Last time I was debating on talking about my personal love life circumstances. After careful consideration, I’ve decided there are certain topics I want to avoid putting in the public spotlight. Not that my love life is particularly special or being threatened by indulging the reader in its intricacies. Its just that as I Write more, my writing itself needs to have a focus. My writing needs to have an end-goal in mind. It’s not enough to just write for the sake of writing, though that is a wonderful beginning. Eventually I need to evolve beyond the activity of mere thought-stream regurgitation.
Yesterday I became ecstatic for the first time in a while. A creative staffing agency contacted me and expressed interest on boarding me in their system to submit my profile to clients. I applied for this place some 3–4 months ago and had forgotten about it. Suffice to say the lady on the phone said, “Travis, I looked over some of your work and am really impressed with the diversity of your skills.” Wow! What a compliment. This made me so happy for two reasons: 1) People are actually looking at my work. 2) People think my skills are valuable enough to want to hire me.
One sage advice: Never give up. It may seem like the world doesn’t care and that all the effort you put into your work isn’t going anywhere. But I promise, if you stick it out long enough, you will see the results. Good results. Results beyond your expectations. Remember two important words though: hard work and perseverance. Got it? Good. :)
I mentioned earlier that writing needs a focus, or a goal in mind. The reason for this is that when we write, we write to be read. A reader wants to gain value out of your writing. The problem is that different readers want different things. You want to build a following of the same readers for your writing so you need to choose a topic and stick to it. That way, the same readers will keep reading your work because they know you write for them! Not the other way around. I hate to break it to you, but the world is a selfish place. People that practice generosity and giving are leagues above the rest.
There’s a middle ground. You need to stick with a topic so you can maintain a stable audience, but you need to pick a topic you are passionate about. You have to look forward to writing about that topic everyday with almost zealous devotion. Here’s good news: that one topic can be cross-tied with other similar topics. Let me tell you what I like to write about.
I like to write about video games. In video games I like to explore social issues, psychology, and sports. For example, I might write a story about how women are being underrepresented in esports. Or I might discuss the benefits of console games for young children in developing motor skills. You can see that storytelling is not simply one-dimensional. Here’s a question I’ve been wrestling with. Should you do the topic you are writing about?
I believe the simple answer is yes.
Now unfortunately I am one of those autistic over-thinkers who mull over what-if’s for too many minutes. Say I want to write a review on “Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom” but I don’t have 60+ hours to devote to a single game in a week’s time. Now I’m in a conundrum where there is fresh content on the market where millions of potential buyers are deciding whether to purchase this game. They are looking to people like me, a writer (reviewer) to give them the thumbs-up/down. This is what I think, tell me if you agree.
If you are going to write about a topic, you better as hell be ready to commit the time to live, breathe and eat the topic like it was your own newborn child. In other words, no amount of outside responsibilities or restrictions should be a barrier to pursuing your dream. In my case, that’s writing about video games (in turn playing them!)
The end result comes down to sacrifice. I must sacrifice 60+ hours of my time in sleep, socializing, eating, etc.
Remember what I mentioned earlier about sage advice. Never. Give. Up. I mean it. All the hard work and sacrifice you pay to write the game review is going to save millions others in buying a good/bad game. People will read your work, though it might not be noticeable on the surface.
If you like video games as much as I do, join me on twitch.tv
If you are an aspiring video game journalist, subscribe to my YouTube
If you want your story shared with others, DM me on Twitter
Writing a Focus and Never Giving Up was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.