Stories to Steal

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, and I thought I would bounce it off some people, because it’s something that would require a bit of time and organization, but I also think it could be really interesting…

So we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing. One of my strengths (at least, I like to think so) is being able to visualize a particular scene as if it’s happening in my head, just like it’s my own memory, which can make emotional scenes much easier to write. One of my weaknesses, however, is that oftentimes these scenes are things that pop into my brain out of nowhere, and then fail to go anywhere else. I’ll get ideas from dreams, other books, movies, video games, whatever, and I’ll have this great scene playing out in my head, and I’ll often write it down in one form or another…but I haven’t actually got a story. Just a scene, sitting there all on its lonesome, with no book to snuggle around it.

Every so often I will, in fact, return to one of these scenes and think of something to do with it, but more often than not it ends up languishing in my “Random Stuff” Scrivener file, likely to sit there until the end of time because I just have no real use for it.

So then I had this idea for a book…

I got the idea from the NaNoWriMo forums, in which every year there’s a thread where writers drop random ideas with the expressed purpose that other writers who are struggling with their stories can wander in and steal them. What then, I thought, if I wrote an entire book of these “stories to steal”, using all the little homeless scenes I’ve compiled over the years?

A book of ideas of things to write isn’t a new idea – I have a few of them on my shelf upstairs right now – but this wouldn’t be a book simply of ideas. It would be a book of actual written scenes, with character names and all. The writer who reads the book could steal the scene verbatim if they wanted, or change it as they desire, and build their own story around it in the way that I wasn’t able to.

So the question is, what do you think? Is it an idea worth pursuing? The main issues in my path are that I’d have to flesh out my cache of scenes, as I’m not sure I have enough of them to fill an entire book, and also I’d have to work out how to format the book, as it obviously wouldn’t work with just paragraph after paragraph on the pages like a standard novel. But I’d be willing to put in the time and effort to combat those issues if I thought it was a genuinely good idea that people might be willing to purchase.

So let me know! Is it a good idea, and why or why not? Do you have any suggestions that could make it a better idea? Ideas for how I could approach the formatting issue? Please let me know!

Advertisements

5 Pieces of Writing Advice That are Total BS

BSwriting

I’m going to preface this post by stating the obvious:

I probably have no right to be claiming that any kind of writing advice – especially the kind that comes from successful, well-established authors – is equivalent to a bull’s fecal matter. I am, after all, not much more than an amateur novelist, with two self-published books and a meager number of sales to my name. How, then, can I claim to really know what is and isn’t “good” writing advice, right?

Well that’s the first bit of BS right there. Just because I’m not a runaway success, boasting hundreds of thousands of books sold, doesn’t mean I don’t know crap advice when I see it. So screw anyone who says otherwise! I’m going to share with you, right now, five pieces of writing advice that say are total BS.

1. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. 

Let’s start with simple one. Many “expert” authors will attempt to convince you that words such as “shouted”, “cried”, “sighed”, and “groaned” are somehow intrusive, and that they have no place in describing lines of dialogue. These writers will tell you that “said” is the only word that should ever be used to follow a character speaking.

“Blah blah,” she said. “Blah blah blah,” he said.

How goddamn boring is that?

I honestly have no idea where the logic behind this particular bit of advice comes from. I can agree that the use of certain, overly-pretentious words can be distracting to a reader and should absolutely be avoided. Saying “he aforementioned”, for instance, leaves the average reader thinking, “What in the seven hells does ‘aforementioned’ mean?” and takes them out of the story. But what in those same seven hells is so “intrusive” about saying “she cried”?

To further my point, I’ll point out that the giver of this particular piece of advice clearly doesn’t write creative fiction with any sort of emotion to it. Be honest now, young readers and writers: if you’ve got a character who’s just been beaten to the ground and is reaching out in agony as a shadowy stranger strides off into the darkness carrying her baby…are you going to be expecting her to “say” something or to “scream” something? If you’ve got a pair of characters who are making hot, passionate love to one another, is it going to keep you in the mood if one of them “says” something, or would you be more apt to hear them “moan” something?

