1. What is the story behind your channel name?
I have two channels. My first one is Twinkly Tanya, on which I post creative and artsy content such as bullet journaling, creative pen calling and speed drawings. My second channel is Twinkly Tanya Plays, which is all about indie and simulation gaming, and some strategy and adventure too. The name Twinkly Tanya derives from long before I ever started to create content though.
I think the first time I thought of it was when I wanted to create my first Twitter handle. I wanted something cute and bubbly. I absolutely love alliterations, so it just had to be something that started with T, so it would match my name Tanya. The word Twinkly only seemed logical. From then on, I started to use it everywhere and later turned it into my brand name.
2. What is your video game history/background and all time favourite game?
I started playing when I was 5 or 6. My sister (who didn't live with me) would always bring her NES when she and my dad came to visit me. We would play Super Mario and I loved it so much! A bit later I got my very first console: an Atari 2600. I think it may have been my sister's old console. At some point I got a SNES and that was when I really started to be an avid gamer, little as I was. I spend hours on Super Mario World, the first game I fully finished. I loved it so much and because of that, Mario (and Yoshi!) will always hold a special place in my heart.
It's hard to pick an all time favourite game, but if I had to choose, I'd say Final Fantasy X. I love the whole Final Fantasy series, their games really hit the feels. But FFX is the one that captured me the most so far. The world, the story, the characters, the music... Everything is just right in that game.
3. What/Who inspired you to start creating content on the internet?
At all? I cannot remember, as I put my first content out there so long ago. It was someone who became a very famous singer after being discovered on YouTube (far before Justin Bieber, so it wasn't him). I wanted the same back then so I started uploading music covers (VERY occasionally, some were years apart. Needless to say, the internet fame never happened. XD) Years later, it was Moriah Elizabeth who made me realize people liked to watch other people being creative on camera, and that's when I started doing that myself. As for my gaming channel, the person who has inspired me the most was Aavak.
He was the first YouTube gamer I saw that was just being himself, and it was his pleasant personality which made me come back to his episodes day after day. He made me realize that gaming channels are not just about the game. People want to be able to identify with the person behind the let's play. That's what made me slowly realize I could do this as well.
I didn't have to be the number one expert on a game to post about it. I just had to be a person that people could identify with. I just had to be myself. It was an epiphany which made me start turning my dream into reality.
4. When did you start creating content on the internet?
I posted my very first video almost 10 years ago, on November 23, 2008.
I can't believe it's that long ago already! But it was about two years ago when I started to take my channel more seriously and made the shift to creative and artsy content. My gaming channel is only one month old. And ever since then I started to take myself really serious as a content creator, working on new content every day and aiming to be a full-time creator once that can call it her job.
5. How did you find the first few weeks/months of content creation? (any funny stories/mistakes/highlights?)
As I was already creating content for Twinkly Tanya, I thought opening a second channel would be easy. Oh, how wrong and naive I was... I had to learn so many new things! The computer specs needed to be able to record and stream, or even play the games on my wishlist in the first place. How to use OBS, Audacity, Photoshop, Davinci Resolve.
I wanted to have my channel art on point so I could already put a brand out there right from the start. Things I never did all at once for my creative channel, as that all happened gradually. After I recorded my first episode for Twinkly Tanya Plays, I was so pumped that I wanted to keep going. So I recorded seven episodes that day in one batch.
When I wanted to edit them, I noticed that there was no audio. I cannot describe the horror I felt. No audio for seven episodes! The cable had somehow become loose between the first and the second episode... So I HAD to re-record everything, which also meant re-starting the whole game. That really bummed me out, but at the same time I was happy that it happened at the start, not months into a series on my channel.
Needless to say, I always make sure to test the audio before I start recording now.
6. How did you grow your channel? How did you network?
I grew my creative channel by sharing my content in Facebook groups specifically to my niche. I also react a lot on other posts there, just being an active member of the community. Aside from that I posted my journal pages and my drawings on Instagram, which really helped me grow.
