One Full Year (Give or Take a Few Months) of Freelance Writing and Counting

I was going to type up a long as post about my last year adventures in freelance writing but I thought I’d just do something quicker to hit the highlights. It’s been a year full of peaks and valleys but here I am, still in the game, still getting work, and somehow doing this thing for a living for now. I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to do it full-time later in the year but I’m grateful I get to wake up in the morning and do what I love. I’m hoping 2016 is bigger and better, or maybe just different. At any rate, here’s how 2015 went down.

January/February – My memory is a bit hazy around this time to be honest. I had my first feature go up on IGN back in December of 2014 but I continued to freelance news at IGN, while trying to see out more work at new outlets.

March – This is the biggie for the year. I saw someone from Red Bull eSports tweet they were looking for a writer who had knowledge in Street Fighter and the fighting game community. I emailed with full confidence, stating something to the effect of, ‘You won’t find anyone who knows more about Street Fighter than me.’ I’ve been a Street Fighter fanatic since my freshman year of high school when Street Fighter 2 came out in arcades back in 1991. I followed the tournament scene closely thanks to Evo and Capcom Cup 2014. In March, my first tournament recap feature went up on Red Bull eSports. To date, I believe I’ve done over 70 stories on Street Fighter at Red Bull eSports.

April – My son Bradley was born in April. With a 2-year-old, a newborn, and a full-time job, it became challenging to find the time to freelance. I did land my first preview gig at IGN.

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May – I graduated in May. What does this have to do with freelance writing? Well, I took that free time and used it to freelance more but I did accomplish a major goal in completing my Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies at Arizona State University. I flew down to Tempe and visited the main ASU campus for the first time ever and I participated in the graduation ceremonies.

June – Every year I go on vacation with my family to the Bay Area. This year, I got a chance to do that and hit the first IGN House Party back in June. It was worth it to see my IGN friends and staff who hadn’t met me since I started freelancing. A few different staffers told me they had heard I was doing great work. That surprised me. I’m all the way up near Seattle and it is really easy to feel disconnected from it all since I have little interaction with anyone on staff, but it was a great feeling, a great time, and I made even more great friends.

July – Here’s where I turned my life upside down. After seven years, I got fed up with my boss’ bullshit and I put in my notice. I was doing well enough freelancing and felt like I may have been missing opportunities to get more work so I decided to go full-time. It’s a scary thing to do but I didn’t feel like I had any other choice. I couldn’t work for someone who had zero respect for me one more second and I never had any success landing a job interview at anything I applied to. I put in my notice and the day after my last day at my full-time job, I was flying out to Las Vegas to attend and cover Evolution 2015, the biggest fighting game tournament in the world. I’ve always wanted to go to Evo and I had actually planned on going but Red Bull eSports flew me out to cover it. I got to see one of the best tournaments ever, meet players and personalities in the FGC, and worked my ass off to make great contacts and content. It was 100% worth it.

August – By now, I’m going pretty strong freelancing. PAX Prime rolls around at the end of the month, as it usually does. I tried to pull some work out of it but I didn’t have a media pass so not being able to make as many appointments made it tougher. Frankly, it’s become an event I don’t care to work as much as a freelancer because it’s a four-day period I get to see a lot of friends in the industry come up to Seattle. Anyway, I did do some work. One particular outlet made it challenging and I didn’t appreciate it. Other outlets, like Pixelkin, requested some work from me and I was happy to do it. Everyone pretty much knows me as the fighting game guy at this point.

September – Going to Evo was one check mark on the bucket list. Going to Japan was pretty much the rest of the list, until I make a new one. Because of the work I did at Evo, I got a chance to go to Tokyo for Tokyo Game Show 2015. I went to cover the Street Fighter tournament and actually got asked to do some Street Fighter V preview work for IGN while I was there. It was an amazing experience on a personal level. 10/10 I’d go again. Some of the work didn’t go as well as I’d hoped but that’s the life of a freelancer.

Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan

October/November – Okay, here’s where the valley comes in and it’s deep. Like Marianas Trench deep. Freelancing news at IGN and doing regular work at Red Bull eSports was the only thing keeping me afloat. I had lost confidence in myself and my ability to come up with new work. I couldn’t find inspiration anywhere to pitch features and I was getting shot down on previews pitches. I was getting desperate and worried I might not be able to survive as a freelancer with a girlfriend and two kids to support. I kept at my work until finally some ideas came.

December – Come the first week of December, I was feeling better about myself and freelancing. I had landed quite a few pitches at once but more importantly, I flew myself out to PlayStation Experience to cover Capcom Cup. I got to see friends in the Bay Area again but also made quite a few connections that could lead to some big things in 2016. Capcom Cup was also the best Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament ever. I’m glad I was there to see it and some of the players who I’ve become close with participate. I also turned 39. There are times when I feel like I’m an old man trying to do a young person’s job but I’m still hanging around.

The year isn’t quite over but I’m still cranking away and trying to plan for 2016. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish to maintain freelancing writing as a career. I’m hoping to do more work at more places in 2016. I’m grateful every day I wake up to be doing this for a living.

Thanks to everyone who has shown me support. This post was a hell of a lot longer than I expected even after I decided to write it this way. For that, I apologize.

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