How a video habit can help you grow your audience and overcome “writer’s block”

Video is my learning edge at the moment, so I wanted to share some reflections on my process along with some thoughts of WHY I’m committing to using video. I’ve been convinced that video is a platform that any small business owner or educator needs to get comfortable with. I’ll share some of my own examples as well.

In this article

  • Why fluency is the key to creative flow
  • Examples of small businesses using video
  • 3 habits for overcoming the fear of being on camera

Why it’s worth it to overcome the fear of being on camera.

​Teaching on video is hard – yet it’s one of the most valuable tools right now to connect with a larger audience. 

For online course creators, creating good quality video is critical to their success. If you’re serious about helping your students, you need to be serious about translating your skills as an educator into the video space, there’s simply no way around it, being a good instructor on camera is like learning an instrument. 

Many people have a hard time transitioning simply because they underestimated the time it would take them to get comfortable. 

This was my story, I was constantly freezing up on video. But then I listened to an episode of Sean DeSouza’s podcast about ​fluency​ and the creative process. I can’t recall his exact words, but the concept is this: We often get interrupted from our creative flow with technical stuff. One minute we’re on a roll, and then suddenly we’re trying to correct a misspelled word after our attention was hijacked by a red line. Happened to me while writing this very sentence. 

(getting interrupted by your tools)
(getting interrupted by your tools)

Anyways, becoming fluent with your tool is the answer to this problem of creative interruption.

And how does once gain fluency? With regular exposure or habits.

That’s why I’m doing my free weekly webinar series, to develop the habit. AND in the same spirit I invite you to join me on Thursdays and make learning about your website (gaining fluency) a weekly habit for you. 

Your ability to grow your audience and impact online is directly related to your fluency with the tools.

Fluency applies to so many areas, and so here are some examples of clients who are actively developing their video skills and seeing results. 

​A cider maker, an herbalist, and nut grower have in common? They’re all using video to expand their reach.

Take Eve’s Cidery for example – they use video to share their passion for orchard based cider. They believe that everyone should have a connection to the land and to where their food comes from.

As it turns out, they gained quite a following from other small cider makers. It established them as real experts in their industry and set them apart. By sharing everything they are creating a culture of transparency among other cider makers and raising the standards for the industry. It’s inspiring right?

Other examples… is a website that my friend and I put up and forgot about. A year later he’s got an income from youtube videos and an online course to supplement a tree nursery. People want to buy the course, even if they live overseas and can’t receive the physical products he sells.

Heartstone has transformed their business with online courses, and now apprentices in the weekend program are getting an online A&P training to accompany their in-person programs.

Video is helping all of these people connect with their audience in a more authentic way.

But who has time to learn and make video?

Not having time, not making time, and alas, time goes by. If you are thinking “I don’t have time” then you’re not alone – this is the new status quo… But I’d argue that you do have time, but your lack of fluency in a particular tool is making regular tasks frustrating and interruptive. 

There’s really no good reason to accept creative block as a condition of life. It’s not, it’s something that can be overcome simply with fluency.

So how to get fluency?


I work with students every day in my day job as a library director – and teaching is a great joy for me. In so many ways it’s part of how I learn. But trying to get through a 10 minute video I keep stopping and starting over, stumbling over my words.

The few times I sit down and try to record a video, I am distracted, scattered, or self-conscious. Now I know how vulnerable and challenging it is to talk on camera. I’ll never take a one-take video shoot for granted again. 

But over time I’ve gotten more comfortable on video, and it’s all because of a few key habits. Here they are:

1. Using The Voice Memo App

While I’m walking the dog or writing in a white board, I’ll use a voice memo app on my phone to riff on an idea or rehearse a presentation. It’s become a habit to try and deliver a presentation as a way to help me deepen my learning.

I use my voice memo app to “put me on the spot” and get comfortable with a flashing red light.

This is great practice for learning presence, or what XayLi Barclay calls Camfidence. Even though it’s just audio it’s helping me practice delivery. Plus, I run the file through a transcription tool to write articles like this one 🙂

2. Using Zoom for online video meetings with clients.

With Zoom I’m connecting with people over video regularly, and it’s helping me to become more fluent in the behavior of being “on screen”. It’s also allowing me to practice setting up my lights and microphone comfortably.

Using zoom has helped develop the habit to be comfortable on video. Book a zoom meeting with me after completing an inquiry

3. Provide a Weekly “Office Hours” Online

This applies to educators, but it can also apply to any small business or service provider. You can use all the major social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, IG, etc.. have live streaming built in. The point is to create a regular commitment to show up on video.

Schedule a weekly (or daily) time to check in on video and practice your delivery and performance.

You can use this to practice presentations, answer questions, and make yourself available to people in person. This generosity is the key to truly leverage the change you can make in the world.

I have never felt more connected to my clients and leads (prospective clients) as I do now. It’s an authentic and trust building form of communication and no matter how we feel about the technology it’s hard to deny that video is a powerful way to impact people.

What are you doing Thursday at noon?

I hope you’ll join me in the Maple Creative weekly, Level Up Your Website, office hours.

It’s every Thursday at noon that you can connect with me on live video.

Click here to get the link for Webinar / Office Hours

After signing up you’ll get an automatic email with the zoom link and then a automatic reminder an hour before the weekly meeting. 


It’s a win-win 🙂

Enrollment for my new online program, WordPress Publishing Essentials has wrapped up, and there are 5 students in the first version of the course. Success!

After we work through the next 10 weeks (and I’ve made sure all 5 of my students have an amazing website) I’ll improve the course and re-open registration again.

If you’re interested in making your own online course, I can’t recommend Janelle Allen enough. She’s incredible and I couldn’t have done it without her program. Check out the podcast episode where she interviewed me, and her program Finish Your Damn Course (which is available for the next week or so)

Tags: curriculum design, online courses, Podcast, video

Ryan Clover

Designer and founder of Maple Creative, providing technical wizardry for activists, educators. and small business owners who are out to change the world.