My previous “life” as a writer/freelance journalist/blogger – Part I

This blog is probably the most accurate representation of who I am as a person. It’s not the “whole” picture obviously because there are some things I just don’t like blogging about or feel I should blog about. Everyone has to (or should) keep something just for themselves, right? If I want to get things off my chest, this is where I do it, but I do that when I feel like writing, not whenever something happens in my daily life (as some do). Not that I have an issue with anyone doing that of course, if you’re writing from the heart, that’s all that matters, irrespective of what you write/blog about. That’s the rule I try to adhere to, anyway.

The reason why I don’t or haven’t yet blogged about my past writing experiences is that I have never really felt the need (or desire) to. I have spent some time reading other writer’s blogs recently to get some perspective on what I could blog about, and I stopped by a blog I hadn’t read in a wee while and was so glad that I did. It’s primarily the basis for this post and possibly, those to come.

I call it my “previous” life because I no longer write on a professional level. The why’s of that aren’t all that important (well, not to me) suffice to say that I have worn many “hats” over the years and that was just one of them. I thought I could add value to someone else’s journey by blogging about what I used to do and how I did it and that’s pretty much it.

If we go wayyyy back to the very beginning, I’ve been a writer in some shape or form most of my life but I decided to take the “leap” into the profession by first learning how writing can be used in the media and to distinguish between what I wanted to do with the writing skills I had. There are many different areas that writers can base themselves in, and I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing for myself. So I decided to consolidate two things I loved to do; write and play video games. As an aside note, most writers take YEARS to write and develop their niche, I was fortunate that I already knew what I wanted to do with my writing. I had already started writing video game reviews at this point on a casual basis thanks to a friend of mine who got me involved with a rather prominent gaming-related website in my country. And things just literally went (well, more like plodded along slowly throughout a couple of years) from there. I studied for two years, got a piece of paper that said I was “qualified” to write like a professional and started focusing a lot more seriously on my “career” as a writer/freelance journalist. I was working in IT at the time (my background is in IT) and have continued to do this off and on throughout my working life (and eventually, used my experience in IT to land freelance journalism contracts later on).

Now, this is the part where I say, THIS IS WHAT I DID, not what I think YOU should do. The reason why I say this is because I basically got to the point in my life where I decided that I no longer wanted to continue down the career path I was on (in IT) and stopped working, Just like that. I walked away from a fairly lucrative career in management to become a fully fledged “writer”. And it is essential that I mention here that to be able to do this I had the support of a very caring and loving partner who was willing to support me until I was able to start writing for actual money. And getting to that point took time. I was already writing for a lot of different websites online for free. I did this to gain experience that I knew I would need to land a “real” paying job as a writer. It is probably the single most important thing I ever did with regards to my writing career (next to getting a qualification). It gave me a nice collection of bylines (vital if you want to prove you can write) that I used to full advantage to get the job I dreamed of getting.

Remember that gaming website I first started writing for? Well, at this stage I had been writing for them for a few years and had become one of the “senior” writers on their writing team. This meant that I could push things a little further to advance my career which I think I pulled off relatively well (despite my hidden, overwhelming lack of self-confidence). As I write this and read the words back to myself, it kinda reads like I knew what I was doing from day one, but honestly, I just didn’t – not at all. For the most part, I happened to be in the right places at the right time, AND I had the help and support of other people to get to where I wanted to go. You can NEVER expect to follow a dream without a lot of hard work and support from others. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I couldn’t have become the writer I became without help. That is my story. It may be different for you, but in between all of the good things that happened, I have left out a lot of the not-so-great stuff that happened. Set-back upon set-back was endured. Tears were shed (many tears in fact) and hardship became a daily task to overcome.

I’ll leave things there for now, and I’ll continue this part of my life story in another post. If you’re still with me, thank you dear, reader. You are more important than you could know.

NB – some of the timelines in this post may be a little blurred. I’ve had to go over events in a career that roughly started in or around 2005, using past memoirs for reference.