Here’s a summary of activity for the month of March 2019.
I’ve been having a crisis of faith lately. I have sat down at my computer, thinking I’d stream something, and haven’t. I feel like there’s no point. I’ve been streaming, and trying to build something here on the blog, and had a Patron campaign at Patreon, and a Subscribe option on Bandcamp, a voice and chat server on Discord, and some other things … and I’ve been streaming for years now, off and on.
In the last month, and I’m not sure really how to talk about this, but when the Critical Role crowdfunding effort went off like epic fireworks, I started to feel even more depressed and discouraged than normal. It’s not jealousy, per se, as I think it’s awesome for them, and their success is deservedly phenomenal; but, I look at what I’ve been trying to do, without success, and have just felt like I’ve been wasting my time all this time, time time time.
Then another thing. I suppose everyone has their Star Trek captain, or Doctor Who, right? The one they think of first, and is probably the one they started to watch originally. Well, some day, maybe already, people will probably start talking about their first Streamer in the same way, maybe?
For the record, “my” captain is probably Janeway or Cisco, “my” Doctor used to be Peter Davidson, and remained so by just a hair for a very long time, out of nostalgia over how I liked his acting so much, though Tom Baker was both delightful and my “first”, until his comments about a female Doctor finally tipped it to David Tennant.
My first streamer was Ara_gaming. Ara_gaming was the reason I started to watch Twitch. I followed her to Twitch from the Sony Landmark actual play through videos. Ara_gaming is the reason I started streaming on Twitch. Her advice was “just start!” and I did. So, tongue-in-cheek, I blame Ara_gaming for everything.
The other day, Ara showed up in Echoics’ stream, another of the first couple of streamers I watched, after years of absence from Twitch, as a guest. That was cool to see, and definitely cool after so long. I’m happy that things ending for her own stream career was for the best, and that she and Echoics are still in contact. It was nifty to see her again, and remember those early days.
But, I started to think about how little has changed for me as a streamer over the years since I started. I’m a Twitch Affiliate, but I never gained any ongoing patronage or subscribers or even a regular audience in any of these or related places. I’ve met people online and in person, I’ve had people get to know me and hang out irregularly, and all that’s super cool. But, still, most of the time, I’ve streamed with no one watching. And, as I watch my own archived videos, I’ve never gotten to the point where my own views are not significantly the majority.
My attempts to stream games, and whatnot, is a kind of art project. There’s also the annual music anthology I put together as well … and so forth. It’s good to have something to be busy with that’s fun and creative, even silly. Part of my streaming is about this idea I got, kinda modified from something someone I know said about writing book reviews. There’s a guy I know that reads, no, really, a shit ton, and he writes some kind of review for every one of them. Even if it is just a few lines. He said his rule is that if it is worth the time to read the thing, it’s worth writing some kind of review about it. He’s a damned machine, but it’s an idea that I’ve tried to use. So streaming, for me, is about how if I’m going to play games, I need to have some kind of creative output about that. Playing and grinding in a game, video or tabletop, without something to say or show for it is something I try to avoid by making streams or something at least.
But, at what point does it not make sense to put out the energy to plan and do and post these things publicly anymore if there’s no audience?
When I was in high school theatre, the teacher used to talk about how sports can be played without an audience, because the scores still matter and get recorded and have an effect on the season. But, for theatre, if there’s no audience, it’s not still a thing. I suppose theatre without an audience is just a rehearsal, really. And, in essence, I’ve been in open rehearsals as a streamer for years now. Maybe I should accept that there’s no audience and the show will never open.
Adam Koebel, in a recent stream, said something that kinda struck me hard. He said, “Content is a magical thing. As long as people will watch it, it’s worth doing.”
So, I’ve been okay with not having an audience, because it was part of an overall project. I had a reason to stream even if no one was watching. I had a reason to tweet, even if no one was listening. I had a reason to blog, even if no one was reading.
But, maybe I’ve been wrong about that. Maybe I should accept that whatever I’m doing is simply not of interest to other people, and doing it publicly is just wasted effort. I … think I’ve found the core problem with my streaming strategy. Actually, to be honest, this equally calls into question all of my strategies for anything and, moreover, my life choices. But, maybe that’s a little much to fully contemplate at the moment, all at once. And, it’s pretty much way too late in the game for me to change my entire life now, though I can mix things up and rearrange the deck chairs …
So, I’ve realized this month that I’ve lost the faith. I’ve given up each time I’ve sat down to start streaming. I’ve just not done it, though I could have, again, and once more, tried to keep to the project. I’ve got ideas I meant to do for streams, including continuing with video games, Illimat, and Gloomhaven, and starting up new series of Invisible Sun and Weave, and maybe other stuff. But, again, I’ve sat down to do them and ended up not doing them.
Welp. Okay then. I don’t know that I’m done streaming, but I think I’m done thinking of myself as a streamer. My first stream was back in September 2014, and my latest stream was almost a month ago. I’ve had ups and downs, and periods of streaming every day and periods of not being able to stream for various reasons. I don’t know that I won’t stream again, but I think I’m done with the project. Any bits or subs I had never reached over or near $75, so Twitch will end up keeping all of it; and eventually I’d imagine they might remove me from the Affiliate program, but who knows? (Their ways are mysterious!) I’ve shut down my patronage campaign. I’ve removed the option to subscribe to the anthology. I temporarily killed my social media accounts, but ended up keeping them active-ish. I’m going to stop posting, as I’ve been wont to do, monthly calls for submissions, or the other monthly reminders about my overall project. I don’t know if I’ll downgrade my Internet connectivity, but if I’m not streaming I sure don’t need all that bandwidth anymore.
I’m sad, tired, and disappointed, to be honest. But, okay, after this month, I guess I can accept now that the overall project is at least dormant, if not dead. The project is dead, long live the project! Nah, if it still moves, it’s probably just undead, trying to eat my brain.
Thanks to anyone that has read, watched, or soever, over the years. Thanks, if you’re not just me re-reading this for any mistakes, to you for reading this. I hate the “I’m leaving” trope, but this is, in fact, the summary of my last month. And, there it is.
Posts on the blog this last month
Here’s videos and streams