How To Write About How To “Break In” To Games Writing
by Scott Nichols
There has been much discussion among games writers as of late regarding how aspiring writers can best pursue this wonderful career. With so many voices already lending advice to aspiring writers, it has come to my attention that some may need guidance in how to best give that advice. To that end, I have compiled a few helpful tips for writers on how to best advise and inspire new voices into the industry.
Develop an opinion on paid vs volunteer writing. It doesn’t matter which side of this debate you fall on, really, but you must know in your heart that only one of these options is a viable career choice. If you favor volunteer writing, remember that all paid games writers and journalists are elitist sellouts and hacks lacking in even the slightest shred of decency or integrity. If you favor the paid path, keep in mind that volunteer writers are a blight that is destroying the value and credibility of all writers, everywhere, forever.
You know best. The most valuable advice you can provide to aspiring writers is your own experience as a road map for them to follow. What was it that was the key to your success? Persistence? Networking? Building a portfolio? Filling a niche? Pure writing talent? Luck? Whatever it was, drill that point into every aspiring writer’s head. As a bonus, belittle whatever efforts the aspiring writer has already made. Clearly whatever they’re doing isn’t working, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your advice in the first place. If they say they’re already doing what you advise, they’re just not doing it hard enough, so belittle them for that instead.
Pick fights with your peers. Remember, giving advice is a competition. If a new writer breaks into the industry it only counts if they did so using the exact method you prescribed, so argue with any writer offering advice that differs even slightly from your own. Picking fights is also an important career move, as it will show the other professionals you argue with that your opinions and experience are better than theirs, leading to valuable new writing opportunities. If, by some freak chance you manage to anger another writer, just remember that the pool of writers in this industry is huge, so there’s very little chance of ever encountering them again, and certainly no chance of them some day becoming an editor to whom you need to send article pitches.
Be dogmatic. Regardless of what advice you give, stick to it. Flexibility of ideas is a weakness for any writer, and others in the industry will tear you apart for showing even the slightest willingness to compromise. This point ties back into the previous three, but really deserves special mention; it’s that important to giving advice about writing.