Twitch Livestreams: What You Need to Know?
A basic guide to what you should know about Twitch if you want to be a streamer.

Twitch actually began back in 2005 as an idea called Twitch founder Justin Kan wanted to create a site where people could watch 24-hour live video feeds of his life in a Big Brother style website. The reality TV style was not particularly well liked, but users were interested in how they could use the site to upload their own online video streams.

In October 2014, Business Insider ran an article that covered Justin Kan's appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt London in 2014, where Kan spoke about the early days of Twitch. The article ends with the comment that Kan ended his talk with:

"If can succeed, then nobody has an excuse. It was a terrible idea."

Twitch is so much more than simply a video game streaming platform, and writer's are starting to make a mark on the platform. While writers do not yet have their own personal category to write in, there is an effort to request that Twitch assign a specific category for writers.

Until Twitch assigns writers a specific category, there are a number of writing related games that writers use as well as the Just Chatting and Art categories. Unfortunately, this makes it extremely difficult for writers to locate one another on the platform.

There are writers using Twitch, however, and below are just some of the many ways that writers have created communities online with Twitch:

  • Work With Me: These are a more office workplace style stream where the streamer hosts productivity sprints for viewers
  • Writing on Stream: These streamers work on a wide range of writing projects while they live-stream, allowing viewers to read along as they write, or even pausing at intervals to read aloud what they have written.
  • Editing Streams: These are usually streams that are hosted by editors that work live on stream to edit writing that their viewers have submitted for editing services.
  • Writing Workshops: More structured writing streams that discuss the mechanics of writing to help viewers improve their skills.
  • Accountability Streams: The hosts of these streams will run times writing sprints, with an encouragement for their viewers to share their progress during the breaks. This is usually in the form of words written during a sprint, but can be as simple as the viewers just saying in chat that they got a scene wrote or edited half a page of their manuscript.
  • Casual Hangout Streams for Writers: Social gathering place for writers, often set on a backdrop of music or ambient sounds, these streams focus less on the timed sprints or accountability, and more on creating calm environments where writers can gather to work and chat with one another. Usually the streamer is silently working and talking in chat when there is quiet time, and reading chat or discussing things in a casual "just chatting" style.

[Note that Twitch is not the only streaming platform for writers, it is just the one that this article focuses on.]

What do you need to stream on Twitch?
You can start streaming to Twitch with most newer computers and an internet connection.

A decent camera is helpful if you want to show yourself or your workspace on your stream, but it is not a requirement.

A good mic is important, so that your viewers can hear what you are saying clearly and any background sounds or popping noises when speaking are filtered out.

(I'll expand this later)
What do you do when watching a Twitch Writing Stream?
Watching writing streams on Twitch is a great way to improve your productivity when writing, so make sure that you have your current project handy to work on it during sprints or quiet time.Twitch writing streams are also a great place to ask questions about the craft and some streams allow viewers to redeem channel points to have the streamer read the viewer's work on stream.