Using “said” for every single line of dialogue is ridiculously restrictive and demolishes an author’s ability to create mood and emotion within the conversation. Convince me otherwise, I dare you. Write a heart-wrenching, terrifying, or action-packed scene jammed with dialogue that only uses the word “said”, and try to make it anything less than boring. If you can pull that off, you are a king among peasants within the writing world.

2. Never use prologues or dream sequences, ever. 

This one, I believe, comes from an era of writers who believe that anything that makes storytelling a little easier is some kind of cop-out, like a kid cheating on a test. These are the writers who believe that a piece of writing cannot be good unless the author has suffered in order to write it.

BS.

I’m definitely not saying that we should all be taking the easy way out whenever possible, but flat-out denying the use of any particular method of storytelling is defeatist foolishness. For certain, a prologue for the sake of just having a prologue is pointless, and a dream sequence designed with no other purpose than to easily reveal information that the author would rather not have to think too much about is lazy. But that doesn’t mean that a well-written prologue that delicately eases a reader into the world of the story can’t be well-received. And it doesn’t mean that a dream sequence that gives a bit of an insider look into the psyche of a character can’t work wonders for building a reader’s affection of that character. Every tool has a place and can be used well if the writer knows what they’re doing with it. To discount such tools with a scoff and a pretentious wave of the hand is foolishness of the highest order.

And while we’re at, there’s nothing write with adverbs, when used properly and sparingly!

3. Ignore your internal editor because every first draft is crap and editing shouldn’t even be on the plate until you have a complete first draft. 

Let’s clear something up right away with this one: every writer has their own method. Some people plan every scene and write detailed character sheets before they even consider writing the first line of a story. Others just start writing without half an idea as to what they intend to accomplish. Some people write from start to finish, taking a rod-straight line right through their work. Others bounce from scene to scene, chapter to chapter, and everything in between, as the inspiration hits them.

And while some people close their eyes, bite their tongues, ignore every plot hole and grievous typo, and just slam out that first draft without a second thought to what it will look like when it’s finished, other people can’t move forward without fixing the problems that pop up as they come.

I’ll admit that the best way to slam out as many words as possible in a short amount of time (such as when one is participating in National Novel Writing Month) is to throttle that internal editor and throw him/her in a dark closet until that first draft is complete. However, some people just can’t work that way. It gnaws at them, niggles in the back of their minds, and drives them mad, making the writing process insufferable, and if the process is insufferable, we’re much more likely to give up on it all together.

In conclusion: everyone has their own methods, and as long as that method ultimately results in a book, who cares if it’s the “proper” method?

4. Write what you know.

No one ever expanded their mind by sticking to only what they already know. This advice is right up there with “never try anything new and you’ll never get hurt/embarrassed/etc”.

There is absolutely something to be said for writing what you know. Imbuing your own knowledge, experience, and emotion into a novel can be the spark that truly gives it life. If you’ve experienced loss, you’re going to know how it feels when it comes down to writing about a character’s loss. If you’ve actually been rock climbing you’re going to have a much easier time describing the ins and outs when your character is doing it. If you’ve watched hundreds of horror movies you’re going to have a much easier time writing a story about devils and demons than someone who only ever watches action flicks.

But if you only ever write what you know, you’re putting yourself in a box, unable to grow, unable to expand, unable to flesh out your stories in new and exciting ways. If you’ve never researched a topic that you knew absolutely nil about so that you could incorporate that topic into a story, you’ve delegated yourself to living in a five mile radius when there are hundreds of thousands of miles of unexplored terrain splayed out before you in every direction.

Writing what you know is easy and makes for realistic storytelling. Writing what you don’t know is hard and time-consuming, and it makes you a better writer in the long run.

5. Write every day.

Here we are at the big one. The mother of all writing advice.

Write. Every. Day.

This one actually seems, on the surface, like excellent advice. Writers have to write! They have to write a lot! Therefore, they should write every day! It only makes sense!

Yet…

Again we find ourselves looking at that fact that advice-givers love to ignore: Every. Person. Is. Different.

As much as we would like to imagine our writers as these dedicated souls who wake up in the morning, plunk themselves down at their desk, and compose from dawn til’ dusk, that is simply not the case for the overwhelming majority. Most writers, no matter how dedicated they are, no matter how determined, can’t simply sit down and spend all day every day plucking out words on a keyboard or scribbling in a notebook. There was once a time when the novelist would be akin to a hermit, sequestering himself away in a room, day after day, until the work was complete, but that simply isn’t the way of things anymore.

