Last year I had a friend ask me what my New Year's resolution was for 2017. Without a serious response I shrugged my shoulders and joked, "I don't know, stream more?"
It was a joke dressed with flippancy and an understanding that most of my resolutions made prior were met with the same broken result. However, as the fireworks boomed and the hugs were exchanged the idea, "I don't know, stream more," kept echoing as the night went on. I was already committed to pushing the stream as far as I could go so why not double down in 2017. I invested all my energy into growing this channel as big as I possibly could and it's blown all my expectations out of the water. 'Streaming more' was an easy teed up swing, hence the joking commitment, but what I didn't expect was the impact it would have in all aspects of my life.
I'm happier than I've ever been. Not just with streaming, but as a whole. I've always been surrounded by a supporting cast of family and friends but there was always an internal voice that would lash out and keep me down. Streaming has given me a platform to bring these thoughts out in the open and turn them into jokes, effectively taking the negative power away. What was once a negative internal influence is now brought out into the open and fuels a place where we can all laugh. The stream has given me a lens to see my value, not that it was never there, but I see it now. I have a sense of self worth that inspires me to continue bettering myself, whether through going to the gym more, being more organized, and learning more. I've learned so much not just by being on camera, but by observing my streaming peers, interacting with the people in chat, and making genuine friendships.
Traveling to Twitchcon in California is easily the biggest moment of my 2017. It was the furthest I've ever been from home, the longest I've ever taken off of work, and the first time I had ever flown. The trip itself was the perfect culmination of all the hours spent streaming. Finally meeting everyone face to face was an experience I still think back on on bad days. There are genuine friendships here, of which would not have been possible were it not for streaming more.
I can't imagine a life without the people I've met through Twitch now. Together we're building a place that I'm happy to call home. I'm learning more about me and how to be than I have anywhere else. I have each and everyone one of you to thank for this. You've completely changed my life for the better. Thank you for being a part of it and allowing me to be a part of yours too. I'm humbled by the kindness that has been shown to me and it inspires me to continue passing it on.
So as 2017 comes to a close and resolutions for 2018 start to come around I know without a doubt that mine is to continue streaming more. There is a lot to learn here and a lot more people to meet. 2017 has been an incredible year for me and I'm excited to see where we can all go in 2018.
Two years ago I hit start broadcast and I had no idea what I was doing. Batman: Arkham Knight had just released and I decided to give this Twitch thing a shot. I mean it was easy enough with Twitch being built right into the Xbox One so what was there to lose? Going live was easy but it was a weird feeling. There was nobody there, I didn't have a camera or a microphone and it was just pure gameplay. I don't think I streamed for longer than five minutes but in those five minutes I watched the viewer count briefly tick from 0 to 1 and in that moment I was instantly sold. Suddenly playing a game went from being a passive experience to an active experience and I was dead set on pushing myself to be as entertaining as I possibly could.
I think I've gone back and forth on this second paragraph about eight times now. It's currently 11:38 P.M. and I'm waiting on a video to export so that I can go to bed. I'm a few hours away from starting my first ever 24 hour stream and it's as intimidating as it is exciting. I'm getting away from the point. I think if I had to sum up the biggest thing I've learned in these two years of streaming, it would be being comfortable with the unknown. The very idea of the unknown is something I've struggled with my entire life. At the core of who I am I continually grasp at futile attempts to rationalize unknowable outcomes until I get caught thinking in circles. However with streaming I've had to force myself to be okay with this. Streaming is an exercise with the unknown. When I hit 'go live,' I don't know what I'm going to say. I don't know what I'm going to joke about. I don't know if the stream is going to be stable the entire time. Hell, I don't always know who will be there. There are too many variables to know anything when I start a stream, but I've gotten to the point where I know I'm going to be okay. It's taken two years but I can say with confidence that I've found my voice as a streamer. That's something I've been given the space to develop largely due to the wonderful cast of friends, family, and community members who have given me the support to help figure this out as I go.
I'm still in awe when I think about how far this community has come. The early days are filled with memories of sparse chats and shorter streams but one by one you all started to fill in. I'm still surprised everytime I see names start to appear and chat slowly starts to populate with questions about each other's day and well being. If you were to pull back and look at what I'm doing on a weekly basis, I'm just a man in a room speaking out loud alone, but it never feels that way. The fact that I get to be a part of your day, that you all choose to let me in little by little is an honor I do not take lightly. There is warmth in seeing the amount of growth people have shown from the time they first appeared up to now. I value the opportunity to grow along side you and to have a space we can all lean on along the way.
