Streaming, like any creative position, has its emotional ups and downs – bipolar at times, making it hard to obtain some sort of mental balance. I personally have had my share of struggles, and recently have been drilling good habits, such as a streaming on a schedule and worrying less about crap not going as planned, into my head; but at times it doesn’t feel like it is enough.
It’s easy to lose motivation – “I see no growth”, “What’s the point of streaming when no one comes?”, “I feel like I wasn’t entertaining enough”, “My Grandma was the only one talking in chat”, which is why you have to ask yourself, why are you streaming in the first place?
I thought more could be done to stay motivated and reduce streamer fatigue, so I asked a few [more to come] great streamers how and why they keep streaming. The first question…
What motivates you to stream?
Positivity to the people
Lychi – I am motivated to stream by the people I can make an impact on, whether it’s the viewers who find a little joy through lurking or a charity I can help raise money for. Anyone who pops into my chat has a chance to connect with me, and tell me a little bit about their day. The stream gives me a place to be my authentic self, and just being open to conversation creates a safe space where people can feel noticed and accepted.
JoricGaming – What motivates me to stream is knowing that I make people’s day better. The comments and whispers I get everyday thanking me taking their minds off of stress or negative thoughts, empowers me to wake up and be there for them.
TokenVariety – The thing that motivates me to stream is to make people laugh and to make genuine connections with people. I stream to an older audience and for me, as I get older, I find it more difficult to make friends offline. I suspect this is the case for lots of people. People want to escape their own problems sometimes and share a laugh with someone they can relate to.
LenaAxios – My motivation to stream is knowing that no matter how bad of a day I’m having my community 100% turns it around. As well as I know people who are feeling down come to my stream to hang out with their friends.
Change and acceptance
So_Many_Badgers – I have always felt an insatiable need to socialize, but I have terrible social anxiety. So this gives me that fix… moreover, I feel like there’s such stereotypical representation of LGBTQIA+ members in media, and I like to be that positive and friendly example for people to look to… it’s hard to be gay and watch tv/movies/streams and not have someone you can relate to, so I think the more representation of just everyday gays the better.
HkFELIX – What motivates me to be a streamer is being able to create a community that accepts me for being me.
Passion and creativity
GoldilocksAndTheBear – I feel like it helps me break through barriers and become a better artist. I have always been a creative, “think outside of the box” person, but streaming has intensified that part of me and helped show me what I can and am capable of creating. I have always loved theatre, but I am not a great actor, so streaming allows me to perform and entertain while still allowing me to be myself. Its awakened a part of myself that I never knew existed; when I am putting together scenes and overlay for a new concept, I am in my element and I am happy. I love that I am motivated to push myself to learn and grow so that I can share that growth with my community.
AdjectiveBeaver – This is a tough one to answer. In one word: excitement. In many words: being excited about something and wanting to share it with others. Regardless of my skill level or length of interest, being excited about something is key (for me) to being happy. Whether it’s a new game, piece of technology, or just some random topic, I love it when I get “hooked” on something; digging in to learn all that I can and then show that & offer a bit of humor via live streaming. THAT’s what motivates me.
PTBarpun – I love making things with people, and streaming allows constant collabing with strangers on the internet. You can get instant feedback and ideas on creative projects and along with that you also have people holding you accountable for your progress. Without streaming I wouldn’t be remotely as creatively productive.
Life and self-improvements
NyaaSenpai – I used to stream on Twitch everyday with my sister Nicole; we would play osu!. We did everything we could for the community even making a chat-bot for osu! and Twitch. After about a year we decided our goal for streaming was partnership. Shortly after this she got a new job and was busy a lot so it was left to me to fulfill this dream of ours. About 3 months into her new job she got into a motorcycle accident; she was pushed off the on-ramp to the freeway and was found 15 feet down.
This was a huge detriment to me and my mental health, it took me a few weeks to recover enough just to talk to other people. After I regained composure of myself, I made it my life goal to achieve our goal and have dedicated my existence to providing content and helping as many people as I can.
Kitty_haz_Claws – Communication to the outside world. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom to my nearly 6-year-old daughter “Kitten”, I don’t get to talk to many other adults. I used streaming since day 1 (nearly 5 years ago) as a social approach to life. It’s been great so far, but like most people I too go through my “anti-social” phases too where I just need to be alone. It’s a weird cycle.
