Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's All About Hard Work  

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Games: On the Twitter feed this weekend, there were a number of people that remarked on some negativity aimed at the games journalism/reviewing field. I'm not going to do the honor of linking to any of the pieces in question because I think they’re defeatist, quitter crap, but I do have an opinion.
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Although it's true that there are very few paid positions that a person can afford to live off of, there are many levels of success. Anyone who aspires to make their home in this line of work has to have realistic expectations, especially when they're starting out. It’s certainly true that some people can pay the rent and put food on the table by writing about games, but the ones who manage to pull it off by submitting only one job application or sending just one query are quite rare. Most of the folks I know who are ‘living the dream’ got there by a lot of persistence, underpaid/unpaid slogging, and old-fashioned hard work.
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Anyone who's not ready to put in the time and effort to make it happen doesn't want it bad enough, if you ask me.
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That said, it's just a reality that a lot of really good writers can't sell enough articles or reviews to make ends meet. It's a sad fact, and a result of the state of the industry: there is a virtually infinite supply of people who want to write, and very few outlets that make enough profit to pay someone a livable salary, let alone an entire staff. However, there are tons of opportunities for people who are willing to write on the side, or in their spare time.
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You might not be able to buy a house or car with your earnings, but it’s very reasonable to expect to get free games, free entrance to industry events, early info and first-looks, access to developers who would be otherwise unavailable, and a lot of other things along those lines-- not to mention the personal satisfaction of developing a reputation, establishing contacts, and becoming someone who's known and notable in the field.
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It's often said these days that fame is more important than wealth, and writing about games may be the perfect opportunity to prove that true. Keep your expectations realistic and don't be afraid of hard work, and you will definitely get where you're going-- AND If you can't do those things, then STFU and leave the field with grace. If nothing else, show some respect and do other up-and-comers the courtesy of not having to listen to your self-imposed sour grapes.
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