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As of this moment, I have close to 620 videos uploaded on my YouTube channel, which I began in earnest in 2010. I should have at least 100K subscribers, right? And be making a couple thousand dollars a month?

Well, right now I have just over 2,000 subscribers. About one percent of them watch all of my videos. And, no matter how many videos I post a week, no matter how well I do my video SEO, and no matter how closely I stick to one subject, I make an average of $50 a month.

And have been making that average for the past several years.

That’s right – it hasn’t gone up, even though the number of my initial views per video has.

That’s been frustrating me and driving me crazy. Because even though I don’t need to make money with YouTube, I would like to see some return on my efforts.

A better return than what amounts to be about half of minimum wage.

In an effort to increase that income, I recently subscribed to a bunch of gardening channels that I otherwise never would have found – or watched. And began watching every single one. And making (mostly) useful and helpful comments on every single one.

To the extent that I have not only been depleting my “eye energy” watching videos I really don’t want/need to watch, and depleting my free time that I could be using as writing time. Or having fun with my family time.

After about three weeks of adding this bit of misery to my life – jumping through yet another YouTube hoop – I checked my channel analytics. And discovered…

Hardly any of my views come from people on other channels checking me out via a comment I made.

Off and on for the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to tell myself that if I’m going to create videos for YouTube, it should be for fun and personal enrichment, not money. This stern internal lecturing has increased both in frequency and in volume over the past couple of weeks.

Yesterday, two things happened that just might have gotten the message through my thick skull. First, I realized after getting halfway through a really good novel (Words by Ginny Ytrupp) that, despite everything I’ve written on this blog or said to my  husband, I really and truly do want to keep writing fiction – even novels! I don’t think the desire has ever really gone away, it’s just that this piece of work reawakened it.

In light of that discovery, I decided to estimate how much I’ve made per hour with my book writing over the past five years. Figuring in the cost of marketing, I conservatively estimated that I’ve made at least $20 per hour. Not phenomenal, but five times that what I get from YouTube.

Again, not that I need to make money. But it’s nice to know that I’ve been decently compensated for the time and effort I put into my writing.

The second thing was scanning over all the newly uploaded videos on my YouTube subscription page. A vlog about a minimalist family. A video from a guy who’s growing an urban food forest. A tiny house video. A couple more videos that, a week ago, I would have watched just so I could comment on them. Do my YouTube networking.

I looked at those channels, those videos, with new eyes, and I realized that I was not interested in watching a single one of them. And why on earth should I watch something I’m not interested in? I’ve been wasting my time watching YouTube videos, hoping to build my own channel, instead of pursuing activities that truly interest and fulfill me!

NO. MORE.

From now on, I’m only going to watch a video if I’m researching something, or if I want to watch some particular entertainment, like a music video or stand-up comedy. And if I like the video…I’m not going to subscribe to the channel. Shoot, I’m thinking about unsubscribing from all the channels I’m subscribed to! (I already unsubscribed from at least a third of them a few days ago.)

And honestly, a part of me – a big part of me – wants to quit creating and uploading videos altogether. The editing is hard work, and I’d rather use the time and “eye energy” to write.

Moreover, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make the paradigm shift from “YouTube is an income stream” to “YouTube is a fun hobby, and who cares how many people view my videos?” Not to mention the fact that I continually have the ungodly attitude of, “I’m at least as good as so-and-so. Why shouldn’t I have as many subscribers/make as much money?”

In addition, as someone who espouses an anti-consumerist, simple lifestyle, having ads on my videos at all has always made me uncomfortable when I have allowed myself to think about it. Can you say, “hypocrite”?

Finally, while there’s a lot of great and useful content on YouTube, it’s noisy. A whole lot of people doing a whole lot of things in the name of making money (which are likely often not in line with God’s purpose for their lives), and distracting people from their own creativity and dream-fulfilling activities.

Not only that, YouTube is doing to critical thinking what social media sites are doing to relationships: distracting from, discouraging, and diluting it. Nobody wants to try to solve a problem for themselves. No. Just do an online search and see how somebody else did it – or, better still, find a video about it on YouTube!

YouTube and social media are making people lazy. Including me.

Whether to continue to continue making and uploading videos is still up in the air for me. But as far as jumping through all the hoops that supposedly help you build your channel, as far as wasting my time watching content that doesn’t really add value to my life? I’m done.

UPDATE: Just after publishing this post, I went over to YouTube and discovered that my last two videos were flagged as “not suitable for most advertisers.” This is due to some bug in YouTube’s system, and means that I can’t make money from Adsense from then. No problem; all I have to do is request a manual review, and in a few days the video will be monetized again, right?

That’s how it used to be.

But when I went to request a manual review, here’s what YouTube said: Review requested.   Right now we are only able to review videos with at least 1,000 views in the past 7 days.   We’ll review your video once it reaches that threshold.

INSERT EMOTICON OF FURY HERE. What YouTube is saying is, “We don’t give a flying fig about small channels, who are lucky to get 40 views in the past 7 days.”

