Why bother? It’s a question that every artist asks themselves sooner or later.
Some days creating things and putting them out into the world feels like being pissed on with indifference.
Today has been one of those days for me. I ‘ve survived the pain of being unable to grow the audience on the podcast. I’ve survived the YouTube subscriber plateau. I’ve survived the reality that those closest too you are often the least supportive or interested. I’ve even lived through the fluctuations in motivation and inspiration. But when the actual logistics; the very mechanisms you use to create and post, begin to conspire against you it feels as if you’ve been betrayed by fate.
I’ve never come closer to quitting than I did today–not just the vlog or the podcast or social media or writing, but everything. I’ve never come closer to saying screw it, getting a mind numbing job & learning how to stop dreaming.
But I didn’t.
I don’t know. I don’t know what part of me was brave enough to hold on.
Daily vlogging is rough. No. Daily vlogging is vicious. It’s exhausting creatively, physically, intellectually and emotionally. It’s the most difficult thing that I’ve ever done. Ever. And each time I see a fellow vlogger drop off, I smile. Not because of some sick sense of pride or jealousy. I smile because I’m happy for them. I’m happy that they reached their limit and because I know the immense sense of relief that they feel. I smile because I’m stoked to know them and because I respect them in a way similar to two humans returning from war together; surviving a natural disaster together.
Most of us don’t do this vlogging thing because we think we can become famous. Those people usually drop off after a week when the validation fails to come. Most of us vloggers do this because it looked neat from the outside and we wanted to prove that we could do it. And that why any time someone stops there’s a salute insinuated; a smile; an acknowledgement they have proven their own point and that they are ready to move on.
I wonder what my end point will be. The build up in this post may have some of you wondering if that’s what I’m working myself toward. Is this my goodbye? Am I retiring? …I’m not. I’m not done. I have more to prove. I have more to learn. I have more to share.
Today I went to post my meticulously edited video and realized that I couldn’t use the song I had chosen because it had uncleared samples and that I would get flagged by YouTube. So with only two hours till my daily post time, I re-edited the whole video to a new song and uploaded it (with 30 minutes to spare.) Then I found out that my video was muted by YouTube and flagged because the second song I had used also had uncleared samples. So I re-edited the whole thing again (using a song from YouTube’s approved library that I wasn’t really stoked on).
It was a trail. It was a nightmare. I described the experience to my friend Lam as: “accomplishing the impossible and then getting punched in the face and being forced to accomplish the impossible again and then getting kicked in the dick.”
So what holds me together? What made me do it?
The other day my friend, and fellow daily vlogger, JP and I were talking about how my subscriber count seemed frozen. And he said something to me that I think of now: “You may have 100, I may have 200, but we know our subs, we know if they are having a bad day, we talk to each other. Some of us are meant to only inspire those that we hold close.”
I think of the fact that Jon McCollum watches every episode.
I think of how Trista always has something interesting to say and is always willing to share it.
And mostly I think about this comment from Carl: “One of the reasons I enjoy your vlogs so much is the philosophy you deliver. I feel like you help me grow as a person. Having some tough times right now but you’ve actually helped me out more then you’ll ever know. I hope you vlog forever Chad”
There’s an exchange going on here that’s valuable. These people are important to me. I continue because I’m not willing to give that up. That’s far more important that a silly number. That’s far more important than aggravations and exhaustion.
Why bother? It seems like such a silly question now doesn’t it?