I have some bigger news than usual, some good and some bad (well, depending on your perspective!). Here are the bullet points:
I’m taking an indefinite streaming hiatus; I don’t know when I will be streaming again.
I’m becoming less active on social media. They make me unhappy
I’m extending my Patreon break and will be reorganizing reward tiers - patrons will be getting a similar announcement once I work out the details. There will be as minimal upset to current tiers and pledges as possible.
I’m focusing my workload on an online shop, tabling at conventions, and writing a book.
I’ve put a lot of thought into these decisions, and for me, all are good things—if you’d like to understand why, I’ve written all this Stuff below to explain.
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A tricky thing about being a content creator on the internet is how you can get trapped in a cycle. Maybe you’re familiar with it—the most direct way to “growing” online is The Grind, plodding along as you create content for people, then there are more people, so you keep creating more content. And because so much of audience growth is tied to consistency and activity—when you pause, you lose momentum. So you keep creating content, spurred by numbers and you move towards a path of least resistance—whatever is popular, you keep making, and you consider this attention as feedback on your work.
Which means, as a growing artist, when you should be experimenting, creating freely, drawing really messy and awful things that no one sees because that means you’re trying new things for yourself—maybe you just don’t, because you don’t have time to be creating anything but Content for Viewers. Because you’re so busy climbing the ladder you forget that the ladder is ultimately meaningless, but at the same time, without the ladder, no one ever sees your work, and you’re just yelling at space.
Not all artists fall into this, of course, though maybe more than we know, but we might not know, because of the veneer of social media. In any case, I have. I hate it.
I felt I needed the ladder because I didn’t have an audience, and I wanted one. But perhaps the ideal is you working on something, a project, game, book, whatever, and audience is a byproduct. Maybe the system is fine, I just need to reorganize my priorities, and I need to apologize to everyone for losing sight of what’s important. Even so—I still hate Facebook.
Working to the point of damage to my physical health (and oh, let me tell you, the guilt of “but I’m not a big enough artist, I haven’t done enough to warrant some injury” is a can of worms for another time) has made me realize that for much longer, I’ve been working at the expense of my mental and emotional health. I’ve ignored how I’ve felt about streaming for the past year.
Streams were originally a way to jumpstart my creativity, hold me accountable in front of an audience, because before I started streaming, I wasn’t creating. I was displaced, jobless, and desperately in need of purpose (and company). I got both in spades, thanks to all of you! When I started I had an audience of maybe 2 people. Friends and family were the only ones seeing my art. You all helped me break out of that bubble, overcome my fears, and pushed me to create, create, create. And that was so good, more than good.
And at some point I kept streaming not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had created an Unbreakable Obligation to my patrons, to my subscribers, to my followers, because I was being given money to do this Thing and to stop would be Bad. And so many of you have given tips with the kindest messages and I keep all those little notes somewhere, because AUGHH YOU GUYS. Anyway for the past year I’ve been limping along, trying to stream regularly when it just wasn’t fitting into my schedule, like inviting you all to a party when I was neither available nor into it. To a certain extent all streams are performing so you are always adopting a Performing Persona, but my personal feelings started drifting further and further away from this, to the point it felt like lying.
(Let’s pause here. Because maybe you’re wondering if my excitement, positivity, enthusiasm while streaming was a lie. It was not. To be specific I enjoyed all my Stardew streams, I loved being goofy, I loved having your company and making friends. When I was losing focus, or not feeling good, I would make an excuse and end the stream. And this is why so many streams have been cancelled.)
And so I want to reorient. Sometimes you let things go for so long that reorientation warrants a big announcement. Maybe it doesn’t actually, but I can’t help but being the SAME OL BEAN.
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Please let my know if you have any questions in #chatter, I will still of course be around on Discord and receive notifications on all social media :> Here are some follow-up bullet points:
Some people don’t like sticking around for Discords that aren’t active enough. I still plan to update here, subs will still get wallpaper updates every month, things will still be here, but if you want to leave, it won’t hurt my feelings. Keep in mind though that invite links aren’t posted anywhere, and since I won’t be streaming I won’t be inviting frequently.
I’m still doing Patreon. I’m just reorganizing so I can work on some specific projects, and all rewards will be byproducts of these projects, instead of their own 5+, 10+ hour commitment.
Thanks to everyone for your love and support. It means a lot to me! YOU DA BEST
the bean baguette OUT