Friday, January 10, 2020

Tying Twitch to Your Life Goals

Being a Twitch streamer takes a lot of time. In several previous entires, I spoke about having to give up other less important things in your life in order to let your Twitch streaming dream grow. No matter what kinds of streams you do, or how long they are, you might begin to think you no longer have time for the other goals in life that are important to you. Maybe you've always dreamed of writing a book, or taking up painting, or even just reading more in general, and feel like those dreams are slipping away. But if you're creative enough, you can have your cake and eat it too- having a Twitch channel can actually help you achieve your other life goals as well.

I'm going to share with you three major life goals that Twitch has helped me to achieve so far, all in different ways. In the first example, Twitch streaming accelerated something I had been doing slowly for years. In the second, Twitch enhanced a life goal I was about to go through with, making it better than it would have been if I had never streamed. And in the third, Twitch enabled me to learn a completely new skill, changing my whole life in the process. In the following case studies, pay attention to how including something in my Twitch streams helped me to achieve these goals, and think about how you might be able to do something similar with your own bucket list items. If I was able to do it, there's no reason Twitch can't accelerate, enhance or enable your life goals just as easily.


The first goal is the easiest to imagine a Twitch streamer achieving: I wanted to work through the ever-growing catalog of story-based video games I owned. I've had a Steam account since the platform launched in 2003, and that means over a decade and a half of amassing hundreds of summer and winter sale deals on games I wanted to play, but never got around to. When I first started on Twitch, I did so with the intention of working through what I called my 'neverending backlog' of games, and through the lifespan of my channel so far, I've been doing just that. I've been able to experience so many amazing stories in games I never thought I'd get the chance to play, and I've gotten countless hours of enjoyment from them.

Twitch can help you achieve goals faster.
Playing video games was something I had already been doing before ever streaming on Twitch of course, but at a much slower rate. I may have binged on weekends or free evenings, but I didn't force myself to play for hours every single day without exception. Because Twitch gave me such a regimented lifestyle, I've been able to dedicate many more hours to playing video games in general. Having a Twitch channel helped me take a goal that I was chipping away at, and accelerate it greatly.


The next goal is a little more unorthodox for a streamer: Twitch helped me travel to Japan. I don't mean that I flew across the country on proceeds from my streams (that would require an astronomically larger channel than mine) but that there are several things about being a Twitch streamer which made this experience better than it would have been if I hadn't streamed.

Twitch helped me go here.
This wasn't my first time in Japan, but it was my first time traveling while not working at a salary job. Anyone who has been a freelancer knows how difficult it can be to commit to large trips like this, without paid vacation or job security to come back to. This is where the discipline I've gained from Twitch streaming has been invaluable. Streaming on Twitch without a salary job forced me to adopt extremely rigid time management skills, so I could commit the necessary hours toward creating the content I wanted, without preventing me from putting food on the table by turning down hourly work. This same lifestyle has also helped me become a lot smarter about saving money. Using many of the principles described in the entry How to Easily Free Up Time For Twitch where I'd remove low-value activities from my day, I also became very smart about removing needless expenses. These skills allowed me to save up enough over time to fund a trip, and gave me confidence that I wouldn't be ruined upon my return home.

In addition to this, a Twitch community can greatly enhance any trip. I got a pile of incredible recommendations from viewers. They not only found cool places to visit, but knew me well enough by watching my streams to know very closely what I would enjoy, and were able to give much more personalized suggestions. A big portion of the memories made on that trip to Tokyo were only possible thanks to my Twitch community. In all these ways- gaining better time management skills, improving my money saving habits, and having an amazing community- Twitch majorly enhanced one of my lifelong goals.


Lastly and most importantly: Thanks to Twitch, I learned an entirely new language. While I was playing one of the Yakuza games on my channel and using some of my limited knowledge of Japanese to read street signs, one viewer was excited by this educational aspect of my shows, and suggested to me that I teach 'Japanese classes' on stream. I had always wanted to truly learn the language, but had never really put in the time. So I took this inspiration to start a new account with Duolingo, a free language learning web app, and began streaming my progress in learning Japanese every day.

The game that started it all.
At first, these Duolingo shows were fun extra features on my channel- I called them 'bonus streams' and still did three other video game shows in addition to those Duolingo shows every day, so I wouldn't interrupt the normal flow of content. But I immediately found that I enjoyed these streams greatly- I was able to talk to viewers who started studying with me, and swap bits of knowledge. And then something strange happened: as the days turned to weeks, and those weeks turned to months, people started finding my channel specifically because of the Duolingo shows. I met other Japanese learners who joined only for my daily language streams rather than video games, and I met native Japanese speakers who watched in order to improve their English. Japanese language learning quickly became another of my channel's signature features. As the episodes soared into the hundreds I made huge strides, speaking in unbroken Japanese sentences and paragraphs for longer and longer sections of my shows. Now, over 250 episodes in, I conduct the entire daily Duolingo stream while only ever speaking Japanese, using live-translation subtitles on screen so English speaking viewers can follow along.

Flying around the country on business trips, and even while I was in Japan, I kept my streak going, waking up each morning to point my phone at my laptop screen while doing my studies. In Tokyo, though I was far from fluent, I was able to speak confidently and hold pretty decently long conversations with bartenders, wait staff and shop owners entirely in Japanese. My brother, who I was traveling with, joked that I was his personal translator, able to navigate menus, accurately ask for what we wanted at shops, and get us into places that wouldn't normally allow Americans because of the language barrier. I can say with certainty that because of Twitch, I can speak a second language. And that's a priceless gift.


Since joining Twitch, I've met so many people who are making their dreams come true thanks to the platform. I know a streamer who owns a restaurant and streams from the kitchen every day, I've met someone who broadcasts while making the crafts that people commission from her online store, and I've followed someone developing his own video game, who has streamed every part of the process for hundreds of days in a row. Even if you have more than one goal like me, you can work them into your streams if you're creative enough. And if I was able to make something as boring as studying into a watchable show, I'm certain your life goal can be turned into a great piece of content too. Not only will you be making your streaming career more fulfilling for yourself and more unique to your viewers by doing this, but streaming your progress might even push you into sticking with your aspirations more strongly. So don't think of Twitch as something that saps your time- let it help you achieve your most sought-after ambitions!

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