One Year of Twitch Streaming Later

One Year of Twitch Streaming Later

I started streaming on my personal Twitch channel on November 5th, 2021. It happened on a whim, a test to see if there would be any interest in sharing my writing sessions. Prior to that day, I did a handful of streams on my husband’s channel, largely relying on his audience to visit while I chatted about my writing projects.

I expected no turnout. The display consisted of a word document, my web cam slapped on top and a post-it-note explaining that I would be quiet while writing. I had no idea what I was doing. I barely remembered I needed to switch the stream key on my OBS to my account so the stream didn’t pipe to my husband’s channel instead.

So many people visited, and I had such a strong response, I instantly decided to keep it up. A generous friend provided me with a beautiful layout for my next attempt to stream. And my husband quickly set me up with a rudimentary chat bot and some helpful commands.

One year later, on November 3rd of 2022, I did my first 12 hour stream to celebrate an entire year on Twitch. During that time, my channel gained 500 followers. Not only was I discovered by the Twitch writing community, I was able to participate in my first big Twitch writing event. I also shared many uplifting moments with those who visited my streams.

It’s hard to believe it all started on a random whim one sleepy morning while I put together a writing prompt for my blog. But I’m so glad I decided to give it a try!

I’ve enjoyed my experience

I’ve learned a lot about streaming during the last year. One of the big things is that people are interested in sharing my writing productivity time. Though that continues to surprise me even after all this time. Several other writing streamers have explained that it’s not about the words I’m sharing on screen. It’s better to think of my stream sessions as virtual write-ins. I lead them by setting the sprint timers and making sure they run. But the rest is all about interaction and encouragement.

Further to the lesson that what I’m writing isn’t necessarily important, I’ve learned that I don’t always have to show my words on stream to run these productivity sessions. Especially if I’m working on part of a project that includes major spoilers. I’m glad I figured this out around the middle of the year, because it made scheduling my streams a heck of a lot easier.

I’ve also learned that I don’t necessarily need to be on camera, if I’m not feeling up to it that day. As long as I have a chill vibe and the energy to write, the rest will come together – a liberating realization.

Another very important lesson is simply that I have something to offer the writing community with my streams. Some days it’s advice about how to tackle a writing problem. (My twitch chat is also adept at brainstorming for anyone who presents a conundrum or block.) Other days it’s encouragement, or reminders that rest is just as important at work. I’m aware that for many people I’m just a chill backdrop playing lofi music and providing the clicky clack ambient sound from my keyboard. But if that helps someone even a little bit, I’m happy to do it!

I need to make some minor changes

In 2022, it was difficult to set goals for my Twitch channel. I was so new to streaming on my own, I had little idea what to expect. I hoped to unlock a couple of emote slots (not realizing Twitch was going to add a bunch more for affiliates as well) and perhaps hit the big 500.

It took me the entire year, but I did manage to do those things. Yet I’m still not sure how to quantify what I want my growth to look like for the new year.

If self-publishing has taught me anything, it’s that success isn’t best defined by numbers. The number of books you release and the amount you make in sales won’t necessarily equate to happiness. Sometimes success is the warm feeling you have when you hit your goals at the end of a long day. Or the rush of energy you feel when you write ‘the end.’

With streaming, the most successful days are the days where I feel like I’ve helped someone, had a meaningful conversation or shared good energy with my fellow writers. So I think when it comes to goals, the biggest one is focusing on generating that feeling as often as possible.

But there are a few more tangible things I’d also like to keep in mind while streaming this year. The biggest and most important is not to add a bunch of extra arbitrary rules to myself that no one else actually expects me to follow. (Apparently I’m an expert at this.)

This may mean fewer stream specific projects and a lot more streaming whatever I happen to be working on at the time. In 2022, I set aside specific things to be streamed. But then I felt like I couldn’t work on them off camera.

Hoping for the best of both worlds

As I mentioned before, I shifted my schedule quite often during 2022 to make sure certain projects happened on camera. Usually, I use a block schedule. This means I work on one project one day and another project another day. This prevents me having to switch between projects on the same day and usually allows me to work more efficiently.

However, as I struggled to make sure certain projects took place entirely on camera, I was forced to do a lot of block switching, and thus a lot of extra mental gymnastics as I constantly switched between projects.

I have always prioritized the quality of my projects. I steadfastly refuse to release anything that isn’t up to my personal quality standards. And I have made sure that remains the case no matter what order my projects are tackled in.

But to save myself the extra strain and make sure I continue to have the energy for streaming without burning out, I’m going to be prioritizing a block schedule again.

This shouldn’t make a massive difference to my streaming schedule at the end of the day. Especially when combined with no longer reserving certain projects for camera time. But it should make my life significantly easier, especially when it comes to scheduling.

I’m looking forward to spending many happy hours of productivity with my fellow writers and friends on Twitch this year, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for new and exciting things I can add as stream events in the future.

If you’d like to hang out on my Twitch streams, keep an eye on the schedule here. And if you’d like to catch up on what you’ve missed, I upload select (non-spoiler containing) streams to my Youtube channel as well.

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