It is the hallmark of the incompetent man to admonish his audience to do as he does, when what he does may not even be best for him.
Two of the four middle-aged live streamers I’ve been following on their summer journeys have given up. One completely ghosted his community, while the other appears to have suffered a breakdown. The two who soldier on do so with inconsistent scheduling and social media feeds that bemoan their lack of success on the platform. One outright slanders their platform on Twitter, and after recently “celebrating” almost a half-decade of live streaming where less than fifty of more than a supposed ten thousand followers showed up, it’s not surprising. This is someone who has claimed full-time status and cites live streaming as their only source of income. My heart goes out to their breadwinning significant other.
While it’s satisfying to have my hypotheses confirmed, I feel bad for these people who have blown most of the season on vain pursuits. It’s true: you never know until you try, but as I get older, I find there is value in believing those who have gone before me. Rigorous self-inspection is also critical. If you’re planning to dive into something like “high-level performative acting on the Internet” it might help to realize that there are foundational skills and traits that you may not yet have in place, and then work to gain or better them before putting all your energy into the effort. It is also important to recognize that you may never develop those abilities at all, and that no amount of work will ever produce success.
But what do I know? I only tried it myself for a decade. I’ll say this much though: if you plan to chase the live streaming dragon on Twitch, Kick, or YouTube, I recommend you create brand new accounts on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook rather than subvert existing accounts to promote your streams. You only end up alienating your existing audience who are following you for reasons other than a desperate run at Internet fame, and you end up looking like less of a failure when it comes to its overwhelmingly likely end.
Two months ago I put forth a list of tasks I wanted to accomplish. At that time, I was confident that I would be able to complete them before Labor Day. A month later, I discovered that I’d only had the capacity for one of the eight items. I then spent the last thirty days buckling down even harder. Here’s what really happened in May and June: I blew too many morning hours playing video games. That’s the plain truth. In July, I strictly allocated the first hour of every day to self-study. I completed George C. Williams’s Adaptation and Natural Selection and have made almost two hundred pages worth of progress into Mark Skousen's The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of Great Thinkers. I’ve strengthened my French studies with this iron-clad discipline and added Latin to the Duolingo grind.
To write just a single word a day
is better than writing none at all.
I’ve also managed to establish a solid schedule of writing work where I spent another two hours of my mornings getting the 365 Project done. Based on my current rate of progress I’ll have everything in the pipe before Labor Day, and then I’ll be able to transfer those two hours into whatever work awaits in the coming semester of university. I would like to extend that two hours to four, from 8AM to noon. I feel like this would be the start of an ideal writer’s work schedule, and from what I’ve heard it’s the kind of hours that many successful authors keep.
I lost a therapist this month, but I gained back two hours of every week. I didn’t need the therapy; I only went because it was convenient, and I enjoyed talking with them. With the first free afternoon I went down to my hometown to visit my father who was recovering from open-heart surgery. A remarkable thing at his age, eighty-three, and he was in good spirits. I was hesitant to see him. I hadn’t in several years, and my previous memory of him had been one of a strong, upright Nordic man of supreme authority. What greeted me at the threshold of the family home was far frailer and older than I remembered. And of course, this is natural and the expected state after such an invasive procedure, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made a mistake in overwriting the previous view that I’d had of him. I feel into a depression for several days after the visit, a depression I could have avoided if I’d not made the trip.
Loving someone is tough, and it only gets tougher the older we get.
Oh. The game. I spent a week studying the documentation for Twine SugarCube, and though I understand what I must do to realize my vision I lost interest. Instead, I decided to revisit C++ programming, and acquired the fifth edition of Stanley B. Lippman's C++ Primer in softcover. This was when I discovered that I’m in need of bifocals: I need my glasses to read the computer screen and have to take them off to read the textbook. You can imagine what a hassle this is. Fortunately, I’m due for a new pair in August. Once I get those, I’ll devote an hour or two each day to C++.
I think that one of the reasons I failed as an independent game developer was lack of overall work structure. If I had that same level of discipline that I’ve been applying to self-study these past few months, I may have done much better than I did. Only time can tell, going forward, but the self-assessment tools and introspection I’ve been doing this summer have been a tremendous help in getting me on the right path.
I’ll admit to a crutch, though: I tend to look at the work of weaker men than myself as motivation. I should be striving to be as good as the best in my field(s), but instead I step on the necks of those who are stumbling. This is a cruel pattern of behavior, and one that I need to curtail. If ever there was an overarching goal in my personal endeavors, that would be it.
I opened new accounts on Instagram and Twitter (X?) on January 1st this year to serve as “new content notifiers” for this website, in addition to the email list. At the end of the year, I’ll have a more detailed report on how I’ve used them, but I would like to mention here how a month worth of Twitter Blue did nothing to extend the reach or engagement of my activity on that network. It might be worthwhile to pay for Twitter if you’re one of the poor people ensnared in constant activity on that platform, but if you’re just using it as a one-way promotional outlet, it’s worthless.
If you're one of the people who tried to get in touch after reading this post, thinking that you were one of the live streamers I mentioned… you weren't. I don't know any of the “subjects” personally. –Ed.