Streaming Struggles and Dealing with Anxiety

Streaming

I’ve been trying to stream again on my Twitch channel, but it has been a struggle thus far. The most recent stream I did as of this writing was a very dissatisfying experience. I’ve been wanting to get going as a streamer and content creator for years; it occupied my mind for most of the 2010s. However, I was never able to go through with it due to the demands of life and my physical and psychological decline.

Last Saturday, I started playing Fallout: New Vegas on stream, and all I could do was stumble through it after years of not having touched the game. There was a lot of dead air, I kept forgetting to talk, and I didn’t feel good throughout the session. It’s not that I didn’t want to stream the game, but I just forced myself to do it without preparation.

Something needs to change, not only with my will to go through with it, but also my mindset in doing it. I really want to have a stream going, with or without an audience, but I need something more than just a game to play and some time to kill. Let’s go over my history with streaming and some details to clarify what I can do going forward.

I hate how “streaming” gets mixed up between livestreaming (Twitch, Facebook Live, YouTube Gaming, etc.) and streaming media (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.). It irritates me when I have to search “streaming” on Google, only to be inundated by news about TV shows. I’m talking about livestreaming here, and I’m using “streaming” as the main terminology for simplicity and SEO reasons.

Streaming in the Early Days

A decade ago, I got into streaming during the early days. Justin.tv just transitioned to becoming Twitch. I even bought a Chinese capture card on eBay, which I waited three whole months for in 2012, to stream from my PS3. I also paid $40 for the early beta of Xsplit, giving me a heads-up. Before that, I used the old method of using some jank software to stream my desktop.

I streamed on Justin.tv and Ustream, broadcasting whatever I could. I would stream during the day, even showing my work and sporadic video editing and Photoshop work. Unfortunately, having only 1mbps upload is not enough for a stable stream with decent quality. I couldn’t keep doing it because I was on DSL, and I remember how sad it was to have my resolution at 360p.

Finally Getting What I Wanted

After years of waiting, I finally got fiber optic in March 2017, giving me 25mbps up and down at first. It’s now double what it was, giving me plenty more room to do whatever I want. That may seem small for people living in other countries, but that’s as good as a residential subscriber can get here in the Philippines.

It has been almost four years now, but I haven’t gotten anywhere as far as my original intention of streaming goes. Somehow, my initial enthusiasm for it faded away and gave way to anxiety. As far as having the drive to do it, I’m back at square one. It was a good time for me to dive into it as I started my stint with Manila Wrestling Federation that year.

Current State of Streaming

I tried streaming on Facebook Live, and I didn’t like how Facebook handled VODs. I went to it at first due to its apparent potential for audience acquisition, but I then realized that my content wouldn’t be that attractive to Filipino viewers since I do it in English. I then made the decision to switch to Twitch, but that means I have to do other things in order to grow an audience.

But now, I feel like I don’t know how to talk to a camera anymore. I’m a very different person now from how I was a decade ago, when I first got interested in streaming. I’m now surrounded by all this equipment for streaming and video production, but have no desire to do stuff with them.

Whenever I forced myself to do something, it would usually yield low-quality content that I would never dare upload.

Perhaps I should just pull myself up by the bootstraps and get to it, but I do my best with preparation. I don’t have other people’s talent for spontaneity and improvisation, but I do well when I make the necessary preparations. I need at least an outline to know what I have to say, and I can go to town with it. That was pretty much the bulk of my content last year.

The games I want to stream now are too demanding for my computer to stream while also not being attractive to most viewers. Most people want to watch streams play multiplayer games, which I don’t play that often as they’re usually stressful for me. Add to that the anxiety that comes with streaming, and that makes for an excruciating experience.

I don’t want to do anything that will likely make me hate playing and streaming video games. Maybe I’m just scared, and I can’t refute that. I’m indeed scared.

My main challenge is anxiety. While I would feel alright before streaming or recording, it would then immediately rear its head as soon as I’m about to click the Live button or push the record button. Anxiety and the fear of being anxious make me lazy, and that leads to procrastination.

What I Can Do Going Forward

The only way I can see about this is to just get comfortable with it. If I could really push myself, I would stream at least 3 hours each day for five days per week, totaling 15 hours every week. I can then hopefully make a weekly highlight to chronicle the journey and show my best stuff.

There’s also a plan to build a dedicated streaming PC to allow me to record my gameplay separately while streaming. If I record and stream in the same PC, the stream gets frame drops and skips, thus making it unwatchable. I can then use that footage for making reviews and video essays in a concerted effort to revive my old YouTube channel.

However, the thing with that is if I really wanted to make content, then I’d be doing so now with my current equipment. It’s not like what I have now is in any way inadequate; quite the opposite. If I wish to make that work, I must work to deserve it first.

Conclusion

This is all just a hobby for now. It’s something to do while I’m languishing in my mid-30s. Maybe I can still turn this into something since it almost did when I was more active in 2016. I’m also getting some traction with one of my short videos on Facebook from 2019, so I know I can get a bigger following over time with more uploads.

Then again, if I were diligent and prolific to begin with, I’d be publishing a lot more posts on this blog to begin with. However, maybe I just have to not be so hard on myself and just focus on what makes me happy instead of being obsessed with “making it big.”

I should do what makes me happy, first and foremost. If it doesn’t make me happy, there’s no way I’ll keep doing it. I know enough about myself to know that if something doesn’t interest me, I just won’t do it. I have to work around my laziness, not through it.

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