Aparna Verma is a Youtuber, full time student at Stanford University and all around creative machine. She produces videos that include unique ways to DIY (Do It Yourself) videos to entire theme based style Lookbooks. We were curious to ask her about college life, inspirations, fashion and style.
1. How does your creative process look like from editing videos to writing?
My creative process is a product of my environment. I find that I tend to write better on rainy days or days when the clouds are like smoke and the sun is a distant visitor. Everything about a gloomy day is inspirational, from the smell of the earth to the subliminal hue of the sky. It’s great for a writer because you have an excuse to hole up in your room or in a café and just write your heart out or until at least your hand cramps.
As for videos, I always start with brainstorming about what kind of video my channel needs next, and it’s often one of these three things: a short film, a DIY or something random. All three are conceived with a pen and they are delivered through the screen you’re seeing now. Sometimes a video will take days, other times just a few hours. I find that short films are the hardest but the most rewarding. The genesis of my short films is often my notebook. I’ll write a piece of prose or a bit of poetry and if I see images as I write, then I know I’m going to film it. It’s as simple and difficult as that.
2. Do you have any tips or advice for students who are currently in their first of year of college and are experiencing feelings of homesickness?
The funny thing is, I don’t think I ever got homesick. There were moments, but I just lost myself in the thrill of being somewhere new and far from home. I love adventure and don’t mind being away from familiar places. I think as a writer and filmmaker, you have to be curious and open to change. Go out and explore the world around you. Yes, home is warm and comfy but do you really want to spend these minutes crying for your room or do you want to spend them journeying through your new campus, finding little nooks on campus that you can call your own? Don’t waste these precious moments. Four years go by quickly.
3. Where do you get your major sources of inspiration from? Any particular websites or people?
Neil Gaiman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Cormac McCarthy and J. R. Tolkien come off the top of my head when it comes to my writing inspirations. These four are amazing storytellers and I’m always taken away by their sheer imagination or attention to detail. All the Pretty Horses and Interpreter of Maladies are two books that I look to when I’m stuck on a passage. I read The Great Gatsby every year because one, it’s one of my favorites and two, I always uncover something new, some hidden detail or symbol that makes me fall in love with the story all over again. That’s the mark of a great writer. And that’s what I hope to be one day.
4. What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?
I just saw so many DIY videos and I said to myself, “You know, I can do that, and I can do it better.” I’m a very creative person and people throughout the years have told me this. YouTube is an avenue of expression, of creativity and I just wanted in on that. Now, I’ve expanded from doing just DIYs and I think it’s because as I’m growing and learning, so is my YouTube channel, and it’s nice to look back and see how I’ve evolved.
5. When facing writer’s block or any sort of standstill regarding churning creative output, how do you overcome it?
Often I just look out my window. Hear the trees sigh some secret in a tongue I have not yet learned. See two ravens dip their wings as they chase each other across the sky. Sometimes I’ll pick up a new book and slip into another world. Other times I’ll daydream. I’m always creating new scenes in my head or always talking to my characters and putting them in everyday situations and see how they’d react.
If the story I’m working on is coming to a standstill or is stuck, I’ll move onto to something else and then return to it. A fresh perspective is everything.
6. What does expression through style and fashion mean to you?
I wanted to do lookbooks on YouTube because they’re just fun to film and watch. I didn’t think I had a great taste in fashion. Some people did and still do and so I keep it up. I know it’s vain to buy clothes and be materialistic but humanity is consumed with vanity. It’s also, if you think about it, a form of expression. Fashion is vanity, but it’s also an expression of creativity and individuality. People judge you based on how you look, and although that’s not fair, you and I both do it so we might as well try and represent ourselves through our clothes.
There’s also a myth that writers or nerds have no taste in fashion and that’s absolutely not true. Just because you’re bookish doesn’t mean that you don’t know how to present yourself. I can look classy and sophisticated and still be a good writer. It’s called being creative in all aspects of your life.
Sprinkle some love on Aparna’s YouTube channel and revel in all that vivid and cool content!