing and publishing ventures, besides.
It certainly won’t be updated frequently, especially since I’m cutting back and not giving myself more work to do. But the vlogs are low-pressure content that’s easy to edit and only takes a few minutes here and there to film, so it’s a nice way for me to let people know I’m still going, too.
You can find my new channel here:
As for my doll channel, it will keep going for as long as I can manage it… but I’ll be changing to uploading longer videos whenever they’re done, instead of adhering to any strict schedule. That may be the death knell for the channel, since algorithms hate that sort of thing, but it’s better than letting it fall completely fallow, right?