I’ve recently had a growing number of people asking me for some tips and pointers on creating content. I thought I’d cobble together some of the tricks of the trade, as it were, that I’ve learned over the years. Naturally, my preferred form is the essay, either written or video and so that is what I will be discussing. I will not be discussing promotion, monetization, or which platforms to use.
The episode where you got kicked out of the pub I remember the best of most any of your essays, like you said, because it seemed the most real. There's a place for more abstract, think-y pieces, but good writing on day-to-day life has a resonance most online media lacks.
Excellent article, thanks for the shout out!
This is a great essay ! I’m not a content creator and don’t aspire to be but you hit so many points that explain why your essays are always a high point of the day they arrive, and others are not. Maybe the best point is knowing when to say “I don’t know.” Maybe it is because with the internet any arcane subject can be researched painlessly that leads people to claim knowledge they don’t have. Or having read a book on a deep and maybe even surreal subject like economics, which like psychology is more an art than a science or perhaps both are neither and just a construct- for whatever reason there is a lot of information out there that isn’t informative.
Length is another issue- in a well written tightly packed essay like yours the reader should come to the end wishing there was more. Those three hour streams I’ve listened to, sometimes only because you were a participant, are only interesting about half the time. I hand quilt and knit a lot of the day, meditative activities that don’t require much bandwidth and I will listen to a long stream sometimes, but they are never exactly spellbinding. Movie reviews twice the length of the movie are similarly meh even when very clever, the effort seems misplaced.
Some of what you said applies to comments as well, I tend to go on too long but I am most likely to comment on things that I either know a lot about or that concern me or put something I am thinking into more helpful words. A good essay also generates good comments that can add perspective to one’s viewpoint. I do love your video essays, and the Chernobyl one was particularly good.
Thanks for taking the time to write this.
For some reason, the pub expulsion video fails to load. Not sure if this is just a problem on my end or because Substack updated their video system.
Even just the reference to ‘the time a lefty barmaid kicked me out of a pub’ puts a smile on my face, whilst I’m sat in a prole pub drinking a lovely pint of fosters 😙. The tables are as weathered as the barmaids face. Long live the prole pub.
Great read as always!
I find that with many creators, they have just "one thing" to offer, be it she's super cute, or they have hot takes that incite the enemy, etc. Their value dissipates quite quickly. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with keeping oneself in the eye, certainly of the YT algorithm. The current thing assures one doesn't get stale. It's just good business. It's the ability to sift the noise into real meaning that keeps me watching / reading a creator. For example, I stopped watching the Great War when Indy Neidel left, as the feel was no longer there. So, having a blend seems like a smart way to go. Deliver "quality" to keep the audience, but never stop using the marketing material to grow and keep relevant. Fail in either one, and it seems to be a tough hole to get out of. Great direction here, sir. It is an angle I haven't heard expressed like this before.
Wonderful post. I think the "duelling banjos" are a beautiful and effective device. Which made me wonder when this technique was first "invented". The essay form has been around at least since the 16th century. Has any of the "classical" essayists employed the duelling bankos? Are you (or anybody else) aware of specific examples? Or could the duelling banjos be the bona fide invention of the internet era or perhaps even our very own cultural sphere?
This was really helpful Morgoth, thanks. I only started my own channel this year. I have stuck to making short videos, rarely longer than 8 minutes. As you know, I’ve mod’ed on channels such as Academic Agent’s and Apostolic Majesty’s for years now. My experience of that has been that, unless the audience is personally interested and involved in the subject matter of the stream, you’ll quickly lose them and they’ll just chat amongst themselves. That’s absolutely fine, but if you’re trying to put across a specific point, it’s not happening. I’ve not done any livestreams on my own channel as yet, but hope to at some point. I’ve been told by other ‘content creators’ that livestreams are how you grow your channel, and that I’m basically wasting my time on my artistic little videos. I’d never made a video before this year and had to teach myself how to do it - education is never a waste.
I must’ve missed the pub one the first time round; just had a look at it now...
The others sounded vile, but the retard clapping away wtf!? Bet there were chewed crayons all around her lmao.
I find it increasingly difficult to think of them as being on the same order as human beings, let alone our countrymen. They’re an utter disgrace.
Many thanks for these tips. I will try and learn from your advice in future when looking to improve my work on this platform.
I'm not sure if you're including interviews/discussions as live-streams or regard them as a separate form. If you are including them, then I feel you're being overly harsh towards live-streams - equating the form with terrible examples of the form (unprepared solo ramblings). But I'll happily relisten to some: Your appearances on Milleniyule for example.
New reader here
This a very generous piece with great insight. It's nice to have such a wonderful writer who genuinely comes from the ordinary world of work & community. When I read or listen to Morgoth talking about his youth or holding 'ordinary' jobs (as opposed to some laptop class larp) it really resonates with me.
To be able to finish a 12 hour shift then come up with such meaningful pieces is as impressive as it inspiring.
The poet of the North
Merry Christmas to all
Art should leave you asking questions, "Where is the hay wain going?" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hay_Wain#/media/File:John_Constable_-_The_Hay_Wain_(1821).jpg
Commentary should help us find answers.