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#riff on recent reflections and learnings (#302)

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This is a solo, #riff, reflection episode from Fei Wu

Every once in a while, I like to indulge myself and record some solo episodes (without interview guests). There is a lot to learn and reflect. Capturing them in the moment seems to be the best way for me. These episodes tend to run shorter, and never overproduced. Enjoy!

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Transcript

Ep 302 #riff – powered by Happy Scribe

Hey guys, this is Fei from Feisworld Media. And as I’m recording this right before Friday, March 11, I’m actually doing this right inside my studio on Thursday, March 10. And you know what I was just thinking is that I often wonder, depending on whatever you’re doing, do you have a journal, do you write regularly? And that’s something I want to kind of focus on because frankly, these days, between running Phase World Media on YouTube, writing my blog posts and a number of my client projects, big or small, and working with brand deals, aka sponsorships on my YouTube channel, it gets a little overwhelming. And I no longer have these moments where I just set aside and say, you know what, I’m just going to sit down and write a bullet journal, whatever you call it.

I think I need to get into a better habit, for sure, but sometimes I want to use these episodes I called Rift to go back. And this is going to sound a little bit strange, but sometimes I indulge in these riffs episodes myself, just to go back in a moment in time and figure out what I was thinking, what I was doing. I think one episode from a while back. About a year and a half ago. Or probably nearly two years at this point.

At the beginning of the pandemic. My mom needed surgery and I recorded an episode. I think during and shortly after just to reflect what life felt like in between those doctors appointments and realizing that there was a chance for me to potentially lose her in a near future that I wasn’t really planning for. And it was very eyeopening. And at the same time, I kind of dare myself to record that without I don’t think I sound overly anxious or anything.

I was trying to be very transparent, but I think I was more or less composed. I wasn’t doing it in a moment in time where I was crying or kind of losing my mind, but it was really helpful to go back and just hear myself and understand that moment I was going through. And I know, and I knew back then I wasn’t alone. So many people in the world today going through so much trauma. And that is certainly the case as I’m recording this right now with civilians and people living in Ukraine.

And their lives are impacting so many people. Of course. Around them. Their families and friends. But it has a worldwide impact on all of us.

For us to really think about the peaceful life that maybe we stopped appreciating. We don’t even think about. We just take it as a given. And at the same time, I went to so many people out there as creators who decided to reach out to lend a helping hand. I see what Airbnb is doing these days to make it easier for people to rent out their Airbnb homes.

And I see creators who are creating these link trees where to make, basically the information really accessible. And I love the focus to help Ukrainians to be able to find work during this very difficult time. And I just have to say that this is a very special moment. There’s just so many people’s lives are being impacted, and I’m sitting here recording this episode and reflecting on all the things that I have done and what I’m able to do to help is a very powerful thing. So those are the moments that definitely come to mind.

I would also like to talk about the work that I was just doing right before I hit the record button, focus on my mom’s website called Xiangliart.com. Her name is a little bit difficult to spell for those of you who don’t speak Chinese. So it’s Xia ngliart.com. I’ll be sure to also include a link as you’re reading this as part of the show notes if you flip over. And it’s very special because when you live with someone who’s this talented, literally someone who spent 40 years working the Forbidden City, and I know I talk about her a lot because I’m living with her, and it’s just phenomenal.

I don’t take any moment, any minute, moment in this day for granted to realize that I get to witness, first of all, I get to live in a museum. Not museum like place, an actual museum, watching her work in progress. That’s right. If any of one of you guys is following her, shaun, the art on Tik, Tok and Instagram, even some of the YouTube shorts, you’ll notice that these days, I have encouraged my mom to share all her work in progress, which is something that she is, frankly, really uncomfortable with still, but was even more so at the beginning. So I want a lot of you guys to think about this that we often see finished work, whatever it is, in the museum.

I personally love seeing work by artists that are still very much raw in progress, even sketches and drafts that were probably never even meant to be shown publicly. I love that type of work. And I get to see my mom sometimes struggling with creative work. I wanted to share these conversations, which makes me realize, even yesterday, that I want to showcase that part of a creative journey in parallel to me being a YouTuber. Maybe you as a creator, as a blogger, as an artist, why don’t we come together and actually showcase our work before it’s finished?

