A while back, I did a write-up entitled “The Consequences of a Full-Time Job”, in which I discussed the new job I had started and the perceived ramifications it would have on this humble blog of mine. At the time, I assumed that the only thing that would ultimately be impacted was my writing schedule. However, as time has gone on, I’ve been made painfully aware of my drastic underestimation. My writing schedule is all over the place, to the point where I no longer even feel like I can promise release dates for upcoming reviews. I keep cancelling streams at the last minute due to physical and/or emotional burnout. Hell, I’ve barely even tweeted.
While that all sounds incredibly negative, this cloud of disorganization has had a pleasant silver lining: it’s forced me to revaluate what I do, why I do it, and what it all means to me. The results may not be pleasing to all of you, but that’s the downside to doing something like this that’s ultimately for myself: sometimes I have to be selfish and do what’s right for me.
So, let’s talk about my streams. I started doing weekly streams a while after doing my lengthy 24-hour stream for Extra Life last year. That experience had made me realize that maybe, just maybe, streaming wasn’t as daunting and terrifying a task as I had at first made it out to be. Perhaps it could even be (gasp) fun. This was also around the time that I was finishing my university degree, starting my job hunt, and rapidly realizing that a stable, full-time job may not be in my near future. I decided it was time to “diversify my portfolio”, so to speak, and streaming seemed like a good way to garner a new audience, entertain my existing one, and have a guaranteed event each week that could help justify a Patreon campaign. To its credit, it did a decent job of doing all that.
However, something I didn’t realize at the time was that I was also using it to fill a void in my social life. Of course, I still had a good friend circle. However, many of them were either working or going to school, while I was doing neither. Plus, without a stable source of income, my options for outings were admittedly limited, though I did what I could to prevent that from stopping me. Point is: I had a need for more social interaction than I was getting, and streaming fit the bill. The hardest, most energy-draining ones were those in which nobody showed up in chat, and I was forced to sit there for two hours and talk to a computer monitor.
Now, though, that’s all changed. I go to the office every weekday and see friendly faces for eight-plus hours. I have friends whom I’ll spend entire weekends playing board games with, and the financial stability to afford regular coffee dates, trips to the movies, and so on. Suddenly, streaming seems a whole lot less important.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to insinuate that streamers don’t have lives, have nothing better to do, etc. On the contrary, streamers have found a way to make streaming their life, and that was an achievement that I was never quite able to manage.
Once streaming became more of a hobby, it started to become a lot harder to do. After a long work week, all that this little introvert wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a movie or sit down with a friend for a relaxing evening. Hence why I’ve been cancelling my streams ad nauseum lately; it’s just been too much to handle, and I know that pushing myself too hard will only make all my work suffer in the long run.
With all that in mind, I’ve made the decision to stop doing regularly-scheduled streams. My Twitch account will still exist, and I may do streams from time to time with friends, colleagues, and so on. However, I have too much going on in my life to feel confident in my ability to do them once a week; especially without the quality going downhill rapidly.
Which brings me to the other big change: I’m reworking my Patreon. Simply put, my level of content output is far below what allows me to feel comfortable charging people monthly. I try to do a review/article once per week, but that varies depending on how long the game I’m playing is, how busy I am with life, and countless other factors. With the streams out, my last bit of consistently timed content is gone, and billing people monthly for a varying amount of material is something that doesn’t sit right with me.
As a result, I’ll be switching to a “per article” billing schedule. In other words, my patrons will only be billed when I post new reviews, lists, and other opinion pieces. Streams will not be connected to my Patreon in any way. This will allow the people who want to support my writing to do so, without me risking overpromising and under-delivering. If I do the occasional stream and people want to support those, the Twitch donation button is always available.
This update has been a long time coming, as I’ve spent a great deal of time rethinking how to approach this situation. For a while, I even contemplated shutting down my Patreon altogether. However, I think that this setup is a great compromise, enabling me to continue pouring time and energy into what I love (writing about games) without feeling the weight of monthly Patreon donations and weekly streams looming over me.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I’ll be more than happy to address them. Otherwise, though, I’ll see you all in the next review!