Writers are adults with day jobs and responsibilities. Writers are children still struggling away in school. Writers are single mothers with half a dozen kids, and they’re fathers working two jobs just to pay the bills. Writers are plying their craft in the middle of war zones, and they’re struggling to write in a language that is not their first.

Writers are not simply writers. They’re people, with lives that entail a million and one other things that aren’t writing. To some “classic” writers this is blasphemy, but from one 21st century writer to the next: we aren’t playing by those rules any more, and we cannot and will not beat ourselves up if we’re unwilling or unable to force ourselves to WRITE EVERY DAY.

So I’m officially re-writing this particular bit of advice and making it work for the present-day writer who is constantly beating themselves up for every day that passes without words hitting paper.

WRITE WHENEVER YOU CAN.

Writers have to write. We know this. So write whatever you can, whenever you can, and work as hard as you can without destroying the rest of your life in the process.

That’s MY advice. Feel free to call it BS if you like. ^_~

International (Geeky) Women’s Day 2018

The first time I ever heard about this thing called “International Women’s Day” I was working on the Kearl Lake facility outside of Fort McMurray, Alberta. I was alerted to its existence when I was invited by a random HR person I didn’t know to come up to the main control room and have a piece of cake, which was inscribed with the number of women who were working on the site in various roles. At the time, I’ll be honest, it seemed like one of the stupidest concepts I’d ever heard. For one thing, the number of women working on the site at that time compared to the number of men was not all that impressive. I can’t recall the exact numbers, but it was something like 1000 women compared to 7000 men, and a chunk of those women didn’t even actually work on the site (they were in offices, off site, doing things like booking flights). For another thing, it just seemed like an odd thing to be celebrating to me. Yay to Kearl for hiring a bunch of women who’d applied to the jobs and earned them because they were the most suited for the available positions at the time? Go team?

That was more than six years ago, meaning I was still in my twenties, and I may have been more than a little jaded and self-righteous, I’ll admit it. I was the only women on my technical commissioning team of several hundred and I’d never personally experienced any issues, so I may have been a little biased against the plight of women who had. Ignorance is bliss, and all that.

These days I’m no longer outright “this is dumb” in my opinions, but I’m still a little wary about special days that celebrate a specific group of people. In my opinion it’s one thing to use special days in order to bring awareness to serious world issues, but there’s something about singling out specific denominations that never sits well with me. It just seems a little…anti-equality, I guess. I figure, personally, how can we truly fight for equality among all people when we keep purposely bringing attention to the fact that we’re different?

Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know, but if I’m being totally honest, those are my feelings about it. Not to mention, let’s be honest: when you create a day to celebrate a certain group, inevitably there will be members of that group who use it as a way to act like an ass and get away with it. No matter how many women are out there who have good reasons to celebrate this day, there will always be the few (who are always the loudest) who use it as a way to bash men, act high-and-mighty, and start a bunch of crap in the name of “feminism”. That’s why I made this tweet first thing this morning when I realized what day it is:

“It’s , so let’s take a moment to think about how we can make the world a better place, not only by refusing to PUT UP with shit, but also by not STARTING shit. We can all – men AND women – be better people, so let’s keep that in mind. ^_~

Fair enough? I personally thought so. 🙂

And now, because I don’t want this post to be too overly serious…

I went on to celebrate International Women’s Day the way only a total geek with an enormous attachment to fictional characters can do. I asked my Basement Geeks to share a picture or gif of a female character they love, and then I took pics of some of my toys and shared four female characters I grew up idolizing for their brains, beauty, ability to kick ass, and ability to have major crazy fun.

womensday

Sailor Mercury was one of the first characters I can remember truly wanting to be like. She was a superhero who was also sweet, pretty, and exceptionally intelligent, and her intelligence was often a driving point in the show that helped save the team. As a total nerd who got teased for doing so well in school, I absolutely loved Ami Mizuno for this reason. To me, she proved that the “nerd” could be the hero too, and that focusing on the more mental side of things didn’t mean you had to sacrifice in other areas of life.

