It’s been a VERY long time since I started streaming on Twitch, but simultaneously, it feels like I blinked and 6 years have passed. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since I was sitting on on my bed, a Playstation camera pointed at me from the top of my TV, streaming a horror game because I wanted the feeling of someone there while I played it, but 6 years?? I’m gooped.

Like when most of us when we start, we don’t necessarily think Twitch is going to become some semblance of a career. I had some lofty dreams (and still do) of sky-rocketing the channel to at least comfortable levels of success when I started, and ever since I started putting full-time effort into it, it’s been the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had. It’s also the hardest job I’ve ever had, for several reasons I can get into another time, but when it’s going right, it feels correct.

I could rattle off about everything I’ve learned in these 6 years, from navigating the tumultuous social scene of simply being a livestreaming presence on the internet, to trying to separate your self-worth from the statistics that determine your success. I could detail the resilience I’ve gained from dealing with several faceless strangers who think calling me the f-slur is some “gotcha” moment (as if their sad, hollow opinions actually mean anything to me), but I think there’s one lesson in particular that’s helped me the most.

The lesson that’s helped me most with streaming on Twitch is remembering that behind every username, behind every typed message to me while I open my channel to my community, there’s a complex person with a long backstory that chose my space to hang out in, even if just for a few minutes, over any other place on Twitch.

This industry can whittle you down, if you let it. There’s so much around growing your channel: networking with other streamers, collaborating with them/charities/companies, making friends in the space to confide in, finding the balance between working behind the scenes and actually being in front of the camera, and so many more aspects of being in this industry that can contribute to levels of mental and emotional burnout unlike I’ve ever experienced before. It can be so hard not to sometimes take yourself out of the equation for a bit and think “how can I make this easier on myself?” It can be incredibly hard to push through the rough patches.

But the one quote that’s pushed me through any of these rough patches, no matter what’s happening around me in this hectic world of streaming, is something a really cool Twitch streamer named CupAhNoodle said in a video that circled around Twitter, saying something along the lines of “this is a job where you have to love it, even if it doesn’t love you back.”

And I love this job. I love it more than I’ve loved anything else I’ve ever done. The hard days have been harder than any other difficult days I’ve had in previous jobs, because streaming, if done well, means putting so much of your heart and soul into what you do, and having to accept that it might not provide the exact results you’re hoping for. You can be doing everything right, you can have talent beyond measure, you can be entertaining those already coming by your channel to the point where you, specifically, are their favorite, and still not be able to pay all of the bills, despite how mentally/emotionally exhausted you from all the work that got you there.

At the end of the day, the money is the absolute last reason to get into Twitch streaming. It sure does make it easier to do it full time, but if this is what you want to make some sort of career out of, you have to love it. You have to not just knowingly love it, but actively show that you love it, despite the fact that it may call you stupid and ugly several times along the way. While the money can be nice depending on your level of success, you have to also realize that those paying their bills with livestreaming/content creation have been through this struggle, too. It doesn’t take everyone years and years of work to make an entire living off of it, but for a good majority of us, it will.

If you’re a new Twitch streamer, or thinking about diving into it, my biggest advice to you is to love it. You have to love what you do with your channel, because if you don’t, you won’t find success the way you want to find it, regardless of what’s happening on the screen.

To celebrate all these years of blood (it’s true, I accidentally cut myself during a cooking stream, I’m sure) sweat, and screaming into the void, I’ll be doing a long stream on Friday, April 28th to celebrate!

Spooky games, chilling, some fun subscriber-based goals if y’all decide to be extra generous? It’s going to be such a fun time. I’m incredibly excited to celebrate yet another year of full-time effort toward this dream, and if you want to come by and hear some stories about these 6 years of streaming, I’d absolutely love to see you there!

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