The irony about resigning as a writer for Destructoid, is that here I am, writing an article on Destructoid about not writing for Destructoid anymore...or something.
It's been a I guess two-ish years now since I practically begged Niero to give me a shot as a staff writer, and a lot has happened in my personal life. My personal health has sort of been on a steady decline. I left my job as a computer salesman, went to college, and now have my own software business focusing primarily on web development. I had another beautiful baby girl, bringing my count of babies in the house up to three. And I wrote a lot of fun articles, got to review a bunch of cool products, and just generally enjoyed my time as a writer.
But all good things must eventually come to the end. Not only do I have very little to say about games, being so disconnected from everything but older games and Nintendo Switch stuff, I just don't have the creative energy I once had. At least not for writing. I never thought I'd be a coder, but that's exactly my profession at this point, and in whatever little free time I have that isn't spent chilling, I play around with game development now. And that is eating up my interest.
Lately I have been obsessively studying the 6502 processor and the ins and outs of that, along with NES development. I really want to make an NES game. I have a company now, so I have all the legal stuff I need to brand a software product under that. So that's pretty cool.
But I'm not here to talk about myself endlessly. The fact is, I get a lot of questions about writing, and how to get a "gig" with a magazine/website/etc as a writer. So for all the bloggers here who bust their ass to create cool content, I am here mainly to impart whatever little wisdom I have from my time here before I leave. (It's a loose term. Even as a Dtoid writer, Dtoid is still my primary source for game news, so I am ALWAYS reading.)
1. Keep. On. Going.
You simply won't get anywhere if you don't write, all the time. It's a pre-requisite. Keep your head out of your ass, and understand that you are human - you will make mistakes. Sometimes your writing will be bad. Sometimes people won't like it. That's fine, but you need to keep producing stuff, and don't get hung up on some idea of a "magnum opus." The one piece I spent the most time on, EVER, was a piece about Jeff Minter. Well guess what? No one actually gives a shit about Jeff Minter, no one read it, and I made less on it than I made on articles with headlines like "DOOM is on sale saturday" that took two seconds. But it doesn't matter. It all collects and gets sucked into a big vortex of material you can share. That is important.
2. Personality matters.
It doesn't matter how "good" you are at anything. It really doesn't. I am an amateur web developer. Yet I have a very large and well paying contract right now because I am easy to deal with. I am personable and friendly. People are willing to tolerate someone who might take a bit longer on things if they aren't a complete piece of shit to deal with. This is true IN ANY INDUSTRY, ANYWHERE. I had an opportunity to get on with Destructoid earlier, but because I was hot headed and argumenative at that time, it did not work in my favor. Nobody likes an asshole. I don't care what kind of frat boy humor bullshit you think is so funny, or if you believe that people lick the ground scumbags walk on. It's not true, it's BS, those people are putting on an act or otherwise are easy to do business with. The things you say matter, and the way you conduct yourself matters. Period. Don't fuck that up for anything.
3. It is actual work.
Oh I get to review games! Sounds fun, right? Maybe in your own time. Maybe when you are reviewing games you knew you were gonna like in the first place. But just wait until you get stuck with some piece of crap for 40 hours, and have to finish it. And yes, we finish games. It's a requirement. Keep in mind always that while it's a lot of fun, and there are perks, and it's great, it is work. Always work. And when you are grinding through some horrible piece of software to hit a deadline, you will be very aware of that. This is not meant to be discouraging, but meant to remind people that writing requires a lot of time and energy, especially when dealing with big features, or reviews. And if you want consistent writing work that will pay the bills...well good luck, I have no advice to impart. It's very, very difficult to get to that position, and I was nowhere near it myself, nor do I ever intend to be.
That said, Dtoid has been an amazing place and I am glad I got to spend the better part of two years contributing here. It has been a lot of fun. I hope even more amazing writers swoop in as time goes on. We already have a bunch. But I am no longer part of their ranks, and I will miss it.
That said, the next time you guys hear from me, I am hoping it is because somebody here is writing an article about one of my own games!
Love you all,
Joel "The Manchild" Peterson