Skill Stacking and Virtuous Cycles

Earlier I noted how the cross pollination of ideas between my YouTube channel and this little blog has made each one better. I started creating videos in an effort to expand my skill stack, and began writing more to improve one of the skills in my stack.

To hone the skills, I apply the same 1% rule (do something every day and strive to be 1% better each day) to each, and in applying this consistency effort to my two chosen media I am noticing both the similarities, and the differences.

The similarities are pretty obvious, including (but not limited to):

  • each is a creative process
  • applying the attitude of abundance to each means I’m never running out of ideas to write about, or record
  • doing this to keep myself busy doing something useful helps with my mental health struggles.

But the differences are also interesting.

When I was teaching English in China, my third year students and I read an essay on writing. One of the ideas the author put forward was that great works of literature are not written, they are re-written.

That is something I find here. As fast as I type (and after 40 years at a keyboard, I can type fast), as fast as I get my initial ideas onto the page, it is never published as initially written. I always have to edit and rewrite.

The same is not true for video.

Yes, you can edit your videos, but too much editing makes a video choppy and unnatural. This is the very opposite of rewriting. The more you rewrite, the smoother and more natural your finished work.

The great thing about writing and rewriting is it teaches you to order your thoughts and the more you do this, the more orderly your thought processes become. This is tremendously helpful for recording videos.

Before I hit the record button on my camera, I sit, stand or pace for a few minutes, ordering my thoughts on the topic of the day.

There’s that word again, “ordering.”

Orderly thoughts are crucial for video. You only get a very small number of takes because of the editing problem. So the more you can order your thoughts before you begin to record, the smoother and better the end result will be.

Taking that back to writing, the pre-recording process of ordering my thoughts and outlining the video script in my head can also be applied. Now before I start a new post, I first take a few minutes to order my thoughts. In turn, the first draft is quicker and cleaner, and requires less re-writing.

I’ve written, and spoken, about the vicious cycles. A bad cause leads to a bad effect, and the bad effect worsens the bad cause, in a self-reinforcing downward spiral. They can be in your physical health, and they can be in your mental health.

Their opposite is the virtuous cycle. A good cause leads to a good effect, and the good effect improves the good cause, in a self-reinforcing upward spiral.

Completely by accident I created a virtuous cycle between my writing and my videos. The skills from writing improve the video, and the improved skills in video improve the writing.

The key now will be not allowing anything to break the cycle.