Dear Streamer: It’s Okay to Take a Break
Creators Need Time Off, Like Anyone Else
Sometimes, you have to step away from your stream. We all know that consistency is one of the major keys to establishing yourself as a content creator, that creating a schedule and sticking to it, making sure your fans always know when they can expect to see new content. It’s important to be reliable.
But, creators are human beings, and life happens. On a long enough timeline, unexpected complications will arise for everyone, and they get in the way of your work. Big life changes like moving, finding a new day job, the beginning and ending of relationships, these things pile up and get in the way, and they’re just the start. Medical emergencies or interventions are an unfortunate part of anyone’s story, in some capacity, and if you find yourself needing treatment, even if it’s for something mundane, you’ll likely find it hard to focus on that next stream from a hospital bed.
The point? While dependability is important, taking breaks is an essential part of maintaining your health, and the long term quality of your content.
Streamers deserve sick days. Mental health days. Time to recover from whatever unusual things are going on in their lives. More and more, the business world is finally coming around on the notion that allowing employees to find a healthy balance between work and life is in the best interest of everyone, yet independent creators often drive themselves to work to the bone, sacrificing their wellbeing to, in their minds, keep the stream healthy. In the long term, this build-up of negative stress will only serve to harm your content. A healthy, well rested creator is always going to be entertaining than someone on their last legs.
One of the greatest pressures, I think, to keep going forward, without a break, even when it’s what your psyche needs, is the added sense of responsibility streamers feel towards their paid subscribers. There’s a sense that, when people are supporting the stream financially, they deserve new content, and they deserve it during that month of subscription that they paid for. They can’t stop, then, while people have active subscriptions, because they’d be going back on their promise, taking back content for which they’d been paid.
Personally, I don’t think susbcribers look at things this way. Fans don’t buy subscriptions from streamers the same way they’d buy a ticket to a movie or a new pair of pants from a store. They’re contributing because they love the stream, because they want to show appreciation for the content they’ve already consumed, in addition to help enable the creation of more content into the future. If you’re honest about needing time away, and transparent about where you’re going, what you’re doing, and why, subscribers won’t leave en masse. I think you’ll find that they’ll understand, and that many will be happy to maintain thier subscriptions if you’re planning on returning in the not too distant future.
But, sometimes you need to take more than just a few weeks away. Maybe you’ll be gone for the summer, off visiting family, or seeing the world. And then, still, some creators don’t want to charge subscribers for any time they spend away from their streams. In this case, pausing your subscription campaigns might be the right thing to do, but it needs to be done with care. When you pause your subscriptions, you’re, in effect, cancelling all of your subscribers. When you return, each will have to make the conscious decision to subscribe again. This, again, is perfectly alright, so long as you have confidence in you and your community being able to come together again on the other side of your break. But, it’s important that you be aware that your subscription numbers are likely to come back slowly, never all at once.
On GameWisp, you can always pause your subscription campaigns but unpublishing your tiers in the tier editor. No one will be able to subscribe or resubscribe again until you’ve republished your tiers, which you can do at any time.
Everybody deserves a vacation, now and then, and everybody deserves the flexibility to allow their lives to change, to be able to move, to travel, or even just get through a tough time. With honest, open communication, and a little bit of faith in your audience, an occasional step away can be a vital part in keeping yourself, and thus your stream, healthy.
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