Almost 4 years ago to the day, I repurposed my youtube channel and decided to do full time board game content. This shift in the life of my channel also represented a shift in my personal life as well. Tabletop games had at this point taken over my free time. I was so passionate about this new hobby I had discovered and how it had changed my relationships that I just wanted to start helping other people discover and enjoy the hobby as well. I’m feeling rather nostalgic today for many reasons. As of the day that I’m writing this it’s my 4th anniversary of releasing board game content, it’s a new year which has me thinking of what I want to do going forward with my channel, but also one of my first videos just hit 100 thousand views on YouTube.
The video that I’m talking about isn’t one of my best videos. In fact this video is one of my least favorite videos. I feel like I ramble and don’t get around to explaining everything I want to. Nonetheless this feels like a bit of a milestone for my channel. 100 thousand views for many channels on youtube is what they hit within the first few days of an upload…this has taken me 4 years.
Even though the video has taken quite a while to reach this landmark this still served as encouragement to me. As I’ve written about recently over the past year or so I’ve been struggling with the identity of the channel and what I want to do going forward. We have a newborn, I’m not getting tons of sleep, and I’m finding it hard to find the energy to keep up with my previous output of content. I don’t know if it was a lack of motivation brought about by low energy, or lack of motivation brought about by the type of content I’ve been producing.
I think what’s encouraging about this video that received so many views is that this video was made at a time when I was just producing videos about games that I really loved and wanted to talk about for an hour. Over the past 4 years my channel has grown and evolved in different ways. I’ve created some wonderful relationships in the industry and learned so much about making videos and how I want to produce content. As part of this evolution I’ve developed some relationships with companies that are willing to send me games to film videos for. This is so amazing and is a really exciting part of having a channel. The possibility of people sending you products for free! The only downside to this type of agreement is that sometimes you get lots of games…MANY games…sometimes there are games that you don’t personally love, sometimes there are games that you adore! The issue is that you have to have the same level of passion and attention to detail for each game even if it’s not your cup of tea. The more and more this happens the harder it can be to have passion about games that you wouldn’t be excited to buy.
So what’s the rub? Eventually you start to feel some burn out…eventually you start to lose the excitement for making videos and this was the whole reason you started right? To have fun and talk about games that you are passionate about! So here I am in 2020…with a video that I made out of pure passion and excitement getting 100 thousand views. Another reason that this is exciting is that I’m writing this piece on a break in my cubicle. I’m in a cubicle at a job that I don’t enjoy. It’s a job that pays really well and has wonderful benefits, and while I’m here I just wish I wasn’t.
This video gives me hope though. A video that I made and had a lot of fun with resounded with people on YouTube for some reason and gives me hope that one day if I keep making things that I’m passionate about and produce them with as much quality as possible I may not have to be in my cubicle anymore. When I’m here in my cubicle I’m thinking about tabletop games, I’m thinking of ways to evangelize our hobby and tell the story of why tabletop games can mean so much to your relationships and your life. As I sit here I realize that my cubicle has come to represent more to me than just a cubicle. It’s an obstacle. Escaping this obstacle is now a goal and a motivation for me because I feel that this cubicle represents a limitation on my creativity, a temporary roadblock that I can overcome. What gives me hope that I can overcome this obstacle? A video that I put out got 100 thousand views which means that for some reason people enjoyed it…and if I keep making videos like that eventually good things will happen.
I want to make sure that I’m telling the story of tabletop games in the best way I can though. I want to focus on quality and not on making sure that I keep up with deadlines or every new release. I want to highlight the things that are special, and really try my best to change your gaming life for the better. I want to highlight games in a different way, not just the standard game review highlighting mechanics, components and give a numerical rating. I want to try and tell the story of gaming, how they can impact you and how some games can make you feel. I still want to make how to play content as well because sometimes it just helps to see how a game works. So that’s what I’m going to try and explore this year. How do I tell the story of gaming and the story of games? I don’t know yet but I’m going to experiment.
I also want to encourage you as someone who may be trying to create something. Maybe your dream is to be a singer, or teach, or do unboxings of legos on YouTube. Whatever your dream may be I think from time to time we may also have a cubicle so to speak. There will always be an obstacle in your way to keep you from reaching for your dreams. What I would say is find a way to chase after the things that make you happy to be alive in a way that makes you comfortable, just so long as you’re pursuing your passions in some way. Right now, I can’t make game content full time, and maybe I never will be able to. I can however make content as much as I can and see my cubicle as something temporary. When I walk in each morning I don’t have to feel dread when I see my cubicle, I can see an opportunity to escape my limitations. It helps to inspire me to be better, to reach higher and strive for something that makes me happy to get out of bed. I don’t think that I will retire from a cubicle, and if you don’t want to, I don’t think you have to either.