Why don’t we share the struggles that we have and talk about how we can overcome them? So, for instance, what my mom has taught me is proven to be very helpful. There’s just so many overlaps and parallels. For instance, when she’s stuck on think about a color or a particular creature, she does a lot of these unicorns and phoenix and dragons, and you may think it’s very natural to her for anyone who looks at her paintings like, wow, what does she even come up with these ideas? It’s incredible.

But she actually goes through a lot of iterations and she will even talk about this. It’s very subtle. Maybe the bird is of a different color. Maybe it’s overpowering a certain element that you decided to draw. It’s just overpowering the main character.

I also noticed this crazy technique because she’s now painting on 4 meters by 2 meters type of landscape size, silk panel. So there literally is no sketching paper that’s that big. So she would use different segments. So when you think about it, it’s almost like a puzzle piece because it is different pieces. Sometimes she has these really large papers and she will have six, eight pieces of them, some smaller, where she creates smaller creatures and characters and she will then kind of like it’s like a mosaic and it’s a puzzle piece and she will put them together and I get to witness that.

I see things take it out. I see things putting in and I can’t believe, as I’m describing this and I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately, actually. It’s very inspiring to think about from a director’s view what she decides to keep in and take out. And it’s a very hard process. Guys, if you have ever blogged or produced YouTube videos, you’ve done so much work with those broll, but we’re aroll.

But at the same time, you just got to be willing and be brave to take things out. So, yeah, those are my reflections for today and I wanted to share with you and let you know that you’re really, really not alone. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge about the burnout and the fatigue of Vena Creeder. Earlier today I watched a video by Catherine Manning. She was the content bug on YouTube for a couple of years.

And she basically, I think two years ago, she decided to change her channel back to her name. A lot of creators don’t know whether they should use their names or not. It’s actually often the obvious choice to make it about you. And I stopped following her because I just felt like all her videos are so focused on YouTube strategies and strategy and growth alone. Monetization I just got tired of it.

And today she I mean, I think a week ago she released this video to talk about what Peter McKinnon on YouTube talked about, that drive, that energy that you had for you to create this blog, this YouTube channel. And then somewhere along that way. I am obviously not repeating the exact words you should go ahead and watch those videos. I’ll include a link as well. But the idea is like along the way, whether it’s the YouTube algorithm, which is an engine or robot, someone you’re trying to please or who knows, you know, people who don’t even know you left you one negative comment and makes you realize that you need to somehow revamp and redesign and do something entirely different for your blog, for your channel, for your Instagram account.

And you’ve lost that spark along the way because they’ve taken in the wrong feedback. So you gotta regain that power back. And it’s kind of a power struggle sometimes. But why do we put that on ourselves, right? So, in her Catherine Manning’s latest videos, she talked about bringing back that Vlog content, making the channel be about her.

She says she doesn’t really care if people are losing. She gave her existing subscribers heads up, basically. And I have been thinking about the same thing for the past two years. My content has a largely focused on so much about zoom. It’s like any time that I’m not talking about zoom, zoom, webinar, YouTube will never push my videos.

I’ll get double digit or low hundreds or so. And it is a struggle because I work with a lot of sponsors and sponsors will come to me and say hey, I notice some of your latest videos are interesting, but I don’t know why you don’t get a lot of views. If we sponsor your videos, will we get those views? It’s a struggle. And sponsorships are still very important part of my revenue these days.

So I feel like somehow I need to explain myself. But then I realized, you know what? If I want to talk about certain content that’s important to me, that is a moment in time for my life, then it’s really important to commit to that. Maybe that’s walk around my house and talk about my creative process a day in the life. Maybe that’s about my mom’s work.

And I can walk around and show you all these amazing crazy paintings, silk paintings. Have you even seen one? Have you stood one close to one of them? It’s just incredible. So maybe I can give myself the permission to do that.

And I want you to think about that instead of saying let’s wait until we’re big, until we have the market approval. Do that now. This is a life. This is our life. It’s not a rehearsal.

So, yeah, I’m 10 minutes in and I hope you find this helpful. Please let me know. Connect with me at Face World everywhere. Leave me a message. If you’re listening to this on Anchor, this is an audio episode, by the way, but you can find a lot of video content and interviews on Spotify because I have committed to uploading more video through anchor to my channel.

Alright, thanks so much, much love to this community and I will see you next week. Take care. Bye.

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