Running In Water
It’s hard to put into words how I’m somehow both frustrated and excited by the idea that my climb to 100k subscribers has slowed to a crawl.
It’s frustrating because it’s a result of lost momentum. I was growing at a rate a month or so ago that put me on track to hit the milestone while I was down at Disney. Then it just fell off. Now if it holds steady at this current rate it might not even happen in 2018. It’s like the YouTube version of running in a dream and feeling like you’re waste deep in water. Trying so hard but moving so slow. Yet I remind myself that at this point it’s a matter of when, not if, and that in itself is an incredible milestone considering I was ready to give up this dream just over a year ago.
On the other hand, this slow down is exhilarating, because it’s a fresh challenge.
There have been a few articles written about YouTuber burnout lately. They usually profile a few full-time creators who focus on daily content and how they feel pressure to create every single day and how it takes it’s toll after a while. I have no doubt that it does for them. Side note, but I believe trying to create engaging and high quality content on a daily basis without a full creative team is insanity. There are entire television shows with multi-million dollar budgets and large teams who do it and even then they’re often considered high stress positions. Trying to do it alone is just a recipe for a meltdown.
However one thing I’ve noticed is once or twice they cite how beyond the production or management or business chores tied to it, it’s that constant search for the next piece of content that’s draining, and after over six years now I just could never relate to that. To quote Angela Bassett from the Mission: Impossible trailer since I’ve seen it 1000 times:
To me, that challenge to drum up the next topic or idea is the thrilling part. It’s the core of creating content. Now I get for them they’re already fighting a losing battle by doing it daily, but in general I can’t fathom deciding to be a creator and resenting the actual process of creation. I get hating all of the ancillary stuff, but I’ve always figured it’s because it steals time from the actual creation part of the job.
Anyway I mention all this because when I see my growth rate drop, I know that my only real course of action is to make better videos. Sure, I can improve tags and my descriptions, but they exist to support good content. I can sit here and hope the YouTube algorithm works in my favor, but that’s a losing game. Really, what’s left is making better videos and better thumbnails. Besides, when I think about this final sprint to 100k, that’s what I want to carry me over the line. Not a month or two of really cleverly placed video cards, but just a month or two of next level awesome videos.
I’m looking at my production calendar right now and after tomorrow’s video, I have nothing planned for the rest of 2018. That’s 14 videos left for the year, and that’s 14 blank canvases. That’s 14 chances to make the best video I’ve ever made. I kicked off the year by hitting a milestone of 50,000 subscribers, and I’m ready to work my ass off to finish the year at 100,000. That fire under my butt to make that goal is so energizing, and it’s why I love doing this.
So yeah, running through water is frustrating and annoying because it’s not as easy, but when I get to that milestone regardless, it’s going to feel extra good.