About a year ago I quit streaming for the second time. I quit making youtube videos almost 2 years ago now, which really corresponded to the first time I quit streaming. But over the last several months I’ve been considering going back into streaming, coupled with video creation as well. For the most part, I’ve been able to stave off the itch, but the itch has been continuing and I think sooner than later, I’m going to get back into it, even though it probably isn’t a great idea.
There are a couple of primary reasons for me constantly quitting these things. The first, is depression. And depression comes mostly from life, but the act of content creation plays a part in it as well. It is demoralizing to not have people come in and chat, and it is demoralizing to not see the channel grow the way that you kind of hope that it will. When you are already fragile to depression due to life, this has an effect.
The second, is that I have this weird mental block when it comes to playing games and content creation. I often find myself thinking “I shouldn’t play this game unless I’m recording it.” And this generally has a side effect of me just not playing games that I want to play. This gets secondary problematic because I just have a natural wandering eye. Meaning… I have a difficult time finishing games in the first place so when my goal is to finish a game on stream then I tend to get bored of the game and want to wander but feel I can’t and then I kinda just fade on both.
So in thinking about coming back… I have been contemplating how to fix these issues that are mostly just mental blocks for me. And I’m not sure I have a great solution. It’s easy enough to say “just don’t worry about it.” But that’s not really how it works. Even if you are constantly reminding yourself to not worry about it, the fact that you have to means that you are. I think the top thing that I can actually do is just to remove the pressure and stress that causes those things.
First, I am going to not create a schedule to record/stream. I’ve been watching Valkyrae stream of late and while she streams nearly every day usually, she doesn’t have a posted schedule that she follows. She’ll usually post the next time she is streaming on her twitter account and that is it. Now I could say that is a luxury that comes with being a bigger streamer, it doesn’t really matter when you stream, people will be there. And it is also a luxury when you are streaming nearly every night anyway. And both of these are true points. But there is a relief of stress and pressure when you don’t have an active schedule. I am sure that she has a schedule that she tends to keep… for instance, I have noticed she almost never streams on Fridays. But by not posting a schedule, she has a luxury of breaking any internal schedule that she does try to maintain. And there’s power in that. I think that I can try to say to myself “I’m going to try to stream these 3 days a week” and not post it publicly but just do it and if one of the days I don’t, or if I feel like streaming on a day I hadn’t previously intended, I don’t feel like I’m failing the channel because I’m the only one who knew. I just need to be more vigilant about posting on twitter any upcoming streams by at least 12 hours.
No goals. This was always an internal thing, I think sometimes I posted it externally. I was letting only me down by failing my goals. But I would make goals like “5 new subs this month.” I always tried to make them small to keep it realistic and to give me a chance to succeed. Ideally that is great. But two things happen when you make such goals. 1) You will fail and that is disheartening and 2) it again creates pressure on yourself to succeed in the goal. And we don’t want that pressure. And really… you don’t have a ton of control over such goals. I can’t make people subscribe, I can suggest it, but I can’t make them. I can’t make someone watch. I can’t make someone say hi. I can’t make someone return. I can only do what I can do. And making a goal based off someone else’s choice is completely counterintuitive.
Third… Play what I want, when I want, how I want. I have an idea of what to play while streaming when I return. It’s one of the reasons I want to get back into it, because it’s one of those things that’d be really cool to do and I kind of want to record it… even if no one sees it. It’s basically to play a series in a certain way with a certain goal (no goals I know!). I have done a series before, and it became a problem. I felt like I had to play the series every time I streamed, and it caused some of the mental state of not playing other games that I really wanted to and got me a stuck feeling. So… I need to not worry about continuing the series non-stop. I want to keep doing the series, but I think frequent breaks will help… exponentially.
As sort of an extension of this… I think it is actually important that I don’t just power through games every single day. I think it is important that if I’m streaming 3 times a week, that at least 1 of those days is something else entirely. I think I need to find side games to play that are maybe less involving that I can play for just a couple of hours a week and feel fulfilled in doing so. That even if it takes 20 hours to complete, I can play 2 hours, put it down for a week and pick it back up a week later with little issues. I think this mentality of not just one game will help longevity which would be a good thing.
I also do want to turn those streams into a set of videos. I want my playthroughs to have permanency. I want to be able to go back and watch them once of lost all memory and remember. I also want to have a place on this site to reference them as part of a proof that I did in fact play through them. I have some idears on exactly how to make these videos. They won’t be complete let’s plays, or just posts of the stream the way that some do. Probably more like a greatest hits type thing almost. In my minecraft youtubing days, I would stitch together the best moments of all my LPs for a month, and even though I only did it for a few months, these were actually some of the most popular videos that I made within the first couple of week. I kind of want to follow that concept, keep short 10-15 minute videos that are montages of an entire stream, skipping out the boring bits. In essence, let the stream be the let’s play, and the videos will be the monthly best ofs. I think it could work. With that, I probably won’t do a daily video anymore, instead focusing on one good every week or two.
The reality is… that despite all the difficulties, mental blocks, and time required to make videos and stream… I still love it for whatever reason, I’m not entirely sure why. I like meeting new people randomly, even though generally I hate people… I like having a record of what I’ve played… even if no one but I knows about it. And so though I may never be consistent the way that the networks want me to be, I will always be drawn to the format all the same. I just need to figure out a way to do it that works for me.