Content creators talk mental health and work/life balance

From left to right, David Giltinan, a podcaster, and the Twitch streamers Shott1e, ImLostEmpire, Mollydoesathing and VaguelyHumanish discussed balancing work, life, and content creation at PAX East on Saturday morning. Photo by Lillian Eden / BU News Service

By Lillian Eden
BU News Service

A few minutes before the panel on balancing work, life and creativity, Twitch streamer ImLostEmpire, who goes only by Emma to maintain her privacy, asked the crowd how late they thought the last person on the panel, Twitch streamer MollyDoesAThing, would arrive. 

The crowd called out times: 11:05, 11:15 and as late as 11:30.

At exactly 11:00 a.m. Saturday, the start time for the panel, Molly Smith entered the Bobcat Theater at PAX East wearing neon green platform combat boots. With her arrival, which was greeted with applause and cheering, the panel could begin.

“If you are genuinely enjoying what you’re doing and would do it for zero dollars and don’t necessarily need the additional funds … keep doing it, by all means. But if you are exhausted, hate what you’re doing and making next to nothing, maybe that’s something that you reconsider,” said Emma, the moderator of the panel.

Emma said sometimes people will ask her how they can create certain types of content, like a podcast, when they don’t actually like listening to podcasts.

“We can’t make content we don’t enjoy. Nobody’s gonna like it,” she said. “If there’s not passion behind it and you’re just doing it for a paycheck. That is not going to create the same end content as if you really pour your heart and soul into something.”

She also said even if someone is passionate about the content they’re creating, it can often be frustrating or overwhelming.  

“That was last night for me,” said David Giltinan, a podcaster.   

Smith said it took crying in the rain behind a dumpster to realize that she needed to shift her priorities. She had a long commute to school, was working a job, and was trying to create content. It was too much.

“It’s one of those things where you kind of have to look in the mirror and be like, what is the one thing that is really impeding on my life. The one thing that I feel like is the most negative. And then you just have to cut it,” Smith said.

For her, it was school. Even though she still loved what she was going to school for, it didn’t fit into her life anymore.  

Emma described how she would use accomplishing many small tasks to avoid doing larger tasks, like making her bed instead of paying her tuition. She discussed the importance of having a support system to hold oneself accountable, be it friends, family or even a pet.

“I know it’s really hard to accept the fact that we might not be able to do it all by ourselves,” she said.  

Emma stressed that her community on Twitch is very supportive and welcoming, and that is by design.

She doesn’t share a lot of her personal life with her followers, but said her community is an understanding one. They will support her even if she doesn’t produce content for a while.

She said her community will even reprimand newcomers if they violate unspoken rules of kindness.  

Emma also stressed that even when you’re starting out and need the followers, it is okay to ban someone from a community for bad or rude behavior because it sets the tone for what your community tolerates.

“Yes, this may slow your growth,” she said, “But the community that you build is going to be more welcoming. It’s going to treat you as a human.” 

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