It’s no secret one of my favorite sources for inspiration and learning is YouTube. As a search engine, YouTube is second only to Google. The amount of information and skills you can learn from YouTube is staggering, and each day, there is more and more content to consume. That said, it is very easy get sucked into the rabbit hole of YouTube--watching video after video after video. Be honest, you know you’ve been pulled in at least once. I know I have, but when treated as a tool for inspiration and learning, YouTube has the potential to:
- help you learn new skills
- pull you from a creative funk
- inspire you to create a home environment that welcomes creativity in
- drive you to push your creative boundaries
When treated as a tool for inspiration and learning, YouTube has the potential to... (<<< tweet that!)
Video learning is what makes YouTube stand out from other visual content (such as Pinterest and Instagram). YouTube is not only ideal for those who are visual learners but also those are are auditory and kinesthetic learners (yes, I’m getting all teacher-like with you today).
What’s more, with YouTube videos, you can pause, rewind, and watch over as often as you need to get the hang of what you’re learning. I can’t tell you how many times I watched Melanie Ham’s “Cute Easy Crochet Flower Tutorial.” In fact, I reference this video so many times, I have it saved in Evernote so I can find it more easily.And why YouTube? Because You can learn almost anything from it!
And why YouTube? Because You can learn almost anything from it! Think about that for a second. Do any of these creative outlets spark your interest?
- Sing Opera
- Art Journal
- Paint with Oils
- Paint with Watercolors
- Make cards
- Creative Writing
If so, you can find several videos on YouTube about ANY of these topics. Do you remember when the phrase, “There’s an app for that,” was popular? That’s how I think of YouTube: “There’s a video for that.” All you need to do is type what you’re looking for into YouTube’s search.
When I am helping someone find their creative sweet spot, I almost always direct them to do what I call "YouTube research" because there is so much amazing content out there and so many talented artist sharing what they know. YouTube is a fantastic source for the newbie to try out different creative niches and see which ones work best for them; it's also perfect for the experienced artist to find inspiration and learn new tricks. YouTube doesn’t only have to be a resource for learning new skills, it is a fantastic tool for honing skills you already have because everyone does things just a little bit different. Learning is a lifetime process!
MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR YOUTUBE EXPERIENCE
While I’ve been crocheting for a few years now, I never thought I could make anything other than blankets. Then I ran across Melanie Hamm's channel. Now I want to take on more challenges and try more complicated stitches. One of my goals for 2016 is to crochet a tote bag. Have you seen pictures of these? They look so stinking cute!
What area of creativity do you already enjoy that you could push yourself in?
Keep Track of Favorite Videos and Youtubers
If you want to keep track of all your favorite YouTube videos on YouTube itself, all you need to do is create playlists. Depending on what device you’re using to watch videos, the setup may look a little different, but basically, you’re after the + sign. On your computer, this will be under the video, and on your phone or tablet, this will appear on the video itself if you tap the screen once. Hit the + sign, and add the video to the playlist of your choice (or create your own playlist name).
For videos that need referenced over and over again, I prefer Evernote. Evernote is installed on all my devices and is quicker to search through than YouTube playlists. What I also like about using Evernote, is I can include notes to myself underneath the video link in that same Evernote note. Using the crochet flower example again (because I really do reference it all the time), I not only have the video in an Evernote note, but I also wrote out the instructions so I don’t have to watch the entire video every time.
Any cloud-based storage can work the same way to help you organize YouTube videos. You can include links to videos, screenshots, and notes.
And for you paper lovers (hey, I’m one too!), I create two free YouTube resources you can access directly from the library. One is to help you keep track of favorite YouTube videos and YouTubers for easy reference. The other is challenging you to really embrace the concept of using YouTube as a learning tool, prompting you to address what you learned from each video, what you want to try, and most importantly, WHEN you will do so. Remember, without actionable steps, goals are much more difficult to achieve.
Look for YouTubers you can easily understand
A friend recently introduced me to Yoga With Adriene...WOW. This girl really knows her yoga. I’ve practiced yoga for ten years, and in just a short amount of time, have learned a good dozen poses I’d never heard of simply by following along with Adriene's videos. Because I find it so easy to practice with her, I am much more likely to practice yoga every day. We all have different personalities, but what’s great about the masses of YouTubers, is that there is someone out there who meshes with your personality wants + needs. Be willing to take the time to find videos that are going to help you, not frustrate you.
WHEN USING YOUTUBE, BE AWARE OF
Video overwhelm. Sometimes, too much information can block us from creating. If you find yourself overwhelmed, shut down YouTube right away and grab your journal. Brain dump for ten to twenty minutes on everything you just learned. Set your journal aside and don’t look at it again until the next day when you have a clear mind and fresh perspective.
Falling into the rabbit hole. (I mentioned this trap once, but it’s worth mentioning again). Be mindful of how much time you are spending on YouTube. It is easy to click on recommended videos on the sidebar over and over again until watching one video turns into watching ten videos.
Comparing yourself to "experts.” You know this is my number one rule when it comes to searching for inspiration. It’s important you remember that 1) the person shooting these videos has probably been doing this creative outlet for several years which is why they do such an excellent job and 2) you are seeing a finished, quality video--the rough draft, the mistakes--all those are hidden from you. You are a beginner and it is okay to create like a beginner.
Forgetting to go out on your own. Learning a new skill is why I love YouTube so much, but don’t get so sucked into watching how others “do it” that you forget to start implementing what you’ve learned and start creating on your own. About two months ago, I watched Boho Berry’s Mandala Tutorial, and fell in love with creating my own mandalas. However, I didn’t allow myself to spend hours watching how others were creating mandalas; instead, I put YouTube away, pulled out my notebook, and started creating.
If you want to make the most out of using YouTube for both inspiration and learning, you need to treat it as a TOOL. It is there to help you. love being a self-taught artist. I think one of the best things the internet has done for us is given us the chance to learn new hobbies and talents right from our homes. YouTube can be your go to teacher. It can be a resource to expand your skills and search for inspiration. You just need to use it correctly.
Now it's your turn to share with me: Do you use YouTube for inspiration or learning? Who are some of your favorite YouTubers (or what are some of your favorite videos)?