This morning, I was praying for some sort of undeniable confirmation that I was supposed to stop being a YouTuber.

I am taking this incident as divine confirmation.

GOOD-BYE, YOUTUBE!!! (And don’t be surprised if, in the near future, the Crunchy Emily channel disappears forever.)

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Unschooling Woes

This morning, I woke up wanting to cry. My snuggle time with J was not very snuggly, and he knew something was wrong with me when we finally got out of bed.

Something was wrong, but not with me per se. What was wrong was the direction our unschooling journey was taking us. Long story short, our son is addicted to watching Minecraft videos. And when he takes a break from watching those, he watches some vlogger who is either making and eating crap food, or sending the message that buying lots of sh*t for amusement is a good thing.

In short, B has been spending WA-AY too much time consuming – and consuming videos with little educational value – and no time creating.

Yes, that’s what I said. No building with Lego® blocks, no drawing or painting, no creating clay sculptures. And when he goes outside – which, unless the Internet isn’t working, only happens because we insist that he go out and get some exercise – he constantly asks when he can go back to his videos.

J and I messed up.

The worst part is, J and I have been modeling that behavior. I’ve been doing some creating via writing and making videos, but not nearly as much as I, deep in my heart, really want to.

Within a half hour of getting out of bed, my heart was so heavy with frustration and Mommy guilt that I went to the Tuff Shed to cry. And pray. But I didn’t pray much. All I could think was that it was time for J and I to have one of those “talks” that husbands love so much.

I went back to the house, expecting to find J in his usal spot in front of his computer, drinking his morning tea. But he wasn’t. He was pacing back and forth between the kitchen and living room, speaking in quiet tones.

Praying. About the same issues that have been bugging me for the past couple of days – including the time B spends on the computer (another one relates to my YouTube channel, but that’s a post for another day).

I asked J if he wanted to keep praying, but he said no, we could go outside and talk. Turns out we’re both on the same page about B’s unschooling. And on our own lack of expressing ourselves creatively.

If that wasn’t God, I don’t know what is.

We talked, prayed, made a decision. B won’t like it. He’ll go through a time of withdrawal, that’s for sure. All the radical unschoolers will disagree with my and J’s decision.

They can all go jump in a lake with their crazy ideas about letting their kids eat all the sweets they want, and then not making them brush their teeth. About not encouraging their kids to get away from the screen to try new endeavors and develop new skills.

I know that some adults who were radically unschooled as children, wish they hadn’t been. I don’t want B to become one of those adults. Not that we’ve been doing the “radical” thing, but you get my meaning.

I’ll tell you how it’s going in about a month.

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My affliction of dry eyes, thanks to my Perceptual Processing Disorder, has gotten worse, thanks to being over the age of forty-five. Dry eyes is a common perimenopause symptom, and therefore at least half the month – or so it seems; I haven’t actually kept track – my eyes feel like sandpaper.

I became so desperate this last cycle that I contemplated buying eye drops. The thing is, the relief they bring is very temporary, say, five to ten minutes. Once upon I found a recipe for and made homemade “tears”. To my recollections, they weren’t any better than the manufactured eye drops, but since it costs mere pennies to whip up a batch I decided to try them again. After all, ten minutes of relief is ten minutes of relief, right?

Not wanting to look at a computer screen anymore than I had to, I asked J to find a recipe for homemade eye drops for me. He did, and began reading the ingredients.

“One cup organic distilled or purified water…”

He stopped, and I raised an eyebrow. “Organic?” I questioned in disbelief. “What the heck is organic water? Water grown without pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizer?”

J smiled, as amused by the verbiage as I. “Maybe it means water that doesn’t have any impurities in it.”

“But distilled water or pure water don’t have any impurities, by definition!” I argued. Not that my husband didn’t know this, but I think he was grasping at straws – as was I – to come with a reason to label water as “organic.”

Maybe organic water is water that has not fallen from the sky. Because between the jet fuel and weather modification chemicals and goodness-knows-what-else that are constantly being poured out into the atmosphere, rain water definitely has had artificial chemicals added to it of late.

Too bad, so sad. I made the homemade tears using the Berkey-purified rainwater that we collect for household use.

Then I applied a drop to each eye. Ah, sweet relief!

For seven or eight minutes.

Darn. Maybe if I’d used organic water, it would have lasted for ten.

 

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Why I Don’t Wear Make-Up

I don’t wear make-up. Except for one brief experimental period of my life that spanned fewer than six months, when I wore eye liner, I’ve only ever worn make-up onstage. And then, only because the drama directors said it was necessary.

And after every performance, I couldn’t wait to clean the goop off my face and feel free again.

Not only do I not wear make-up, but I don’t like that other women wear make-up, either.

I’m not talking about if you were born with some kind of birthmark or other “imperfection” that makes people stare or tease. I am not opposed to a person wearing enough make-up to cover it up so that they can have less stress in their life.