The Pink Power Ranger struck a chord with me not only because she was also a superhero with an awesome costume and a goddamn Pterodactyl mech, but also because she was a “popular” girl who wasn’t a total bitch. I loved that Kimberly Ann Hart was fun and friendly even though she was also the kind of girl who would be the lead cheerleader and get all the boys. I didn’t see much of that combination in real life, but even seeing it on the small screen gave me hope that there were actually girls like that out there, and that maybe I could even be one of them.

Batman the Animated Series was an enormous part of my childhood, and I always loved Harley Quinn to death. She might not be the world’s best role model, given a laundry list of issues including, you know…being a completely psychotic villain. But I loved her for how fun she was. She was loud and confident and seemed able to have a blast no matter what was going on around her, which was pretty much the exact opposite of shy, quiet, self-depreciating me when I was young.

And then, of course, there was Princess Leia, the first lady of the Star Wars universe, played by the amazingly wonderful late Carrie Fisher. Watching A New Hope for the first time, I found myself faced with one of the most amazing female characters I’d ever seen at that point in my life. She was the leader of a rebellion, risking her life to change the whole galaxy. She saved the male characters as often as they saved her, and she did so while looking amazing and popping off one-liners like a pro. Plus she was a goddamn princess. I fell in love with her from the moment she stood up to Darth Vader in the opening scenes of the original trilogy.

For the record, I didn’t have a figure I could take a pic of for my all-time most idolized character, who is Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I grew up with Buffy, and to this day I still adore how her character is powerful, yet vulnerable, talented, yet flawed, is able to save the world, but also makes horrible mistakes. She made me laugh like a fool, she made me bawl my eyes out like a total baby. I cheered for her, feared for her, and felt her losses like a knife in my own heart. She’s one of the most genuinely human characters I’ve ever known, relatable at the same time as being untouchable, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever grow out of wanting to be just like her.

So now I pass the question off to you. Let’s take this day and make ourselves smile with it. Which female characters did you look up to as a child? Which ones do you still look up to? Which ones changed your life? Which ones do you think you’ll never be able to let go of? Share with me, and remember that whether you’re a woman, a man, or any denomination on this planet Earth, we can all be better people and make the world a better place if we’re willing to. 

What Do the Olympics Mean to You?

winter_olympics

As we speak, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, have been underway for a couple of days. Are you watching? I certainly have been!

The Olympics – whether they’re of the summer or winter variety – mean something different to everyone. Some don’t care for them at all, but for others they’re everything. For many they’re a mild diversion, while others become obsessed with them while they’re happening.

Myself, I’m somewhere in the middle, leaning a little closer to the “obsessed” side. I’ve personally always enjoyed the Olympics ever since I was a small child, specifically the winter ones, which I’ve always felt have more interesting events. I’ve always found it a bit funny, actually, because I’ve never been athletic in the slightest, and at points between Olympic events I have little to no interest in spectating sports either. I watch NHL hockey when the Leafs are playing, and on rare occasion I’ll be in the mood to watch the Superbowl or some highly-anticipated world event, but that’s the extent of my desire to shit and watch sports. However, the Winter Olympics? Sign me the hell up! I love watching the skaters, the skiers, and the bobsleighers. I get ridiculously riled up while watching Canada’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, and I get almost disturbingly invested in curling. Though I may not be as obsessed as some other spectators, I spend each Winter Olympics doing my best to catch as many events as possible, marveling at the acts of athleticism that I could never fathom accomplishing myself.

Oddly enough, I’m not a particularly patriotic person – I believe Canada is a wonderful place to live, but I wouldn’t consider myself to have an invested level of intense pride, or anything. However, during these events I get so worked up, wanting to see Canadian athletes take as many medals as possible. My eyes end up glued to the TV or computer screen as I struggle to recall the rules and intricacies of events I only ever watch twice a decade. I cheer like a maniac when Canada wins a medal, and I feel genuine, empathetic upset whenever an athlete – any athlete – makes a mistake and realizes they’ve lost their chance to bring honor back to their country.

There’s just something about these sports, at this time of year, being watched by the entire world, that is so exciting, so emotional, so connected, and so awe-inspiring. Perhaps even a little humbling, as I realize that some of these athletes who have just been declared the best in the world have only been alive half as long as I have. That is pure insanity to me,and yeah, okay, maybe I am a little proud, because even if I don’t know them personally, some of these amazing people come from my neck of the woods, and you can’t help but feel that that makes it more special and amazing, somehow.

