This post is inspired by swiftysurgeon. Thank you for giving me the inspiration to write.
Streaming is not an easy job. At first glance one might think so, but truly this is far from the case. I will explain why.
To the quick observer, streaming (at least on twitch) is just merely playing video games with a camera on. And then the talking is based on responding to people as they message you. Super easy right?
Hold on. It’s not so simple.
First, twitch is hardly about video games. One might think that it is about video games as this is what most streamers use as the basis for their show. They play a game and interact with their chat base.
Honestly gameplay is 10% of your show, if that. Streaming is much more about communicating with your audience and having something entertaining to say. Sure, there are a few channels out there where the streamers are wildly good at the games they play and thus they attract views. But, these streamers really are the rarity. For the love of God, please stop pretending that you are one of these streamers. Look, I am good at video games, I have hit legendary eagle master twice in Counter Strike, I have done some Mythic Raids in WoW, I have hit Platinum in Rainbow Six Siege multiple times, and I am known to have out of control games on Call of Duty; but am I insanely good? Am I a pro level gamer?
I am far from that. Does that mean that I don’t have what it takes to stream?
I totally have what it takes to make it on stream, mainly through my ability to interact with my chat and offer up something interesting, I will add often edifying, to say. And this is what I encourage new streamers to think about. Don’t tunnel in so hard on just playing your game. Think about what you are saying. Use your mouth not just your thumbs. Good gameplay is great, but take it from me, my fans come to my show to see me not my gameplay. If I have a shitty night in the competitives I still have my fans watching. (Thanks guys)
My main point here is that people too often get the wrong idea with streaming. They see what streamers do on the surface level and they wrongly conclude that is all they need to do to have a successful show. They see the gameplay and then they think “Gee I’m better than this guy, I can do this too,” and then they start their show. Now, this train of thought is not wrong yet. This is how I started streaming myself. I actually watched a streamer named Kateedge and I watched her show for a bit (she is a twitch partner btw I encourage you all to check her out sometime at twitch.tv/kateedge) and I decided that I think I could do this too.
So that was it, I started streaming.
But then as I found myself in the middle of streaming did I then begin to realize what it actually entails. All those viewers that I thought I would have, just like all the viewers other channels have, did not magically show up in my stream. I had plenty of long nights where few people came in, if any. Some days I would not get a single follow. That hurts. Talk about feeling like your stream is not going anywhere. This is also where you realize that streaming isn’t just simply talking to you chat. It takes a hell of a long time to build an active chat that gives you things to talk about. You will likely have to be talking to yourself for a long long time before you have a fanbase that supplies you with content to riff on. The truth here is going to hurt for some of you. But swallow it, and start practicing talking and entertaining as if you were a comedian. You have an audience, but they are just merely listening. Time to really do your show.
On a side note, I laugh my ass off when I see streamers with “Follower Goals.” Talk about a way to just make yourself miserable. Likely you aren’t going to hit that goal, and then what happens. Do you feel miserable? Because you didn’t hit the metrics that you wanted? Which you set? Don’t make this mistake of setting follower goals, sub goals, etc. This will set you up for failure and put you right on that emotional rollercoaster which I titled this post.
Sure, the days where you hit your goals you will feel on top of the world, but on the days that you don’t you will feel at the lowest of lows. This is not the way to stream. Streaming is a marathon, it is not a sprint. And man, it’s a long ass marathon, not one of those 13 mile half marathons. I am talking about the real deal.
So be prepared for that. And if you want to be the best prepared for streaming, get into the correct mental state. Do not expect success right away. Or in a week. Or in a month. Or in six months. Or in a year. It will likely take you over a year, maybe two, before things start happening in your channel. If it happens faster, that is amazing and cheers to you. But I would much rather set you up for a realistic plan of action than to tell you a lie that is likely to get you extremely depressed because you “haven’t made it” which results in you quitting and then hating on all other streamers because you are angry that you failed and so then you take it on them online. (lol it’s so true though)
So don’t set ridiculous goals that set you up for failure. If you do, and feel depressed because of it, you only have yourself to blame. Twitch, streaming, entertaining, etc. is an emotional rollercoaster and you need to be prepared for the ride. My advice here is to try to be as stoic as you possibly can and take it day by day. Remember, it is a marathon. Prepare yourself for a journey.
Lastly, to end this post I want to give the most important tip. I will likely write another post one day on this as well in further detail, but I have to get to work soon so I need to wrap this post up.
Make sure you have a set schedule. Set a time that you do your show and make sure you are there at that time every single day. Do not take any days off. Other successful streamers don’t, so why should you? If you aren’t prepared to sacrifice other activities, e.g. hanging out with friends, parties, dates, etc. then you really don’t want to make it on twitch. Sure, you say you do, but your actions show you don’t. Life is about choices and sacrifices. What you choose to do reveals a lot about you. If you choose to stream, it means you have chosen not to do other things. And your fans will notice this. If you commit to them, they will commit to you. On the contrary if you do not commit to them, they will not commit to you.
Remember, it is your choice. It is up to you. If you want your show to succeed get in the correct mental state and get ready for the long game (it won’t happen overnight), set a time you can make every single day, and start sacrificing. Choose your stream over other things in your life and the success will come.