For my gaming channel I try to do it in a similar way. I try to be an active member of the community, by joining Facebook and Discord groups, and subreddits related to the games I play. Instagram doesn't make so much sense to me as a gamer, so I choose Twitter to connect with my audience and other YouTubers instead.
The real growing for my gaming channel still needs to happen, as I just started one month ago.
7. What has been your proudest moment so far?
I think that might be putting my first gaming video online. I had wanted to do this for so many years now, but fear always held me back. I was proud that I decided to stop listening to my fears and started listening to my desire instead. Now just looking at that channel makes me proud.
Seeing all the uploads I did in that one month, the whole cohesive look because I invested time in the branding, the amount of viewers I already have in my first month. It makes me so proud to look at, because I see all the hard work I put in it. And I'm proud to be doing something that I love everyday, to make my dream happen.
8. How did you find the technical side of content creation? Setting up your channel, etc?
I used to hate the editing part, because up until last summer, I had a very crappy old computer and I used Windows Movie Maker. I don't know how many times I just wanted to throw my computer out of the window out of frustration! But this summer I bought a new computer to be able to start my gaming channel, and now I can use a really great editing program which helps so much! Editing starts to be fun now!
Setting up my gaming channel was so much more work than I had anticipated, since I wanted to do it right from the start this time. But I enjoyed every bit of it. Every little thing I learned felt like a new accomplishment, and one step closer to my dream.
I had a friend helping me with designing the channel art, which was really encouraging. Her enthusiasm kept me going at times when it seemed to be getting too much.
9. What do you enjoy most about your content creation hobby/career?
That I can get up every day to do the stuff that I love. And sharing that passion with the rest of the world is the icing on the cake.
10. What don't you enjoy so much about your content creation hobby/career?
That I never seem to have enough time to do all the things that I want to do. And that sometimes means jeopardizing my consistency in uploading, or just not creating everything I would like to, simply because I cannot fit it in anywhere.
11. What are you short term and long term goals for your channel/s?
My short term goal for Twinkly Tanya is to become a YouTube partner. I'm well on my way to meet the requirements. Becoming a YouTube partner would be such an amazing milestone.
For my gaming channel my short term goal is to have 100 videos out there by the end of the year. Also to be posting daily consistently. I don't have subscriber goals, as I cannot directly influence that myself, but my aim is to reach my first 100 subscribers by the end of the year, just because that is such an amazing and difficult milestone to reach.
Another goal for me is to start streaming on Twitch as well. I do wanna feel confident and consistent enough on my YouTube channel first though. I want it to feel more routined before I take on a new challenge. But I hope to start my first stream before the year ends.
As a longer term goal I would like to see myself being able to make a living out of this. Not necessarily as my sole source of income, but as a viable part of it. It would mean the world to me to keep doing what I love every day, and creating more and better content for my audience.
12. What advice would you give anyone looking to get into content creation?
Learn how to reach an audience by watching YouTube experts like Derral Eves, Nick Nimmon, Sean Cannell and Roberto Blake. There's many more experts out there. This will help you put your channel out there more deliberately, creating better content and actually drawing in viewers from the start.
Also, watch your favourite creators in your niche and analyse what they do that attracts you to watch them. Don't copy them of course, but use them as your inspiration. But also, don't be the Forever Student.
Make sure you understand the basics and then just start! You can learn how to be better along the way. It doesn't have to be perfect from the start. Don't let your fear hold you back.
Fear is your greatest enemy here, don't let it control you!
13. Finally, what other content creators do you enjoy watching and recommend people check out?
My favourites in the creative/artsy niche: Amanda RachLee, Christine MyLinh and Makoccino. My favourites in the gaming niche: Aavak, Katherine of Sky, Keralis and Lady Shelab.
Twinkly Tanya is a YouTube gamer who plays indie and simulation games, with a dash of strategy and adventure.
You can find her channel at bit.ly/TTPsubs and connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/twinklytanyapl
If you're interested in her artsy and creative side, you can find her on www.youtube.com/2twistedtanya and on www.instagram.com/twinklytanya
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