At a certain point in my streaming journey, I made a very important distinction for myself:
Playing video games and streaming are two separate activities.
Making this adjustment has helped me manage managing my mental health while also putting myself in a better position to work towards my streaming goals. Here’s how I differentiate between the two and how I benefit.
Streaming for the past few years has taught me that it’s basically impossible for one to be a natural streamer. Being good at it requires one to possess skills in a myriad of otherwise-disparate disciplines, from video production, audio production, public speaking, marketing, and more. Furthermore, there’s a bunch of weird skills that you’re not going to develop until you go live. Heck, the actual part where you play video games is but a small part of the discipline.
Because of this, making mistakes is inevitable. Lord knows I’ve made many. It might be embarrassing in the moment, but what’s important are the lessons learned from those experiences and how you recover going forward. Here’s are just a fraction of the mistakes I made and how you can address them faster than I did.
The biggest mistake I made with regards to streaming was that I didn’t have enough of a plan. When I started doing this, my goals were laser-focused around production quality. From improving the audio, to ensuring that the stream ran at a steady frame rate, to having the capabilities of hosting a video podcast with friends, I knew what those challenges were and I took active steps to squash them. Sometimes it would take many months for to fix specific issues, but the objectives, roadmap to achieve such objectives, and the benefits of completing them were clear in my head.
What I didn’t really think about were aspects such as viewership, followers, reaching Twitch Affiliate, or virtually any metric of success. I figured that I would start thinking about those after I established a production quality baseline. After all, it shouldn’t take that long to produce a good-enough stream, right? Ha! Between having to save up to buy new parts and figuring out how to use everything just enough to get by, that process took over a year to sort out.
Meanwhile, my channel was still running. Streaming three-to-four times a week, I was growing increasingly frustrated with multi-hour streams going by and zero people tuning in. As the channel grew in terms of followers, I still wasn’t sure what to make of that. It all came to blow up in my face when a dip in viewership caused me to miss out on Twitch Affiliate. Missing out sent me into a multi-month depressive slide. Without having taken the time to formalize my expectations, I was essentially getting mad at myself over nothing.
Though I should have done this before, now seems like a great time to actually get real and formalize my goals for streaming going forward. This is just a start, as I should constantly be evaluating/adding/removing/revising these goals as I go. I may not formally write down every iteration, but having something written down somewhere to hold myself accountable is a great first step.