On the other hand, what a sad commentary it is on the human condition that we can’t accept everyone for who they are, and not judge them for what they look like.

Which is a good segue into my reasoning behind not appreciating other women wearing make-up. First, they have bought into the double standard. Men don’t have to wear make-up in order to be considered hot or handsome; why do women in order to be considered attractive?

Second, they cause women like me who choose not to wear make-up to be judged. I must not care about my appearance. I’m lazy. I’m in some kind of religious bondage.

When I was about twenty-five years old, an older woman actually had the audacity to imply that last one to me. She thought I’d come from one of those Christian denominations that “forces” women to not wear make-up.

Au contraire. I was raised Catholic, and even my mother put on lipstick before going to Mass. Plenty of other women did the whole paint job before they would attend worship services.

And many of them didn’t wear make-up any other time of the week! Why? You’re supposed to look your best for God, right? And modern Western culture has decided that women only look their best if they’re wearing make-up.

Twice now I have encountered otherwise no-make-up women who put on make-up before creating YouTube videos. The first used to not wear make-up in her videos, then came to feel like she was competing with women who do wear make-up and thus was falling short. The crazy thing was, in her video about why she started wearing make-up for videos, she showed a picture of a woman YouTuber who looked like a clown, her face paint was so exaggerated. I thought, You want to look like that?

The second woman stated that she wears make-up for her videos to “put my best foot forward.”

Ouch. There it is again: judgment. So, we women YouTubers who don’t wear make-up are being slovenly? Putting our lower quality foot forward?

The history of make-up in just a few lines

Women have worn make-up for thousands of years. At least, certain cultures and certain classes. In the ancient cultures, wealthy women wore make-up to impress. In the middle ages, wealthy women wore it to distinguish themselves from the peasants.

In the early years of the United States (and I think the same could be said for Europe), women rarely wore make-up.

Unless they were a prostitute.

Why did they start wearing make-up? Moving pictures. Yep. Even though the movies were black and white, viewers could tell that the actresses wore make-up. And non-acting women, believing a career on a stage to be glamorous and sexy, decided that they wanted to look like those actresses.

Not surprisingly, it was a man – Max Factor – who decided to oblige those discontented women. And as soon as he came out with a line of face paint, advertising bearing the message that women can’t be really beautiful without make-up became ubiquitous and rampant.

To sum this section up: women have worn make-up to number one, flaunt their class status; and number two, because they believe an unpainted face can never be beautiful.

Why women wear make-up now

Whenever a woman has put on make-up, whether part of the ancient Egyptian upper class, or whether to get an executive business job, she’s done it for one reason, and one reason only: fear.

Fear of being taken for a peasant.

Fear of not being able to attract a man with the face God gave her.

Fear of not being able to impress a potential employer.

Fear of not getting “enough” views/subscribers on her YouTube channel.

Fear of other people seeing her facial flaws, or state of wellness (such as shadows under her eyes because she didn’t get enough sleep, or the annoying monthly acne breakout).

And, thanks to the ubiquitous belief that women who want to be beautiful must wear makeup, fear of not fitting in, or of being judged as an inferior woman.

Make-up discrimination

I know that if a brilliant, attractive, ambitious woman with a great track record shows up to a professional job interview without make-up on, she will probably be overlooked in favor of a woman who isn’t nearly as qualified, but who is wearing make-up.

I call that, “make-up discrimination.”

It ought not to be so. But it is.

But, you know why it is? Because most women keep on wearing make-up, because they won’t shake themselves out of the fear and lies about beauty that society has them wrapped up in. If most women quit wearing make-up, then not wearing make-up would become the norm for all but transgender men, and there would be no more make-up discrimination.

Just in case you wanted to try to argue the “everybody expects professional women to wear make-up” point.

Everybody expects it, because most women are too afraid to assert their natural beauty, to do the work it takes to make the paradigm shift to love their faces exactly as God made them, with nothing added.

I don’t wear make-up because I love myself and am confident in my natural beauty. I don’t wear make-up because I couldn’t care less about what people think of me.

I don’t wear make-up because I have better things to do with my time and money. I don’t wear make-up because I’m not going to allow myself to live in fear of what people think of me.

Oh, and did I tell you that without a smidgen of make-up on my face, I attracted my very good-looking soul mate to whom I have been married for over twelve years?

One more thing

If you wear make-up, you’re probably totally pissed at me at this point. You’re probably screaming, “I WEAR MAKE-UP BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL MORE FEMININE! IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FEAR!”

Really? Why does wearing make-up make you feel feminine? The idea is purely cultural. The reason wearing make-up makes you feel “more feminine” is because somebody taught you to believe it.

Do you hear me? It’s a belief, not an inherent, natural truth. And as with all beliefs, the flip side is fear.

And so you wear make-up, for fear that if you don’t, you won’t feel as feminine.

You’re living in fear, honey. Is that really where you want to stay?

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