Boostedbeard – I’m motivated to stream by the people and interactions I have with them. If you come around the channel you see that it’s a more personal atmosphere then some. I’ve always liked helping people and I was always the big strong guy with a little brains that was always willing to help and solve any problem. When my health took a turn a couple years ago, I lost the ability to “use” my body to do that anymore. I’ve always had a passion for gaming and the community around it. So sitting around not able to do much physically, I decide to start streaming and recording gameplay. I started meeting people talking to them as they came by. Talking to them as you would a person in a room with you. At that time it had a been a while since I had normal human interaction being stuck at home a lot it was odd for me but also interesting to hear what other people were doing in the world. Soon I started to not only notice changes in my mood but people would also thank me for just chatting with them and asking how they were. So it became and still is to this day part my therapy and part a way to talk to people and maybe help them with something or even make a real friend . A “platform” if you wish to still help if only to change someone’s perspective towards the bad day they are having.
StreamBritish – Initially it was the desire to engage and talk with people, I originally started streaming to find an outlet for stress that I couldn’t handle, dressing up in costumes was my way of simply entertaining myself, if I got bored thinking about what to do when no-one was watching I’d simply dress up as one of my favorite Dr Who characters and joke around. This was way before I had any community it was just a vent for a lot of things that were happening in my life. I wanted to be a streamer that I’d be happy with my kids watching, here’s a guy that doesn’t continuously swear, and doesn’t actually rage at games continuously just for the sake of it.
I’m really keen on helping people to understand that ability, physical, and mental is no barrier to gaming which is why I’ve been heavily involved with a local charity to equip them with 13 computers, to enable people with severe physical and mental disabilities to discover the power of gaming, streaming and to really show how powerful community can be.
While that main charity has sadly folded, the gaming and accessibility part of that has now been moved into a separate company where the mission still carries on, and is within travelling distance so that I can share the ongoing project with the community.
If you’re interested
rorimiruku – The only thing I can honestly say that comes from my own experience is make sure that streaming is something that you’re actually interested in doing. Not everyone is cut out for it, and someone could just find out down the road that they’re more cut out as a YouTuber, or running a podcast, channel manager, or just a really dedicated viewer.
Many different streamers, many different reasons to stream. But regardless of all the motivation you may have, obstacles will come your way; which leads us to our next question…
What’s one example of a streaming-related struggle and how did you overcome it?
Getting shit done
So_Many_Badgers – I have a very short attention span and for me it’s not uncommon for me to start 20 things and not finish any. What I found was super effective is making lists, writing down what progress I’ve made toward projects and acknowledging when I’ve completed tasks. When I see myself finishing something it motivates me to finish more tasks, until the list is smaller. There’s never a point where the list will be complete because you should always be growing and changing… or at least refining to perfection, so you don’t become stagnant… but knocking out two or three projects in a day… that’s satisfying.
JoricGaming – The fact that I had such a lack of self-confidence, in my age and weight. I overcame my age by not acting my age, and I am overcoming my weight by eating keto. I am learning to accept myself as a person and streamer, and that I am validated in some way.
Boostedbeard – Something I personally struggle with is being on camera. Funny enough, I don’t like it. I never really like having my picture taken. I owe a friend of mine, Paiger, for having my back and talking me up to be on social media and camera. I’ve been told it helps with calming people when being open in conversation, which in turn, knowing that I’m helping in some way I guess it makes it easier for me. Or they just can’t live without the beard. XD
PTBarpun – My most common struggles are always that mistakes WILL be made when you creative stream. Overcoming it is viewing all mistakes you make on stream as opportunities for humor. Lingering on a mistake isn’t perceived very positively, but showing you can laugh at yourself and take a joke will always reflect well on you and your community.
LenaAxios – Streaming struggle is posting pictures to social media. I like to take pictures of things that are not myself, and when I do take pics of myself/or others take pics of me I am really uncomfortable. How do I get over it? I take pics of myself! I learn that I am always my worst critic.
TokenVariety – I think the biggest streaming related struggle I have to deal with is time management and the stream / life balance. I’m an extrovert and get energized interacting with people and it’s sometimes hard to stop because it’s triggering that happy part of my brain but I’m also a husband and a father. My wife and daughter deserve me to be active in their lives and I feel like sometimes streaming can be all consuming between social media and time spent streaming. I recently instituted hard stops on my stream to overcome this problem.. When it’s time to end the stream it’s time to end the stream. This not only helps me off stream life but it also makes the time I spend with my community that much more special.
