These days, watching a video online is simple. Recent statistics show that over 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. You’re spoiled for choice, so here are some options to take to narrow it down a bit for you.
My advice is to find out which sort of videos suit you best. I enjoy watching video diaries – or vlogs – so my first port of call would be to look at a video from one of my favourite YouTubers.
Action Time! If you’re like me, watch a video from someone who’s channel you enjoy and write the script for a video response to them.
To put it simply, just write down what you would say to them, as if you were having a conversation. Address the points that the person made. Try to keep it to what would realistically be four minutes worth of talking.
If you prefer, try searching a location name instead. See who’s made videos about places they’ve visited. Author John Green, along with his brother Hank, have a series of videos entitled Thoughts From Places that offer both a commentary on what they see, and the actual footage of what they see, for you to enjoy too. They’re an easy place to start with.
Action Time! Watch one of these videos – or another about a location, and attempt to describe it.
Use something you see in the video as a setting in a story. Write a poem about what’s on screen. Take notes and write a short article on the location.
The last exercise is generally applicable to almost any video you see on YouTube that isn’t a music video, a work out video, or a cat running around a room. By and large, you can write about just about every video you see online, giving you an almost unlimited source of inspiration.
Action Time! Take the stories people tell online and recreate them as your own.
Write a poem about the experience of a bungee jump you see online. Write an article about what’s observed through the dashboard camera of a car in Russia.
Take it one step further, and fictionalise an episode from someone’s life as recorded through video diaries. Write a brief biography of a YouTuber based on what you know about them from their videos. Or, maybe do as I’ve done: write a poem about your favourite YouTubers.
The point here is to get you visually stimulated, and utilising what you can see and hear in your writing. You can make this a daily exercise in writing, if you feel like you need to change things up a bit. The shift from the norm, and the almost unexpected nature of what you can see or hear online, will help to get you focused on writing again. If you focus entirely on your own book during this exercise, you might even find new avenues you can explore by seeing how someone else’s life fits into your story, or what might happen in a different setting.