It wasn’t until a few years ago that I considered pursuing a writing career outside of novel writing. The idea of journalism had never really appealed to me and even though I did things like give reviews on video games or books I enjoyed, I never actually wrote my reviews beyond the fairly personal and grammatically free variety.
Last year, I got up the courage to actually step into writing as a career. I’d been growing tired of my day to day job and I needed a change. I knew it would be a long time before I could say that writing was my career choice but I also knew that there was no way I would be able to make writing my career unless I actually put one finger… in front… no… that won’t work. I wouldn’t be able to do it unless I actually sat down and wrote.
Don’t get me wrong, I write every day, and I don’t mean blogs. I work on my novels on a daily basis and I’ve recently started penning my comic book series. I make sure to do a few pages of each a day and if I’m entering that point where I’m a little burned, then I make sure to at least do something related to my art. Sometimes it has nothing to do with my projects but most of the time it does. Any headway is good headway, even if it’s only a little. But this will only take me so far. Both of these avenues take promotion, which I’m not adverse against, and neither of these paths offer a sure-fire way to making a living. There are so many writers these days, it’s almost scary. The amount of informative blogs, self-published novels and comics, and independent and professional screenplays on the market are staggering. It can make someone who is an unpublished but avid writer since the day they could form actual words (and before even that, as I have some books from the 1980s that prove I was at least putting scribbles together on paper for as long as I could remember), such as myself, develop a deep-seated fear that I will never actually make any money with my writing. And that’s a very real possibility.
It dawned on me, however, that there are other ways to make money writing, while, at the same time, working on those projects (novels and comic books in my case) you’ve poured your heart into: freelancing. I’d never considered this route because I knew nothing about it. How did you get work? How did you maintain steady work? How much were you paid for your pieces? Not to mention the fact that the idea of having my pieces read and critiqued by, perhaps, millions of people was almost too unnerving to think about. But last year, all of that changed.
I was, oddly enough, on Neogaf.com, like I sometimes am during the afternoon, when I happened upon a thread talking about a site that needed video game reviewers and editors. About a month or so before that, I had started getting an itch to “report,” not in the traditional sense, but in the “this is why you don’t/do want to use this product” kind of way. I can’t remember what triggered the itch, but it was there and it wasn’t going away. I looked at my fiancee, told her about the subject of the thread, then agonized over what to say in my application letter. I sent along a sample after responding and asking questions in the thread and waited.
I didn’t get a response back from that website, but there were other websites that were also looking for reviewers, newshounds, and more. I sent applications and samples to these sites and waited.
Less than a month ago, I got a response. It was one of the other sites that had been looking for people. They needed a reviewer and possibly someone to write articles and editorials. We corresponded back and forth and found that I would be great as a reviewer and doing articles when possible, mostly because of my schedule and my lifestyle.
It was that easy… I suddenly became a freelancer. It’s not permanent and if they don’t like my reviews after a few submissions, they could easily sever ties with me. But I suddenly became a freelancer, in what amounts to the blink of an eye. There wasn’t any fan-fare. I didn’t need a degree in Creative Writing or Journalism. I didn’t even need to rub shoulders with industry bigwigs. I simply needed to send an application letter and a sample. I needed to take that first step. That’s all you ever need to take. I’m glad I’ve taken it… I can’t wait to see where the other steps take me.