How to Avoid Streamer, YouTuber and Gaming Burnout
Creator burnout is something that you see commonly talked about on YouTube, Twitch and other platforms where content creators frequent. For those that may not know what this is referring to, this is when a content creator just feels tired of or “burnt out” of creating content. You can also see this commonly in the gaming world with people feeling burnt out with their favorite games and logging in just feels like a chore. Both things can put you into a huge slump and make you feel like you’re just running on a treadmill, not feeling any more fulfillment or enjoyment out of those things that once made you happy. During one of my recent Twitch live streams, I received a question on how I personally prevent burnout. While I was able to answer that person’s question live, the question itself got my creative thoughts flowing and it felt like an appropriate topic to make a blog post on, especially since I myself at the time was going through a bit of burnout with the game I was playing. I’m going to separate the article here into two parts, since they’re each distinct in their own right and my tips and feelings on each are slightly different.
Preventing Creator Burnout
I’ve been content creating for a little more than 4 years now cumulatively, but seriously for only about 2. Since me taking my content creation more seriously in 2016, I can’t honestly say I’ve had a serious bout of burnout, and that’s because I actively put systems and infrastructure in place in my creative process to help prevent it. I also can identify when I’m feeling a bit burnt or slumped, and actively work to prevent it from becoming deep seated. But I wont keep talking about it vaguely, let’s actually dive into what I do and the biggest mistakes I see others make.
One of the biggest mistakes I see other content creators make is simply doing too much. Yes, it’s important to maintain a steady and constant stream of content, but it is completely unreasonable to expect that you’re not going to run out of steam streaming for 12 hours a day 7 days a week or making 2+ videos a day. If you do anything for that long you’ll eventually get tired of it. There is this belief in the content creation community that you need to just constantly pump out really high amounts of content, and while that is true, it’s not nearly to the extreme as many people think it is. Quantity is important, but not when it begins to too heavily sacrifice video quality or even more importantly your mental health. So to this point, one of the biggest things I set up for myself is having a realistic schedule.
I personally push myself as much as I can to create content in my current schedule, but not so overboard that it wipes me out. The amount that will cause burnout versus an amount that wont is different for everyone, but you need to be honest with yourself when setting up that schedule. Me personally, I currently work a 9-5 job 5 days per week, stream 4 times per week for 3.5 hours at a time, make 3-4 videos (depending on the week), workout 3-4 times per week, and still have time to spend with family and friends. To some that sounds like an insanely busy schedule (and it is), but for me it works, and I have my time managed well to make it work. Monday through Thursday my schedule is normally work, workout, dinner, stream, Friday and Saturday I spend with my fiance, friends and/or family, and Sunday I make my YouTube videos for the week. I found the maximum I can handle within my current schedule to progress my online business of being a content creator, while still having time to go to the gym and spend time with friends and family. Pushing yourself to the limit is important, and even going past your limits to get yourself to that next level can be really important as well. The problem arises when you push yourself so far that you begin to just deplete your metaphorical gas tank and sacrifice your mental health and happiness; that’s when you need to dial things back and re-evaluate your situation.
The other main issue I see is people not creating the content they want, but only creating content that they feel will get them views. You can’t expect to do something like content creation for the long-term if you dont even like the content your creating. Your lack of connection to your content will eventually show in your work if you just are constantly making videos on or streaming things you couldn’t care less about. In my opinion, there is a happy medium between creating content for views and creating content you love, and that really is going to vary based on your niche. For me, there are certain videos I love to make that don’t do as well as others view wise, but I make them because I have a great time doing it. There are also videos I make that I don’t enjoy as much, but I know other people really want and need the resource, so that is able to power me through those. Finally, there are videos that are in that sweet spot between being content the viewers want and content I enjoy to make. I think trying to spread yourself out between all three categories over your content creation career will not only lead to long term success, but help prevent burnout.
Preventing Gaming Burnout
Gaming and video game burnout is something I think almost every gamer has had to deal with, and you feel this one double the amount if you’re a gaming content creator. Gaming burn out can definitely be a tough beast to overcome. You’re playing a game that you once loved and enjoyed, but as time passes, you enjoy it less and less and eventually you just begin to login out of what feels like obligation because of how much time you’ve put into it. This can really effect your mood a lot; video games are supposed to be a fun thing to do, and that fun thing has now turned into what feels like a chore.
There are many ways to go about fixing this, but in my opinion there are three key things: working other games into your rotation, mixing up how you play the game that may be causing you frustrations, and knowing when to cut your losses.
Playing multiple video games at once is a really easy way to help prevent burning out of your “primary” game. If your main game is causing you frustrations, continuing to play it can just cause the problems you’re having to just spiral, potentially causing you to rage and act in a way you normally wouldn’t. Taking a break, trying something else and just mixing it up could be just the refresher and change of pace you need. Me personally, I was feeling massively burnt out of ESO during the Wolfhunter patch. I logged in happy every night and logged off pissed. Once I began to notice this, I started to try other games like Black Ops 4, Destiny 2, and a few other games. Simply taking some time off from ESO rejuvenated my desire to play the game, and after a week or two playing other games, I found myself wanting to play again.
In combination with the first tip, I also changed up how I played ESO. Since ESO is an MMORPG, the easiest way to “change up how you play” is by making a new class, and boy I should have done that sooner. I haven’t been this excited and happy about playing the game in months, and I didn’t realize how little fun I was having playing my old character until I made a new character that I really enjoyed. It can be easy to get caught up in that mindset of “but I spent so much time on X thing”, but is that really worth the dissatisfaction it’s causing you to have with a thing that’s supposed to bring you joy? I dont feel it is. And even though I had to start a new character from scratch and have a ton of work ahead of me to get this new Warden to where my Dragon Knight was, I’m excited for the journey and the new adventures that lie ahead.
The final thing is knowing when to cut your losses and move on. This happened to me with World of Warcraft. During patch 7.1.5, I finally reached a breaking point with the game. I didn’t like the direction Blizzard was heading with the game, it felt like a chore logging in every day, I’d sit and just stare at my screen not really wanting to play, I tried a ton of different classes, I wasn’t having fun anymore. A lot of people when they feel like that will just continue to play, but I knew for me it was time to cut my losses. At the end of the day, it’s a video game. Yeah I had played WoW for about 8 years and made a lot of progress, but even though I was leaving that behind, the game still gave me years of great memories and fun I cherish to this day, and all the time spent in game was worth it. Like I said earlier, I feel that happiness and mental health are the most important, and if your game is causing you to feel miserable, it may be time to see if you should cut your losses and move on.
Anyway that ended up being a lot longer than I expected, but I hope you guys got something out of it! These are just my thoughts on the whole topic of burnout from the view point of a gamer and content creator, and hopefully some of the things I personally do to prevent burnout myself can help you!
Enjoy your time in game, have fun streaming, create some awesome video content, and love what you do. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all in the next one!