I like to write. It’s one of the few things I do that can be described as remotely constructive. So, it would make sense that I would like to make a living at it. But, it is a worrisome path.
My family’s reactions range from dismissive to condescending. Most expect me to at some point pursue a “real job”. Most are rather vague on what this “real job” should be. My mother has suggested nursing, her own vocation, on multiple occasions. Most my family that can be pressed into an answer respond with “You like computers and stuff, why don’t you work on computers for a living.” Of course, the fact that I have a basic functional understanding of how my computer works has me labeled as a “computer guy” despite the fact that most people I know could run circles around me on the subject.
So, I want to write. Unfortunately, so do many, many other people. So, when demand for jobs outweighs supply, the question then comes to ability. Frankly, I have no idea what my level of writing skill is. I would say I’m proficient without question. But I’ve never really been evaluated beyond that. Even in my college composition classes, the intent was primarily to establish proficiency. I did well, only suffering on the large amount if in-between work that cluttered up what otherwise would have been time better spent either working on the ever-existent upcoming paper or on other classes. So, I know that I can write. I can form words, and string them together to form coherent thoughts. Now what?
Well, I suppose narrowing down the field I want into. In my youth, relative to my twenty-two years of age, I wanted to write for a video game magazine, like EGM. As I looked into it, I realized a few things. First, such positions are in incredibly high demand. Legions of gamers would kill for the chance to write about gaming for a living. Secondly, gaming print magazines had just started their decline, and the profitability of online publications were still in question. So, at this point, I decided that perhaps I should broaden my range to simply “journalism”.
While I still enjoyed other forms of writing, journalism seemed to be the most straightforward path to writing for money. I became a member of my high school newspaper, and, for the first year, loved it. The highlight was, when my editor-in-chief for that year was looking for new material for the features section, she picked up my idea for doing video game reviews. People loved it. We saw higher readership and production quality that year than ever before.
I had turned down an editor’s position, citing that I was at the time more worried about getting to write that getting to manage. After all, the previous year had gone fine, and I didn’t feel the need to make any changes. I then got a lesson in publication politics.
My second year in newspaper staff, my senior year of high school, saw my section cut from the features and myself delegated to whatever job needed a body. Then, my senior year, we had a change over of Editor-in-Chief. The new EOC wanted a “serious” publication, she having just come off of a summer internship at our local newspaper. I had always done some hard news work. I have no problem with hard news as a general topic, though even at our high school, Little Rock Central High, topics of hard news worth reporting were sparse. But, due to a combination of my turning down an editorial position and the nature of my feature column, I was deemed as “not taking things seriously” by most of the editorial staff. I had never been so unsure about what I wanted to do for a living as I was after completing that year.
It took me a few years to start college, personal issues necessitating that I deal with the more immediate concerns of job, home, food, and bills. I’m currently in my third semester of college, and still floundering about for what I’m going to do with myself. I want to write. It’s something I can do, and people get paid to do it. I have just got to make the connection between those two statements.
In my recent days I encountered a certain tie-dyed traveler who makes a living doing freelance writing. It was encouraging to meet someone who had accomplished what I wished to do. At her advisement, I’ve started a blog.
I really can’t say I know what the theme of this blog is going to be. It’s function not to so much to educate or entertain on a certain topic, but to give myself a place to write, and hopefully, improve. If I’m lucky, someone who could make use of my skills may someday stumble upon this and contact me. Who knows, some may even find entertainment from it.