In just two days I’m celebrating my 1 year anniversary running a Minecraft YouTube channel with a 24 hour live stream.
I know. It’s insane, right? A few people have already said as much.
— GrinchyOwlGaming (@GrumpyOwlGaming) December 20, 2018
This idea is completely nuts and I support it 100%. I may not be awake through it all, but I’ll still support it in my slumber.
— Play.Moosekraft.com (@MoosekraftCom) December 20, 2018
A 24 hour long live stream is a feat that I have never even attempted before, and it’s going to be tough to get through. But, there are some things that I’m doing ahead of time to make sure I can push through the grind and make it to that final countdown.
Hopefully, a few of these things may also be helpful for you.
The Most Important Things To Consider
As I’ve come to learn from the dozen or so videos about making it through these marathon live streams, there are five key things you need to keep in mind to get through to the end. They are:
- Eating / Drinking
- Breaking Up Monotony
- Keeping Viewers Talking
- Scheduling Sleep
- Staying Awake
For each of these five points I think I’ve come up with a fairly decent strategy for reaching my goals, and I’m here to break a few of those strategies down for you.
Eating and Drinking
Obviously, a sane person shouldn’t try and go a full 24 hours without eating or drinking something, but when you’re working during that 24 hours and trying to be entertaining, talkative, and focused, you can’t just eat or drink anything.
During the live stream I’m ditching coffee and energy drinks for as long as I can, and sticking to V8 juice, hot decaf tea, and water. Lots and lots of water. After so many hours of talking, staying hydrated is going to have to be a conscious effort, so I’ll have a gallon of water ready to go right at the start and I’ll probably drink the whole thing by the time the stream is over. Hot tea will keep my vocal chords nice and warm, and should kick my brain into the “Oh, this must be coffee” mode and trick me into getting more energy without the caffeine.
As much as I love coffee, I’ll be holding off on drinking that for as long as I possibly can. Caffeine and sugar (in energy drinks) can cause you to crash hard an hour or two after drinking them, and they sometimes give me a shaky feeling as my blood sugar rises and dips over time. I’ll have coffee on hand if I need a boost, but I’m going to try and save it for the last 4-6 hours of the stream instead of starting off with it from the start.
Food, on the other hand, is all about having constant small snacks throughout the day instead of large meals. You don’t want greasy, fatty, or calorie-heavy foods to weigh you down and send you into a food coma. Expect to see a box of peanuts and a few small meals throughout the day, but nothing that’s gonna raise or lower my blood sugar levels too much. The key is to keep my body’s chemical levels pretty steady all day without any crazy dips, so constant drinking and eating should help with that.
Oh, and at the end of the 24 hours I’ll be having a shot of my favorite Scotch Whiskey, but that’s not really a tip as much as a bit of fun. 😉
Taking Breaks and Changing Activities
Taking breaks isn’t just about getting up and walking around once an hour (though I’ll be doing that). It’s important to keep your blood circulating to help stay awake and without any cramps, but it’s just as important to break up the monotony of a long stream by changing activities regularly.
I’ve got Google Calendar already set up and scheduled with different activities planned at certain hours, and even have different YouTubers who will be joining me in call at different times. This will keep my mind clear as I am continually switching to different things to do, and give everyone, including my chat, change-ups during the stream that they can look forward to.
At certain hour milestones (6 hours, 12 hours, etc…) I’ll take longer breaks (5-15 minutes) where I’ll take my dog outside on a quick walk, maybe even take a quick shower, so my bum doesn’t get too sore from sitting so long. Plus I have extended breaks where I won’t even do much gaming but will instead just sit back and talk with the people in chat. Staring at a computer screen for so long can strain the eyes, so when I go outside I’ll focus my eyes on objects like trees or buildings that are further away. Anything to keep my mind fresh is going to be key.
Then, when I come back from those breaks, I’ll switch to a new game mode or play style and keep the day moving.
Keeping Up The Hype
It’s not enough to change up the game modes, though. You’ve got to also stay engaged with the audience that sticks with you through the duration of the event, and that starts before you ever even go live.
Advertise the stream every way you can a few days ahead of time. Not just on YouTube (like in my video below), but on Twitter, Instagram, blogs (ahem), and even real life conversations. Even your most loyal fans may not watch every video you publish or tweet you send out, so keep sharing everywhere you can.
Don’t be afraid to straight up ask some trusted people to help you by joining in the stream and acting as mods. You only need a few people who are willing to hang out with you to help make the entire event go smoothly and stay talkative.
The more people you can get to join your stream, the more activity will be happening in chat and keeping you from silently nodding off.
On top of that, you need to have new things set up to make people feel excited about this stream, especially if you’ve done others in the past. I’m introducing new interactive features on the stream, like the tweet alerts shown in my announcement video (using #TheDomeCam), doing a giveaway every 2 hours, and have worked hard over the last week to make my stream just look better than all of my past ones. New lighting setup, scene transitions, graphics that pop in and out of display, Nightbot automated messages, and more are all going to play a part in making this stream stand out from all of these others and keep people engaged.
Those things shouldn’t just work alone, though. The tweet alerts, for example, will be another sound and notification that I can read, which gives my mind something to think about and my mouth something to say (hard to come up with fresh topics after 20 hours), the giveaways allow me to interact directly with my community, and Nightbot will remind me about important things I should mention.
Bottom line here: the more you talk with your viewers, the easier it will be to stay awake, and the more likely they are to stick around with you.
The whole point of a 24 hour live stream is that you’re pushing yourself to the limits and not taking time to sleep. So, it’s important to prepare yourself for that lack of sleep ahead of time.
For me, this means staying up super late a few nights before hand, like I am right now, and changing my sleep schedule entirely. Where I would normally go to bed around 11pm, this week I’ve been pushing myself to stay up later and later each night so that on Friday morning I’ll be super exhausted and ready to sleep until right before my stream starts.
Friday morning I’ll take a bit of melatonin and go to sleep by 9 AM. Then, at 5 PM, after a full 8 hours, I’ll wake up refreshed and ready to go. If I was to try and work all day before a 24 hour stream, there’d be no chance I’d make it to the end.
Luckily, my flexible work schedule allows me to start changing my sleeping habits an entire week ahead of time. If you don’t have that liberty, schedule your stream so that you can at least get a few hours of sleep in right before it starts. I’ve heard of a few people going into their stream at midnight on Friday through midnight on Saturday, which means they can get at least a half night of sleep before the stream.
Whatever the choice is, getting your sleep habits changed a few days ahead of time is super important. If you wait until the last day and then try to put yourself to bed at 6 PM when you’re used to going to bed at midnight or later, then you’ll just lay there restless and not go into the stream feeling fresh. Plan ahead and you’ll be golden.
How To Stay Awake For A 24 Hour Live Stream
It’s all of the above, really. Talking with people, switching activities, keeping blood sugar levels steady, taking breaks, planning ahead, and staying hyped with your viewers are all pieces of the puzzle to staying awake.
At least, I think that’s the case.
To be completely honest, I’ve never done one of these before, so I’m just prepping as much as I can and hoping that I’m making smart decisions. Tune into my stream at the end of the 24 hours to find out if anything I’ve said here actually worked, or if I’ve passed out at my keyboard with shame and exhaustion. 😀
If you’ve got any other tips, sound off in the comments below! Or, if you’d like to see how I handle 24 hours of live streaming Minecraft, hit that button and click to be notified when I go live on Friday at 6 PM Eastern. It’s sure to be an experience, if nothing else.
Photo Credits: Pexels