Thursday, November 17, 2022

Growth Check-In: How Are You Doing?

I talk a lot about Twitch streaming on this podcast. One would hope so, I suppose, considering its title and theme. But there’s a critical factor in making Twitch streams which I also try to focus on: the Twitch streamer. Whether on camera, on a microphone, or pulling strings behind the scenes, a Twitch stream needs a streamer to make it go live. And optimizing your stream isn’t just about making things look better on a broadcast. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well. In this growth check-in entry, we’re going to focus on your stream’s greatest asset: you. 


If you’re going to spend lots of time streaming on Twitch, it’s critical that your actual streams bring you joy. In the entry One Must Imagine the Streamer Happy, I spoke about the concept of a ‘Sisyphean task,’ where an end goal can never truly be reached, because any goal you set is always replaced by another. Streaming, of course, is a Sisyphean task in itself. You’ll never really be done with it, short of giving up, and any goal that you think will bring you contentment now will only be replaced by another goal once it’s reached. This can be a great source of stress and dejection for streamers, but I personally see it as a positive thing. We have the ability to do something we love for as long as we want to do it, and we call the shots on our own channels. If you learn to love the climb, rather than looking forward to reaching the summit, you’ll be in a much better headspace for streaming.  

Embracing your passions can help you 
become happier on stream.

There are also ways to reinvigorate yourself by using your streams to advance your larger ambitions. In the entry
Let Twitch Further Your Goals, I spoke about how I was able to utilize the various failed and discontinued ideas from my past Twitch broadcasts in order to help accomplish a major life goal: self-publishing an illustrated book! This was an instance where streaming my progress making the book on Twitch not only kept me accountable and on-track during the project, but I also gained the ability to see my work grow from its infancy to the final product. I feel immensely proud of this accomplishment, and it means even more to me that I was able to do it on my Twitch channel. The entry Create Streams You Identify With goes even deeper into this mindset. Many people never even start streaming because of a perceived flaw in their character. They feel that people won’t accept their shows because of how they talk, or how they look, or the kind of content they want to show. As I said in that entry, I won’t trivialize whatever aspect of streaming they’re scared of sharing- the fear itself is real. But pushing past that fear can bring great happiness and fulfillment. It’s often said that we’re usually afraid of doing the things we desire most. Let that feeling guide you toward your greatest ambitions. 


If you’ve been streaming for a while, you may be running into a problem which new streamers will find hard to understand. The entry Your Content Should Make You Happy dealt with the idea of a project growing large enough that it begins to threaten your creative vision. This implicit pressure happens in any field, and Twitch streaming is certainly not immune. Many of us feel we need to start adding things, or changing the scope of our content, once it reaches a certain point. This occurs because we see others doing the same, because we start receiving requests from viewers (who are also watching others do the same), or just because we get antsy and feel the need to change. I’m always pro-change on a Twitch stream- I think it’s healthy and can help to jumpstart your creativity. But oftentimes these kinds of pressure-based growth changes can do more harm than good. 

Some streamers feel trapped when they reposition their whole channel around playing one game for example, as I explored in the entry The Dangers of Attaching Yourself to One Game. In the entry Know When Not to Do What the Audience Wants, I addressed the somewhat controversial opinion that the viewer isn’t always right. And in Streaming for Money, I spoke about how even monetization in general can bring unforeseen headaches. Don’t forget that it’s okay not to change. If you like your content the way it is, you don’t have any responsibility to make it larger or more complicated. Sometimes it’s even about scaling back and reversing things you’ve already added. On my own brand, I’ve removed various features over the years when I realized they brought me more headache than fulfillment: custom reactions to donations, merch, even eventually monetization altogether. This doesn’t mean that everyone should dislike these things, or even that I’ll never do them again, but they weren’t right for me at the time. So I got rid of them. And I became happier because of it. 


Always schedule some time for yourself.

Finally, always make sure to schedule time
not to stream. In the entry Make Sure to Rest from Streaming, I spoke about how, especially for veteran streamers, the habit of working on streams can be as hard to curb as it was to create in the first place. Our minds can easily end up ‘taking our work home with us,’ and we might be distracted during other important life events because we’re too busy thinking about our streams and how to make them better. Schedule time every once in a while to make a clean break from streaming, working on your streams, or even from thinking about streaming. You’ll thank yourself later. 

Even though this podcast mainly deals with the subject of optimizing a Twitch channel, that doesn’t mean Twitch is the only thing I think about. As we’ve explored here today, it’s very important to keep track of your own well-being while streaming. Sometimes, your Twitch streams can help you to achieve a life passion that you weren’t able, or weren’t motivated enough, to achieve before. Other times, incorporating your own general interests into your streams can help you to feel more satisfied in what you do. It’s not only about adding though- many things that may already be on your channel, or that you’re planning to add, might end up hurting more than they help. Don’t be afraid to strip features away from your channel when they bring you less happiness than headache. And finally, take some time away from Twitch at regular intervals. Throughout my own Twitch journey, these various methods have helped me greatly to feel more satisfied with what I do on the platform, and more satisfied in my everyday life. So think about your own needs as a Twitch streamer, and as a human being. Is there anywhere you can help yourself become more content with what you’re doing? Don’t forget: when you take care of yourself, you’re taking care of your Twitch streams as well. 

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