So for the next 15 days or so I’ll be sticking pretty close to my laptop, watching live when I can and catching up on results when I can’t, celebrating and commiserating with my country as required, and crossing my fingers just a little that we take home more medals than the US. ^_~


Are you watching the 2018 Winter Olympics? Why or why not? What are your favorite sports? How is your country doing so far? Feel free to share!

Thoughts and Advice from a 2-Year YouTube “Veteran”

“Tracey’s Basement”, my YouTube channel, has turned 2 years old! Technically it’s more than a year older than that, but for that first chunk of time it was just a fairly awkward me sitting in front of a camera in my guest room, trying to talk loud enough for the camera to hear without my family being able to listen to me from elsewhere in the house. Two years ago is when it was officially re-branded as “Tracey’s Basement”, after my husband helped me set up some shelves and lighting in our basement, in front of our collectibles. What followed was the slow development of something like an actual “show”, complete with nicer thumbnails, opening and closing bumpers, and eventually even co-stars, as Jason began to join me for most videos, with Adrianna jumping in every now and then when there was something “cute” to do.

26068153_1807046346032672_2008998311645675520_n
Aren’t we frikkin’ adorable? 😀

Now, as we’re celebrating this milestone, I thought I would take the opportunity to write a post full of thoughts and advice for the upcoming YouTuber, because goodness knows I’ve had questions asked, and I’ve certainly learned a thing or two worth sharing.



1. Right out of the gates: When starting a YouTube channel, think good and hard about what you want to do with it, and subsequently, what you want it to be called.

One annoying thing about YouTube is that you create your account with a Google account, and the username and email address you choose for that account dictates what your username and email account for the lifespan of that channel. When I first set up my channel I used the Google account that I already had for my Android phone, which meant that I was using username “ToreshiTobinable” and an email address that was similar. At the time it didn’t seem to matter, but when the channel eventually became “Tracey’s Basement” and Jason and I started to treat it a little more professionally, it definitely didn’t look right anymore. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be changed, so now we’re stuck with it forever unless we want to start the entire channel over from scratch. Take that into account when considering what you want your channel to be for, because if you choose a goofy name now and then decide that you want to become a business later, you’re going to find yourself with a tough decision to make.

2. In those newborn stages, just forget about special equipment. Get creative instead.

It’s easy to think that if you want to make excellent videos, you have to have all kinds of cool equipment, and if you’re starting a genuine business that might be true, but for the average person, you’re really not going to want to spend money needlessly. The fact of the matter is that there’s just as much chance that you’ll end up deciding you don’t like it as there is that you’ll have a blast and want to do it forever. You really won’t know until you’ve been doing it for a while, and thus it’s pretty foolish to go spending a bunch of money on special cameras and lighting and so-on right away. Instead, think about what you have available to you and get creative. A lot of people start out recording on their phones which, honestly, have some pretty great video quality; you just have to figure out a way to set it up so that it’s steady (protip: little phone tripods can be picked up at places like Walmart for $20 or less). Lighting is a big issue for a lot of people, but can be circumvented by filming in a well-lit room at the right time of day – or you can go the route Jason and I went and pick up a few cheap clamp lights at a hardware store that you can stick right where you need them. Every YouTuber has their little tips and tricks, so if you’re having trouble thinking of any on your own, YouTube it! I guarantee you’ll find tons of results.

3. Figure out your niche and do your best to stick to it.

“Tracey’s Basement” is a “geek culture” channel, specializing in subscription service unboxings and toy/collectible reviews. The overwhelming majority of our videos are Jason and I talking about collectibles and toys, but because we’ve branded ourselves as “geek culture” no one would be surprised if we suddenly started doing movie or game reviews, or started up a “Let’s Play” playlist on the channel. That said, if you’ve set yourself up as an “unboxing” channel, and then start doing videos commentating on sporting events, your audience is going to find themselves extremely split. People who may have found you for the unboxings might leave you because they have no interest in the sports, or vice versa. That’s not necessarily to say that you can’t have multiple interests melded together on one channel, but you have to brand yourself in a way that makes sense if you want people to both find you and stick with you. Alternately, don’t be too rigid with your decision, because that can trap you in an inescapable whirlpool. I know several fellow “geek” channels who focus almost all of their attention on Funko Pops, and while that’s absolutely their prerogative, if the Funko Pop bubble popped (ha ha) tomorrow, they’d effectively have no audience left and have to start over from scratch.