I've talked about it before but the reason I fell in love with the show Community (I know Insinity) was because I found it at a very low point in my life. I connected with that show in a way that honestly felt like the creators were reaching through the tv and reassuring me that everything was okay. Finding a way to give a tenth of that back with our community is the fuel that continues to drive me every week. The Tap is a place to tune in and forget about the external problems, if only for a moment. A chance to hit pause and laugh a little, or just shoot the shit with each other. For every one person that's ever taken the time to let me know that this stream has helped them, changed them, or made them feel better (humble brag) I want them to know that it has done so equally for me. There have been plenty of times where this community has put a smile on my face on the toughest of days and I couldn't thank you enough.
Two years ago I didn't know what I was doing when I hit start stream for the first time. Today, I still don't know what I'm doing but I have the confidence to know it's going to be okay. The encouragement from family and friends to keep striving to be better. The kindness from this community to support us. I've made peace with the idea that if tomorrow was the last time I ever hit 'go live,' and this was the height of all there was to accomplish, then I couldn't be prouder of what we've done together. The people I've met and had the chance to include in my life has changed me significantly. Wherever this road takes us, I'm happy we're going together.
Thank You <3
It feels weird writing a blog on a website that's technically not out yet. However, I figured if I'm going to get in the habit of blogging then there's no better time to start than now. I've already shown this blog to a few close friends so if you're seeing this after poking around a bit, hi!
It's Sunday evening and as is tradition I'm killing time online instead of getting to bed at a reasonable hour for once, especially with a new work week ahead. I talked about it a few weeks ago on stream but I've reached a point where I actually look forward to Mondays. Maybe this is something I'll look back on and laugh at the pretentiousness but I genuinely am excited for the things I'm doing and savor the chance to start a new week of work. There's fulfillment in the content that I'm creating online and that's something I haven't gotten anywhere else.
I don't know if I'll be a daily blogger. My goal is at least one blog a week, probably on Sundays. There's something nice about reflecting on the week at the very end. The final period on a week long chapter. Looking back on this chapter I think the biggest take away was the chance to pretend like I was a full time streamer for a few days.
I didn't work Wednesday-Friday due to weather so I took the opportunity to stream during the day. I started most days by 10 A.M. and would finish up around 8 or 9. The turnout was great and it enabled me to reach new viewers as well as host people in different time slots, like the !quote MiniKitty raid. Even more so I actually had time to myself in the evenings. Which, is something that's really hard to talk about. I never want to make it sound like I don't enjoy what I do but there are sacrifices, especially in relationships with family and friends, that are made when it comes to streaming and sometimes I worry that I've put stress on those. Having the chance to repair and put more time into those relationships felt nice. I have a long road ahead of me if this content creating is something I'm going to do full time, so pauses and self care is a much needed detour. (Pauses and Self Care is my favorite Florence and the Machine album. Boom.)
Full time streaming is the goal, which is something I still struggle saying out loud. I've had people ask me on stream before if I want this to be more than just a hobby and every time I always find myself stumbling at the question. Half out of uncertainty, and half out of an internal indignant voice yelling, "can't you tell?" I know that this is a pipe dream and I still have a long way to go but there's no doubt in my mind that I want to be a full time streamer and content creator. Getting the taste of that lifestyle this week only steeled my resolve. It's easy to write off what I, as well as my peers, do but there's a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into making videos online. I talk about the Professor Broman podcast a lot but indulge me one more reference.
One of the biggest things he said in the earlier episodes was that when it comes to streaming no one sees the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Everyone sees streaming and is like, 'yea I love playing video games too!' However, the actual gaming is just the reward for all the prep that goes into it. The stream doesn't end when you hit stop broadcast. Neither should your work effort.
So yeah, I still struggle saying that I want to be a full time streamer, but I'm learning to be more vocal about it. Small steps towards making that goal a reality. Go back and read the very first sentence of this blog and recognize that it's an open admission of unsureness. I didn't start the stream off as a beacon of confidence. It took small steps along the way to finally find my voice as a streamer. I'll get to full time in due time. So what better way to start off this blog than as an affirmation of that?
Streamer, writer, creator. One day I woke up painfully aware of my existence and I've been apologizing for it ever since.