Friday, March 12, 2021

Don't Wait to Start Your Streaming Dream

It’s tough to start streaming on Twitch. In fact, one of the things I’ve recommended most throughout this resource is the simple act of forgetting your pride and jumping into the craft as quickly as possible. But I understand- it’s a scary prospect. It’s easy to think about starting some major project, and we can set up a thousand grand plans for how we’ll do it, right up until that moment where we actually have to put ourselves out there. But time is only going to keep marching forward, and the more we wait for the ‘perfect time’ to begin, the more we unknowingly dwindle away our best opportunities to achieve our goals. Please. For your own sake. Don’t wait to start your streaming dream. 


I love the Disney animated movie ‘Tangled.’ The characters are really fun, and it quietly manages to have one of the best soundtracks of the CG animated bunch. But while I think very highly of the film, I also think it exemplifies a very dangerous message. Rapunzel sits locked in her tower and sings, “When will my life begin?” until Flynn Rider, an unexpected outside force, comes in and enables her to start on a grand adventure. There’s no action taken by the main character to change her circumstances, until the circumstances are changed for her. Constantly in pop culture, we’re given a similar message. From Luke Skywalker to Harry Potter, we’re shown that if you just sit around doing nothing and wish hard enough for your life to change, it eventually will. Also, there will probably be cool magic spells. 

As you can imagine, I was pretty pumped when
Rapunzel showed up in KH3.

Of course, these are works of fiction. There are no cool magic spells to be found in the real world (that I know of), and it’s not like we’re using these stories as blueprints for how to live our own lives. But despite that, most people approach their real-world ambitions in this same exact way. Whether they don’t think they have the skills, their lives are too busy at the moment, or they’re just plain scared, the vast majority of people are content to just wait for good things to happen to them. They find reasons not to get started on their lifelong ambitions, or look for outside forces to blame in the meantime. But this is life, and nobody is going to whisk any of us away to start on our passion projects. Many of us simply wait, and wait, and wait, and wait for our creative ‘life’ to begin, until eventually after years, decades, a lifetime of waiting, these dreams no longer can come true. And the cruelest part is, during this entire span we never actually think we’ve given up on our dreams. As Steven Pressfield says in his incredible book The War of Art, “We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.””


So here’s the thing: you’re going to have to be both Rapunzel and Flynn Rider on your Twitch streaming journey. It’s not good enough to simply want it. You have to make it happen. It doesn’t matter what it takes. It doesn’t matter how embarrassed you are. It’s never going to be easier, and there will never be a better time. Do not wait. If you’ve gone through the past 114 entries and still haven’t started streaming on your own Twitch channel, don’t allow yourself to reach the next one without doing a broadcast. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy setup (or any setup at all) - in the entry Start Your Twitch Channel With No Money, I told you how you can begin streaming with no equipment, prep time or financial input. Do not continue learning without doing. As I’ve mentioned in earlier entries, acquiring too much knowledge without regularly putting it into action will actually decrease your chances of ever getting started. 

Kept you waiting, huh?

This isn’t only a wake-up call for absolute beginners either. Even seasoned Twitch streaming veterans run into roadblocks in their creative journeys. In my own experience, I conquered one of these challenges very recently. Throughout the lifetime of my channel, I’ve always been very reluctant about doing the Metal Gear series on stream. It’s my all-time favorite franchise, and those games were simply too precious to me to do in half-measures on my streams. Everything had to be perfect. At first I was legitimately concerned, because I love the story of these games so much, but I was too self-conscious on my streams at that time not to talk over cutscenes (and anyone who knows those games knows that there are quite a few of these moments to contend with). But even after I got my streams where I wanted them, I still found excuses not to bring these games to my channel. A few months ago, I finally admitted to myself that I was falling into the deadly ‘Rapunzel trap.’ In regards to doing these games on stream, I was waiting for my ‘life’ to begin. So for the past several months, I’ve been playing through everything from 1987’s Metal Gear 1 onward, including fun add-ons like live audiobook-style readings of the PS2-exclusive in-game novels, and live-translating goofy non-canon fan comics I bought in Tokyo. I’m ecstatic every day I get to experience these games again, and I realized early in the playthrough that all my worrying was for nothing. All I had to do was take the first step, and after that I was fine.


Take a look at your own channel. What’s been a similar problem in your streaming career? Of course, if you haven’t started streaming at all, this is pretty easy to identify. But even if you’ve been going consistently for months or years, there’s probably some feature you just can’t bring yourself to start. Don’t wait. Just find a way to just get yourself going, even if it isn’t 100% as perfect as you imagined. In one of the first Twitch Playbook entries, I advised that you “never use the term ‘someday’ to describe anything you plan on doing, at least not if you ever plan on actually doing it.” I was thinking of Metal Gear as a ‘someday’ project, and if I hadn’t changed that mindset, I may never have actually begun replaying them on my shows. And like our girl Rapunzel, I found that I was actually much more equipped for the adventure than expected, once I finally pushed myself to get started. So no matter what kind of dream you’re wishing for, and no matter your experience level with streaming itself, do yourself a favor. Don’t wait to start your streaming dream. 

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