4. Learn about and put effort into the finer details of uploading a video.

A lot of people expect to simply upload a video and have it magically be found, but you have to understand that there are hundreds of thousands of hours of content being uploaded to YouTube on a regular basis, so the chances that anyone is just going to stumble across your random video is extremely slim. To give yourself a better chance, learn about the finer details of setting up a video, such as the title, description, tags, and thumbnail. Tags, specifically, are what will help people come across your video, because they’re like search term hooks. For instance, if your video is about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you should have tags like “teenage mutant ninja turtles”, “ninja turtles”, “tmnt”, and so on. Additionally, in order to get the best bang for your buck with tags, run your own searches on YouTube to see what kinds of things come up. If you start typing “Teen-” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” pops up automatically, that means that it’s something that people are searching regularly, so you know it’s a good tag to use.

5. Try to be at least a little bit professional.

I’m absolutely not trying to sound like a mean girl here, but you’d be amazed at how many videos I pass by because of the level of professionalism that’s lacking in the YouTuber. That’s not to say that you have to be in a suit and tie, enunciating every word while standing at full attention with a perfect smile on your face and never moving your eyes away from the camera. What I mean is, just think a little about the face you’re putting forward. I’ve seen so many videos in which people will be talking and then just take a huge, wet coughing fit, or sneeze and run their sleeve along their nose, and then just continue talking as if nothing ever happened. It’s completely off-putting, because it makes the watcher think that they’re not good enough for you to have basic manners in your video. I, more than anyone, understand that sometimes “blooper” moments happen, but that’s where editing comes in. If you’re the kind of person who is constantly making mistakes, or has long awkward pauses, or sprays snot everywhere expectantly, take the initiative to learn a simple editing software. Pretty much every phone, tablet, and laptop comes with some kind of basic software that is incredibly easy to learn, so I’m not asking for the moon with this one. Just do what you have to do in order to put your best foot forward.

6. BUT, also have fun and be yourself.

Almost as off-putting as someone who sneezes directly at their camera mid-video, is someone who is completely and utterly false in every way. This is situational, of course, as there are plenty of YouTubers out there who are purposely playing a character for their “show”, but if your channel boils down to you speaking to an audience, just be yourself and own that. It can be tempting to try to portray a persona that you think people will like and gain you attention, but trust me when I say that this road does not lead anywhere enjoyable. Sooner or later, wearing that mask all the time will begin to drag you down. As anyone with problems such as depression and anxiety and they’ll tell you flat out: putting up a false persona is incredibly exhausting. Do it for too long and before you know it you’ll find yourself avoiding videos, loathing your viewers, and maybe even flat-out quitting. I say this from experience, because it very nearly happened to Jason and I. Since speaking to a good friend about it and realizing what our problem was, we’ve made a valiant effort to have fun, be ourselves, and not worry about what other people think, and it has made the channel fun again. Remember: if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not worth doing.

7. And speaking of “not worrying about what other people think”, you’d better grow some rhino skin.

Everyone knows the old joke about toxicity in YouTube comment sections, but most people don’t consider that it’s something that will happen to them once they start getting views. So I’m telling you right now, without the tiniest shadow of doubt: YOU. WILL. GET. ASSHOLES. It might not happen right away, but it WILL happen sooner or later, so prepare yourself for it. If you’re the kind of person who breaks down at the slightest confrontation, you may want to consider turning off commenting, or else just moving on with the idea of a YouTube channel right now. If you’re the confrontational type, understand that once you get into it with these types of people, you’re dedicating yourself to dealing with them forever, because the second you give them any kind of attention, they’ll stick to you like glue. The best thing you can do, honestly, is ignore them completely, or delete and report their comments if you really don’t like having them sitting there on your videos. Either way, just be prepared, because it will definitely happen. I’ve had people question my ability to be a parent, threaten to write bad reviews on my books if I didn’t do the types of videos they like, and harass me over the inclusion of my husband because “things were so much better when it was just you” (can you say, “Creepy”?) I have YouTuber friends who have received everything from hate-filled rants to literal death threats. Your individual experience might not be that drastic, but you have to be ready for the worst, because there are an unlimited number of morons out there, and every one of them seems to gravitate toward random YouTube videos to get their kicks.

