Hello! Welcome to the first edition of the Freelance Games Journo Tips newsletter. Is that… how you start a newsletter? Ah, no matter! Let’s get into the meat of this inaugural issue!
(Psst, if you like what you see, make sure to SUBSCRIBE!)
Freelancing is difficult. You need to know where to go and who to talk to in order to succeed. Games and entertainment journalism is a bit unique—other than some internship opportunities (like the ones Fanbyte and Rock, Paper, Shotgun offer), you’re going to start as a freelancer, and then work towards a staff position. Many other beats have you starting in a newsroom, then eventually moving to freelance when you’ve established yourself. Games journalists need to start with freelancing because the competition is fierce and the staff positions are scarce. While you can get a staff position without any freelancing experience, it’s a really hard sell in an already competitive field.
So… well, it’s a bit overwhelming! Where do you even start, really? You need to have people that back you up. This brings me to the tip of the week…
Tip of the Week: Network and Talk to Other Freelancers
When you’re all applying to the same jobs and pitching to the same editors, it can be very easy to see other freelancers as the competition. In a way, they are, but freelancing is not a dog-eat-dog world. In fact, freelancers will always be your greatest source of information, resources, and what to watch out for in the industry. Freelancers are your comrades, not your competitors.
That’s all well and good, but how exactly do you do that? Start by joining public freelancing and gig worker groups for video games! There are some groups, like the Freelance Game Journo Network Facebook group, that are specifically focused on supporting freelance games journalists. However, that group is more of a resource and less of a community—you’ll want to have people you consider friends and colleagues as well. Colleagues understand the ups and the downs of freelancing, after all.
But follow freelancers on Twitter, and you’ll find communities and groups to confide in. Places like Writer’s Bloc aim to be a home and resource for all freelance media journalists… and most media journalists face similar struggles so it’s a great place to find colleagues. Games Industry Gathering, on the other hand, is a networking group for everyone in the video game industry, journalists included.
There are also communities that aim to uplift marginalized voices in gaming, both for journalists and other gaming careers. These are places like Create Hers, POC in Play, and Latinx in Gaming, and they’re there to help you feel supported in an industry that can often be hostile to the cis white male norm.
The point is, find fellow freelancers on Twitter, and engage in their work. Read it! Share it! Comment on it! Make friends and network, but actually be friends with your fellow freelancers, don’t use them for opportunities or just to add to that LinkedIn connections count. It can really make a difference when you’re freelancing.
Resource of the Week: Workona
Workona is a neat little resource that my friend and super-cool Gizmodo writer Alyse Stanley originally showed me. Workona lets you have different browser landing pages of sorts, which helps a lot with productivity. You can set one of these Workspaces up for general freelancing, another up for a personal project, and even more depending on what you need.
On top of that, instead of having 50 tabs open or folder upon folders of bookmarks, you can use their separate landing pages to group together the links and information you need. It’s really quite helpful!
Finally, you can share these Workona Workspaces with colleagues. If you’re all working on a project together, you all can share the same workplace and put your documents/Todolists/whatever else all in one place.
You can check out more about Workona right here! You can also download a Tab Manager extension to help really get those tabs under control.
This is Sissel.
He’s my cat, and you’ll get a pic of him every week. Why? Because he’s cute and who doesn’t like a nice cat picture on a Wednesday to uplift your spirits?
Sissel is very proud of catching his mouse, just as you should be proud of your work!