Still Running

So today was a pretty big day for me. I decided to not quit streaming. I had really been thinking about it all weekend and I was pretty sure that I was going to stop. But after talking to some friends and especially after streaming for an hour I just knew that I couldn’t.

First off, I really owe this to my loyal viewers; the ones that watch me all the time, you know who you are.

Streaming is a marathon. It takes a long time to build an audience and even longer to build one that is interactive in chat. Sure you can take shortcuts and give away free stuff, but that almost always sacrifices the quality of the stream: it sure did in my case. Sure a streamer can get lucky and a big host comes their way that causes their channel to explode, but most of the time this does not happen. If it does, consider yourself very lucky and be thankful for the host. But in reality, as stated earlier, it takes a long time to get a channel going. And this is never without ups and downs. And these never stop.

My current channel (twitch.tv/fb_lurker) has been online for about a year at this point and my first stream was almost two years ago, but yet I am still a small streamer. At times it can be very tough. I think to myself, “I should be farther along” or “how come I’m not farther along?” or “how much longer until I get a break” and often “should I even keep doing this?” Compound this with seeing other streamers make it, and these thoughts become much more real.

I am a big fan of supporting other streamers and making friends with other streamers. This is the way to go. Do not be the jealous type that cannot be happy for other streamers or the type that always is thinking they need to do better than another streamer. Look at streamers as a group of friends where you want everyone to succeed, not as enemies. Now with that said, that doesn’t mean that when you watch your fellow streamers you are always happy.

What I mean by this is that while you can be happy for your fellow streamer, you can also be sad for yourself. This is the toughest part. When you see your friends make it you are glad for them, but at the same time it reminds you that you aren’t them. It reminds you that you haven’t made it.

For me jealousy is never a problem. I’m not the type to think that way. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t react. My issue is that at this point along I often see other streamer’s successes as evidence of my failures, and then I begin to doubt myself. I think that I just don’t have what it takes, or that it is going to take forever, or that I just missed my chance and that it’s gone.

Combine all these feelings with paying rent for my office (of which my donations are nowhere close to the amount), driving a minimum of an hour and a half every day to keep streaming, and often spending my whole day in town, and you can get a feel for my situation. A slow day was tough at times to deal with back when I was able to comfortably stream in my apartment when I lived in the city, and when I was not investing in my stream via rent money but rather just using my home internet, but now when I have a bad day it’s ten times more brutal. I close my computer down, turn the lights off, close my office, set the security system, and then drive 45 minutes to get home. All while thinking about how the stream went. Not fun.

Over time this has all been building up. Recently I had a really tough day. It was so tough that I had thought that I was going to hang in the towel and turn in my two-month notice and vacate my office. For me that means no more streaming. My choice to get internet is to pay rent for an office that has high speed internet and commute. Most streamers would never have to face that situation but I do. And I really thought that this was it and that I was going to pack it up, until today.

Today so many people came in and the show was just great. And the best part too was that it was a normal show. I didn’t have a pity title such as “thinking of quitting” or anything like that and the dialogue was not dominated by me talking about quitting and people saying “no stay don’t leave” and all other sorts of often at times insincere compliments, but instead it was fairly normal. The stream made me realize that while I need to do something to my show so that it is not so backbreaking, I cannot quit. I have to continue grinding it out.

I decided that I am going to change up my stream times. Instead of staying on a schedule where it consistently dominates my whole day and makes it miserable, I will just stream when it fits with my schedule. We shall see if this works, and I honestly think it will. Twitch users often tune it at sporadic times. The platform really does seem to differ from conventional media platforms like radio or television. Sure, at some times people won’t be able to make it, but I know at other times they will. Nonetheless, the load off my back will be lightened and streaming will be easier to bear.

I am very glad that I decided to keep streaming and that my chat today was able to keep me inspired and to come up with a different route instead of quitting. It showed me the classic lesson that just when you think you have examined all angles and thought everything through and that there is no other option, there often is. And so once again I have to thank my viewers. You all who tuned in today really made a difference and I appreciate it. A lot of you I will not forget that you were there today. I will keep grinding and I will see you soon in the chat.

And to those of you out there that are grinding and trying hard to be successful at something, stream related or not, keep at it. I know what it is like, it sure isn’t easy, but if you are like me (and I bet you are to some degree) you know that it makes you happy and that it’s worth it to keep going. I’m going to keep at it, I hope you do too. And if you ever need to talk about it, stop by my show and well chat.

Most people don’t take risks and work really hard to achieve something. They like to stay in their comfort zone where they don’t have to risk failure. To all of you that are out there risking that by pursuing something, I commend you. Keep at it. Life is too short to not do something with it. And if you are those that aren’t pursuers, that’s okay too. I’m not like you, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. We share different opinions. However, I ask one thing. Understand what those who take risks go through.

There is no guarantee in making it. Whether that is as a streamer, and entrepreneur, a professional athlete, or whatever. These types of people risk a lot to get there. Just because you see them when they are at the top, this doesn’t mean they weren’t at the bottom. And also don’t forget, there are a lot of people who never made it to the top, and legions more who never will. And you will likely never meet them because they are often too ashamed to let people know they failed. So when you see someone who makes it, don’t be jealous. Likely they didn’t get their easily. Those on top, that grinded their way there, earned it.

If you want to be somewhere, go for it. Take the risk. If you don’t want to take the risk that’s fine too, but don’t you ever be jealous and certainly don’t ask for things to be handed to you or that it isn’t fair. It’s not fair to ask for the highs of success and without risking the brutal lows of failure.

As for me, like I said, streaming is a marathon and I’m still running. Thanks for reading and good luck to those out there trying to make something happen.

 

-Nolan

 

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