Thursday, November 3, 2022

How's Your Streaming Consistency?

Life can be hard. Our days get complicated, and motivation rises or falls accordingly. We can’t really predict how our week will go any more than we can perfectly predict the weather- our calculations are accurate most of the time, but there will always be unexpected surprises. As content creators, we’re trying to swim upstream against life’s usual unpredictability, and create something consistent amid the chaos. Whether we want to go live every week, every day, or multiple times per day, keeping to our schedules is much more difficult in practice than it seems on paper. Have you been able to steadily produce your shows since starting on Twitch? Have you been able to steadily work on improvements or networking goals, or whatever else you've wanted to work on? On-camera or off, there are many ways to slip in our Twitch aspirations. How can we keep ourselves on track? 


When I’ve spoken about streaming consistently throughout The Twitch Playbook, you may have found it difficult to understand where I was coming from. Many aspects of my personality may seem to clash at this nexus point. On the one hand, I often advise you to take it easy, to make whatever kind of content you prefer, and to do shows that last as long as you feel comfortable. I advise you to think outside of where most streamers operate, and create content that isn’t solely reliant on chasing metrics. Then, on the other hand, I’m constantly making vehement assertions that you should not, for almost any conceivable reason, miss your streams. No matter what you have to do, you go live. 

How do these two seemingly opposite perspectives make sense together? Did I change my mind? Am I simply contradicting my own suggestions? Or am I just trying to play both sides at the same time? 

These two warring perspectives actually 
work very well together.

Personally, I see no reason these two thought processes shouldn’t make sense together. The ‘do what you want, but just make sure you do it’ mantra is how I genuinely do conduct my own streams, and it’s led to a lot of happiness in my own streaming life. The flexibility in content and presentation allows for more creative fulfillment and personal freedom, while the rigid scheduling structure gives me a reliable routine. It can be a tough concept to grasp, but if you want to do something you love, you have to actively work to make it happen. People usually expect that their love of the thing itself is enough, but that really doesn't carry us very far in practice. In fact, it’s precisely this love for the task which often stops us from continuing to pursue our most deeply held passions. How's that for irony? We get too precious about it, and rather than do something that doesn’t live up to our standards, we’ll opt to give it up altogether. We’d rather keep a perfect image in our heads of what we
would have made, rather than make something real, but less than perfect. It’s not glamorous to say, but following our dreams is often less about ‘following’ than it is about ‘dragging ourselves kicking and screaming.’


Therefore, while I always cultivate maximum creative and personal freedom in my streams, I stay incredibly strict about one subject only: that I actually do the streams. If I’m having a bad day or a busy day, I still make sure to go live. I know that whatever problem I’m having will pass, and I know that whatever the problem is, it’s not worth breaking my streak over. Emotionally, I may feel that streaming is the last thing I want to do at that moment, but I still force myself to go live. And I always thank myself for it later. 

Even the slowest car traveling consistently 
will finish the race before a fast car 
that stands still.

There’s a concept popularized on Reddit, in which the user ryans01 suggested allowing ‘no more zero days.’ The main concept behind this thought process is that you’d simply focus on doing something in service of your aspirations every day. Whether you write 2,000 words or 20, do 50 pushups or 5, draw for 3 hours or 3 minutes, if you’re doing something then it’s better than doing nothing. Doing nothing is actually more dangerous than most of us expect. It’s habit forming, and it’s confidence-draining. When you do nothing towards your goal one day, it’s easy to fast forward and suddenly find you’ve done nothing towards that goal for a whole week, month or year. Instead, you’d avoid those ‘zero days’ in which you do nothing, by simply doing whatever you can each day. 

In Twitch Playbook entries like Streaming in the Face of Futility, I’ve talked about this as well. ‘Compromise’ isn’t a word that creative people typically like to hear, but it’s one you should be paying more attention to. Compromises will save your creative life. And that includes Twitch streaming. Long shows, high production value, going live at an exactly appointed time, and other traditional concepts be damned. These are nice-to-haves, but if you can’t do them on a certain day, then just do something different. As long as you do a stream. Don’t let arbitrarily chosen standards send you into a spiral of missed days and broken promises. Do what you can today, and do better tomorrow. No more zero days. 


If you’ve been having trouble streaming consistently recently, keep this concept in mind. Do what you want, but make sure you do it. Or, in the much more eloquent words of ryans01, no more zero days. Even if you don’t have a problem with missing broadcasts, this concept can still help you. You can apply the same principle to putting in work on your show behind the scenes, seeking out creative partnerships, engaging with your Discord, or building connections with other streamers. Do something towards your goal every day. No matter what it is, it’s more than you would have done if you did nothing. Keeping this priority at the forefront of your mind will help you be much more consistent on Twitch. 

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