8. For the love of puppies…don’t expect to make any money.

SO many people think that all “successful” YouTubers are rolling in that sweet, sweet Adsense revenue. I’m here to tell you that that assumption is laughable at best. Yes, we all know that there are YouTubers who are making major bank from their channels, but they are the exception, not the rule. They are the lucky ones who managed to hook on to something that people gravitated to. However, the majority of us aren’t nearly that lucky. Ad revenue earnings are based on a algorithm that takes into account views, watch time, and engagement (likes, comments, etc.). And all of this is multiplied by a ratio that YouTube assigns to you based on your subscriber level, retention time, and other factors. Basically, YouTube assigns you a number that boils down to “we’ll give you this much money for every so many views”, and that number isn’t nearly as high as you might imagine. YouTubers with millions of subscribers who get multiple-millions of views per video are absolutely making excellent money, but a few thousand subscribers? Good luck affording a nice meal per month. I’m not trying to be discouraging; just honest. I’ve spoken to people who think that having 4000 subscribers on my channel must mean that I’m earning a living from it, but in reality I’m making something like $25 per MONTH from that ad revenue. Even someone with a hundred thousand subscribers isn’t big enough to be making more than a minimum wage check. Adsense simply doesn’t pay out that much. So if you’re looking at YouTube because you’ve got some idea about becoming an overnight sensation and making a ton of money, reconsider.

9. Don’t get discouraged.

I’ve pointed out quite a few possibly discouraging things, and honestly, with all the changes that have been happening with YouTube lately (the adpocalypse, the Logan Paul events, and so on and so forth) I’m only really scratching the surface of how difficult it can be to get a foothold in YouTube. That said, I also want to impress upon newbies that if YouTube is something you really, genuinely want to do, don’t get discouraged. It can be hard when you put in a ton of effort only to get a handful of views, but there are always new things to try and more advice to find if you’re willing to go looking for it. Plenty of YouTubers  are more than happy to share what they’ve learned, and there are countless videos, articles, and more online to help you figure out what you’re doing wrong, what to focus on when you’re doing it right, and what to try to get yourself more visible. If you really, really want this, it’s all about putting in the effort to figure out what needs to be done. Get out there and figure it out!

10. LOVE it, or leave it. YouTube should be a PART of your life, not your ENTIRE life.

There are many big YouTubers out there who actually have created a business from YouTube and now make a living from their channels, and even they would – for the most part – tell newbies that you can’t let your channel consume you. There can be an insane amount of work required to build a quality YouTube channel, and the bigger you get the more work is going to be required, but never, ever, let it take over your entire life. That’s how you end up hating everything about it. Life always has to come first. Have an emergency and need to take off for a while? Your true followers will understand and will wait for you. Having a complete mental breakdown or fatigue so intense you can barley keep your eyes open? Take off; even if your subscribers are upset, you aren’t going to do them any good by completely falling apart in front of their eyes. Whatever your personal situation, if you push yourself too hard because you feel like you have to do videos, that you have to provide entertainment for your subscribers, you’re going to hate both the channel and yourself, and it’s all going to go downhill from there. In those times, take it from me, and remember that you likely started this whole thing for fun, to join a community, or to stretch your creative muscles. In the end, you owe your subscribers nothing, especially if it’s at the expense of your physical or mental health. If you feel like you should quit, in order to keep the rest of your life together, do it. Trust your gut. If it’s not quite that severe a situation, but you’ve found yourself in a place in which you feel smothered by your channel, step back, take a breath, and figure out what you have to do to make it better. If you’re not LOVING your channel, something needs to change, one way or the other, and you should always choose the change that is best for you.


So those are my thoughts, opinions, and advice. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my points? If you’re a YouTuber yourself, do you have any thoughts of your own? If you’ve been thinking about becoming a YouTuber, do you have any other questions? Feel free to share in the comment section below. Cheers!