When I first started this blog, I had a lot of ideas for posts bouncing around my head. I never had problems with not having material to write about. While I was writing one post, other ideas would pop up and I had to jot them down in a sticky note just to keep track. The only problem I really had was time. I’m a college student, at the top percentage my class, and I had job at the university. I dedicated the little free time I had to writing. Sometimes I would sleep at three o’clock in the morning after messing around with my blog and wake up at seven to run towards my first class. Even when I was groggy, I would still scribble my ideas in an outline or in a few sentences during a boring part of an auditorium lecture.
Normally, other people would call that a hellish work schedule. It was different for me. I loved every minute of it even when I barely slept at all. Passion was a healthy drug that made me invulnerable to quitting and mediocrity. It kept me going, and I was always at my best. In addition, I answered to no one but myself and worked at my own pace. I only wrote when I was inspired to because what was the point in writing at all if it had no heart?
A couple of months later, Paul Tassi from Forbes Magazine and Unreality Magazine recruited me to write for the latter as a weekly contributor. It was only once a week, but there were times when I literally had no inspiration or ideas to write about. I admit that I definitely have some articles that were lazily written and had no soul at all in them. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we need to make our quota and we settle for mediocrity just to meet it.
I know what you’re thinking: “It’s just an article, stop being such a wanker.” You’re wrong. Writing thought provoking editorials takes a lot out of a writer’s mind and heart. It’s intelligent art. You need to churn your brain to form logical arguments that’ll educate your readers. You need your heart to craft compelling ideas that will effectively convince them to believe or sympathize with your stance. The minute you think that ‘it’s just another article,’ you’ve already lost the battle to mediocrity.
Even paid professionals have lost this battle. There’s this writer from a popular website Kotaku who consistently writes about topics that can be immediately categorized as waste of space and money. It’s not a matter of taste or opinion, it’s simply a case of common sense. I won’t mention her name here because I want to avoid people perceiving this as a personal attack. Anyway, this isn’t just an isolated opinion. If you read Kotaku, then you will know who I am talking about. I typed her name on Google and I was shocked at how many readers felt the same way.
It made me feel bad because she was paid to do this, and I know a lot of talented people out there who write for free. I consider them talented because they actually write about topics in a unique and relevant perspective.It’s an insult to people who are actually writing great content, but can’t find a job in this terribly harsh economy (especially to writers). You have a job. It’s not just you. You’re not doing the economy any favors by wasting that salary of yours. I get it though. Some of us are tired and have other responsibilities as well. Well, then maybe you should give the job to someone who can handle it?
This goes out to everyone else as well regardless if you are paid or not. Do your best in everything that you do. It benefits yourself, your peers, and the world around you.
Paul doesn’t pay me to be a regular contributor, but he gave me the chance to do a lot of things. He gave me the opportunity to promote my personal brand, expand my network, and bulk up my portfolio. It is an investment that money can never buy. Once I fully realized this, I did my best not to half-ass anything I did again. When there was no inspiration, I made an effort to find it. Passion is just a part of the formula to success. Add in hard work and perseverance, you’ll be the next Steve Jobs kid.
For a while, I almost dipped my foot in video game journalism wherein I had to type the news as it is instead of giving my two cents on it. When I gave it a go, my eyes were opened to how many video game news websites whether big or small were out there. They were all fighting for the same news. I would see a piece of information be republished or rewritten for so many times. Time and Forbes publishes editorials, but their main focus is still news. I would also see reviews scattered all over the internet. They may be written differently, but the main idea is largely identical to everything else out there.
I have nothing against news reporters or people wanting to make their own news websites but I’m just honestly tired of it. IGN and GameSpot probably have the leg up because they have access to insiders or pundits. I read those websites regularly and they are good at what they do. However, I think people should stop trying to be like them and create a brand new experience instead. I’m not saying you shouldn’t write about the news or reviews for fun. Go ahead. If you want to make your own news hub to make money though, I wouldn’t advise it. The lake is small as it is. Cast your hook in another area where people rarely look. Give me a fresh perspective that’ll make me view the same piece of information in a different light.
Seeing the lack of passion and originality online moved me to create Gamemoir with my friend Stephen Daly. It was a void that I wanted to fill in the realm of the video game industry. We are not yet at the point where we could pay our writers on the get-go. At first, we thought that would hinder us from getting any talent. However, we were wrong because we were able to quickly fill our staff with talented writers from around the world. We were able to find people who were motivated primarily by passion instead of money.They aren’t pressured to meet an insane quota or worry about the word count being enough for it to warrant pay. With what we are trying to achieve, that’s really an important factor. We also give readers the opportunity to send their own editorial submissions as well. Stephen and I are also very selective when it comes to the articles that we publish. Good ideas aren’t enough. They have to be original and provides new insight to our readers instead of serving a repackaged dish. The taste might be good, but it won’t leave a distinct flavor in their mouth. We want to publish content that you can’t get anywhere else.
In the end, our selectivity and idealism might hurt us in the long run. However, I think we’ll be more than fine as long as we don’t forget why Gamemoir exists in the first place.