As I sit here, more than 2 years after the world changed due to a global pandemic, I think back to how my journey started in content creation. My goals and dreams for my life have shifted so much, going from wanting to climb the ladder in the IT field to the very top to now trying to be a YouTuber, author and photographer. I want to talk about that journey and maybe someday, someone will read this and it will help them find their way.
The journey really started around February of 2020 when my brother talked me into buying a game he had been playing off and on for a couple years called The Elder Scrolls Online(tESO). Now, this game wasn't really one I thought I would be interested in as it was an MMORPG(Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and I normally stuck with offline, single player games, but I decided to give it a try. I found myself enjoying it much more than I ever imagined.
In late March, as I was starting to really get into this new game, a little thing called Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill. The company I was working for ordered everyone to work from home until further notice and work more or less came to a stop as everything was shut down. This allowed me to invest more time in playing ESO, and I wound up joining a community for the game that was run by a YouTuber I had found a few weeks prior called "Brah We Got This".
"Brah" was streaming his time playing ESO on Twitch as well as uploading tutorials and gameplay things to YouTube. I subscribed to him on Twitch, joined the Discord community and over the following few months I would become a very well known member of the community, a moderator on the Discord server and I would help him start building a website. The more I got into it the more I realized I really wanted to do something of my own.
A few years prior to this, in 2016, I had half-heartedly attempted to start on YouTube. This venture had quickly died off, but not before I made a mini-documentary and come up with some ideas that wouldn't come to fruition at the time. Now, in 2020, I found myself longing to leave my mark on the internet. I had a taste of the limelight in helping "Brah" with managing and growing his community and now I wanted something of my own.
Around October, I started streaming on Twitch while playing ESO. I wasn't really sure what I was doing, but being a quick learner I was able to get the basics down pretty fast. Over the next couple of months, I would get a couple of subscribers(friends I knew that wanted to support my dream) and gain enough followers to achieve affiliate status. Things were looking up, but there was a problem.
When I started streaming I was having a lot of fun with it, but as time went on I was finding it more and more exhausting. I wasn't entirely sure why, but I knew it was related to feeling worn out after each stream and not wanting to be around anyone. By February of 2021 I had more or less stopped streaming entirely.
It was also around that time that I would connect some dots that had been bugging me throughout my life thanks to a video from a large creator on YouTube that I had been following for a long time. This creator had put out a video where he discussed having Asperger's syndrome and as he talked about the signs I felt as if he was describing my life. I followed up by researching more about what Asperger's was and taking some assessments from a few reputable sites and found out that I was most likely on the spectrum.
This realization opened my eyes to several aspects of my life and personality that I had always just chalked up to me being "different" than others and hadn't really given much thought to. This self diagnosis allowed me to dig deeper and really start to understand more about how my mind worked. Over the next couple of months, I started to really focus on things I could do to help my mind work better and feel more comfortable in my own skin. This would align perfectly with a big change that was about to happen.
In October of 2020, a company had reached out to me about a possible job on LinkedIn. At the time I didn't pay much attention to the message as I received messages like that quite often. In late February of 2021, they reached out again and I decided to respond. After a series of interviews and a reference check, they offered me a job I couldn't refuse. The pay increase alone was worth it, but things at the company I had been with for the prior 7 years had come to a frustrating point as well and it was really time for a change.
While all of this was going on, I was also getting into photography as a hobby. This was something I had decided to try as one of the ways to help me deal with things involving my mental health and Asperger's. I found that it not only had a calming affect, but I was really enjoying getting out of the house after a year of being cooped up. My wife was going out with me and we were making some fun times out of it, visiting cemeteries and photographing statues.
While I was enjoying photography, the only "camera" I had was in my phone and it wasn't really letting me capture all the types of photos I was wanting. I wound up buying myself a drone and a more professional camera. The drone was more for fun, but I also wanted to try some aerial photography, and the camera was an entry level Canon EOS 2000D.
As I got more into using the camera, I was also feeling the itch to make content again. I knew Twitch was more or less out of the question long term as livestreaming wasn't working for my mental health, but I still wanted to do something. I decided the best move would be to reinvent the YouTube channel I had been trying to make and focus on photography from a beginners standpoint. On the surface, this seemed like a cool idea as most of the photography channels I found had been run by people who had been doing photography for years and they seemed to have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. I figured there would be more people like me that wanted to see things from a beginners perspective and that would be my audience.
Now, when I start something new I tend to spend more time than I care to admit learning the craft from wherever I can find information. This attitude would lead me to finding a whole community of channels dedicated to "teaching" about YouTube growth. What I would discover about that community would make me question a lot of things and bring me a lot more pain than I needed, but that is a story for next time.
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