Over half a year ago, I left my full-time software development career of ten years to take care of my son and pursue indie game development. Since the closing of NightfallUnlimited.com, I hadn’t given much thought to what would be next in terms of my writing, podcasting, blogging, etc. Then a funny thing happened.
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Being in the right place at the right time (on Twitter) recently caused me to stumble upon a call for paid freelance contributors on a relaunching gaming site. I reached out and they liked my work! By the end of the following week I was not only working on my first paid feature for them, I also got fully reorganized to do some serious professional writing in parallel with my game development. Suddenly the gaps in my personal business plan were gone.
It’s a fascinating time for game industry writers. While getting my work together I found an awesome online portfolio solution at Contently.com that allows a writer to quickly enter personal information, contact info, and links to their work around the web. Contently does the rest and provides you with a great page full of samples and a link to pass around to new editors.
Working out of Dropbox allows me to work from any of the computers in the house, or from my phone/tablet. OneNote helps me organize a piece and Word on any of those devices helps me get it done. I can find interviewees in a heartbeat and discuss anything with them over Skype, chat, email, or at the message board of their choice. When pitching or submitting work I can share Dropbox links instead of attachments which probably keeps a lot of my correspondence out of the spam folder.
Considering my traditional education time was focused primarily on technical skills, a bit less on communications, and none at all on proper journalism, Nathan Meunier has done more for me than he’ll ever know by writing the book Up Up Down Down Left Write: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism. This book happens to be free to read if you are an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber. I let out a sigh of relief when I discovered this book existed and it did not disappoint.
Finally, between everything I’ve done with Nightfall on WordPress and Social Media, I was able to completely redirect my own web presence in a single night. What was once a casual development blog is now a complete site featuring writing discussion, game industry commentary, game development talk, and all the info I need to make myself available for new work.
Speaking of work, wow it’s been fascinating. For my first feature alone I’ve spoken to an entrepreneur/game jam coordinator, an award-winning NES homebrewer, the leader of the GoldenEye X project, and a community reporter for the independent Dreamcast scene. No two of them have been from the same country. There’s something special about partnering with that many truly interesting people to construct a narrative and show something to the rest of the world. Stick with me here, but it’s a lot like the joy of game development. It’s all about capturing something awesome and setting it loose in the wild to see what happens. I’m hooked!
As for game development, if anything, I think this is going to keep me more committed to it. I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure my office is set up for both crafts. As things keep moving I’ll be posting here on the site and passing links around the web. Keep an eye out!
Todd Mitchell is a US Midwest-based comedy writer and game developer with bylines at Weekly Humorist, Fanbyte, Slackjaw, End of the Bench Sports, and more. He’s the author of Inside Video Game Creation, the founder of CodeWritePlay, and host of several podcasts including GameDev Breakdown and Fully Remote with Todd Mitchell. Follow him on Twitter @Mechatodzilla.