Day #241: The Plight of the Unknown Youtuber

Whenever I hear advice from a successful person, a vast majority of the time it hits my ears as “these were the lottery numbers that worked for me.” That’s not to say that everyone is a fluke and their success is completely unearned, but in my time on this planet, I’ve met my share of incredibly talented people that no one has ever heard of; too many to believe that hard work and ability alone are keys to success. Timing, connections, pure dumb luck – these are the things that win out more often than not. Discovering this fact is equal parts liberating and infuriating. On one hand, it softens the blow when I don’t quite make the progress that I’d like, but at the same time, it leaves me with this feeling of utter helplessness, as if my fate is completely out of my own hands.

If hard work isn’t enough, then what, exactly, does one have to do to get noticed?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, especially when it comes to my recent Youtube efforts. I kind of understood that I’d be fighting from underneath, especially considering that my goal is to be the polar opposite of what the most popular channels have to offer. I don’t have thumbnails that involve me making wacky faces, I don’t spout memes, and I don’t yell into a microphone. My logic is simple – the people looking for that already have a lot of options. What I’m trying to do is bridge the gap between entertainer and critic. I’m a silly chap, but I also feel like I have a lot of offer in terms how I speak about games and the way they’re made. I look at the Youtube landscape and feel like it’s only a matter of time before the bubble bursts, when everyone’s 15 minutes have expired and they have nothing else to fall back on. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is just the direction media is going and the only way for me to grow as a channel is to get a webcam and become a Markiplier rip-off. I sure hope not.

Maybe… just maybe, persistance will win out in the end. It took the better part of six months before I had any consistent traffic here, and that’s while producing content every single day. Maybe all it will take is the right person, watching the right video, at the right moment to go “this Wilkens lad is smart/funny/insightful/sounds handsome/whatever”. Maybe that day will never happen and I’ll find myself needing to refocus again down the line.

That’s the thing with being in any creative field – you need to be able to adapt. For now, all I can do is keep pushing, keep producing, keep hoping for a break. After all, I’ve gone too far to stop now.

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