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Notes on the Creative Process: I Do Not Take Requests

As I approached the two-year anniversary of the channel (September 12, 2020), I started putting down my thoughts regarding the lessons I have learned about balancing creativity, passion, and business. This is one in a series.

“I’ma do the things that I want to do,

I ain’t got a thing to prove to you.”

-- “Pork and Beans,” Weezer

On my YouTube channel I get a lot of requests in the comments to make specific videos. The funny thing is, I do not take requests, I have always been clear that I do not take requests, yet people continue to submit them.

If someone made a request and it was both a good idea and a video I wanted to make, I would make it. But in over two years and over 500 videos, that has happened only once.

I have a list of the videos I want to make. The longer the channel goes on, the shorter that list gets. At some point, that list will be complete. When that happens, I suspect I will still make a video or so every week based on my current work, but that decision will be up to me.

I make my videos for me. If other people want to come along for the ride, you’re welcome to do so. But seriously, I do not cater my videos to what I think my audience wants to see. Chasing your audience is the path to hacksville.

I started my channel for the following reasons:

  • To sell more books. I thought videos were a great way to drive attention to my books and increase sales.

  • To preserve my knowledge for others. I spent two decades becoming an expert on Pro/ENGINEER and Creo Parametric. In all my time in the ecosystem, I have never met anyone who was knowledgeable in all the fields I am (design, simulation & analysis, manufacturing, routed systems, Windchill, and PTC Mathcad). I got hit by a car once. The notion that all the knowledge I spent my life accumulating could be lost to the ages saddens me. (It will, one day, as goes the way of all things, but it saddens me nonetheless.)

  • To exercise my creativity.

I never expected the channel to qualify for monetization. The channel earns more than my book sales. The money I make on ads, though, is rather small. As I tell people, it pays for my coffee, but not for my booze, and certainly does not cover my software license costs. Not counting on the channel for supporting me provides me with the creative freedom to do what I want.

At the end of the day, I make the videos for me. To keep up the output, the quality, and the passion, you have to do it for yourself and no one else.

If you think my policy is wrong, I challenge you to this: create a channel. Make and post a hundred videos. Once you have done that, we can have a discussion about whether I should take requests.

I do not have to justify myself to anyone. I seek no one else’s approval. I do what I want to do and I will continue to live how I want to live.

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