Lychi – A struggle I have with streaming is justifying the time spent. I don’t envision myself fiscally supporting myself as a full-time streamer, but I’m not at a place where I can comfortably call it a hobby. What I currently do is have a part-time schedule with the times I can dedicate to streaming, and balance it with time for commissions, projects, and job hunting. I also don’t feel guilty if projects get in the way of my schedule, as long as I let my community know ahead of time because I know that they would want me to be able to keep doing what I do. This way, I have a sustainable routine that moves me forward both financially and as a streamer.
Kitty_haz_Claws – One streaming related struggle I have is balancing my mental health. Most people ignore their mental health and just “push through it”. I’m the type of person who doesn’t really know how to relax and just let go so it builds up within me a LOT and it affects me a LOT. However, with the help of a few good friends of mine, they are helping me fix my mental health and keep me on the right track. It’s a long journey but it’s about baby steps. Every day as long as you are not moving backwards, it’s going to be ok.
AdjectiveBeaver – This is a work in progress! I suffer from Analysis Paralysis. I am my own worst critic; I want everything to be perfect & whatever I do needs to be the best. Often, when it hasn’t been “the best” (by my own, flawed, judgment), I’ve opted to NOT stream. But time and time again, just hitting that go live button has resulted in a surprising amount of fun. When I get that negative voice in my head telling me that I’m not good enough or whatever I do won’t be any good, I look back on previous streams and recall on how great I felt afterwards.
StreamBritish – I think my biggest one has always been defining myself.. it’s an ongoing thing, I didn’t really start out on dressing up in costumes for streaming, I thought at the most I’d do it for 6 months – well after 2 years I have dozens and dozens of themes, it’s literally taking over my attic space, it’s also a constant struggle trying to balance income and what comes next.
The original reason I started streaming was to create a space of my own where I could forget life’s worries and immerse myself completely in gaming, while sharing that experience with others. While it’s turned into more than that, I suffer from ongoing mental health issues, and my community has been there for me, supporting, encouraging and letting me know it’s okay to take a break when needed. Mental health awareness, really has been slow to pick up in the UK, the first time I had major issues I was told to just ‘man up’ – it’s getting a lot better though.
HkFELIX – Trust is something I’ve always had issues with in real life let alone streaming …. but meeting new people, networking, & helping upcoming streamers has shown me that there are really good people in this world & all they need is a chance as well.
GoldilocksAndTheBear – When I started streaming, I had a then large network of IRL friends that hung out all the time. Because streaming takes a lot of time and sacrifice, I don’t hear and talk to a lot of them as much as I would like. At the time, I didn’t have too many “streaming” friends either, as I was working full-time, didn’t have a lot of time to network and I don’t like to feel like I am annoying anyone. So there was a period of time where it got really lonely and kind of depressing. It made me question if what I was doing was worth my free-time and if, honestly, there was any future in it. Was I wasting my time?
Overcoming it – I realized that people change, friendships change and streaming is what genuinely made me happy. I consider what I do to be art, to be important. I cut my stream schedule back a couple of days and used those extra days to network outside of my community. I took a step back, recognized what I wanted to accomplish with my stream and what I needed to do to get there. And of course, with more networking, friendships grew on the platform and now I truly feel like I have made some of my best friends on here.
NyaaSenpai – I am a variety streamer, and I’m always jumping around from game to game, so people that come and watch could be attached to one game and only come around when that game is being played, this leads to lower numbers overall but a larger community of interests. This can be even more difficult because your numbers are all over the place and that leads to lower exposure. And that leads to only one more tool at your disposal. Are you a like-able person? You have to have a HUGE personality to make it as a variety streamer; networking with others is your best tool to help you on an adventure of variety streaming.
My community has always been focused around rhythm games and free to play games such as Warframe, Tera, osu!. I feel F2P games are the best because everyone can be included. And yes there are more free to play games than just Fortnite. Don’t be afraid to push outside your comfort zone a bit and try games you wouldn’t normally play.
We all have our struggles
Lots of us have battles with streaming, but we don’t have to do it alone! Reach out to a streamer that you respect and you’d be surprised how much their words can inspire you. People in the Mixer community are pretty welcoming and tend to help each other out. I hope that after getting inside the mind of a few amazing people’s heads that you have a greater sense of streaming clarity. Now go stream something you’re passionate about and text me later.
All the best,
Post updated on 3/5/2019 to add responses from LenaAxios, PTBarpun & StreamBritish.