You ask ten different people how they got into the video game industry and you’re likely to get ten different stories.
If you have what it takes to be a part of this growing entertainment sector, there’s an entire world out there and the options are abundant.
But the million-dollar question is how to become a freelance gaming writer?
Read on to learn some key tips on how to get started and how to build a successful career as a video game writer.
10 Tips on How to Become a Freelance Gaming Writer
1. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in scriptwriting or creative writing
While a college degree may not be a prerequisite for landing a job as a freelance gaming writer, having one may give you an edge over your competition.
Some companies set their requirement for filling up certain positions, and one of them can be a bachelor’s degree.
Also, companies may view college graduates to be more qualified writers than those without a degree. So, having a diploma with a major in creative writing or scriptwriting will help build a solid foundation for your career ahead.
2. Build a strong portfolio
Since game writing is one of the most sought-after roles in the gaming industry, having a solid portfolio will help impress prospective employers.
It shows that you have the writing skills and talent to create great content.
One great way of building a portfolio with no previous experience in the industry is to craft some engaging stories and have them published on recognized gaming sites or your blog.
Another way of showcasing your writing skills is to have your work featured in literary journals or online publications.
Remember, you need to learn to connect with your audience and create stories that are most likely to resonate with them.
3. Develop special skills and personality traits
Video game writing is a highly lucrative career, but if you hope to establish your credibility as a freelancer, you need to show certain competencies.
Besides writing proficiency, you need skills in communication, research, organization, and strong industry knowledge. You must have a working understanding of all disciplines involved in game development.
High enthusiasm for games and an understanding of what makes them work are essential. You also need to show a first-rate grasp of English, particularly in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
4. Gain hands-on experience
Companies commission freelance game writers to work on various stages of the game development process, as writing is an important aspect of game design and documentation.
Video game writing is quite like writing a novel or a book, except for some distinct differences. Game writers help frame the game’s story, setting, structure, character development, setups, and everything in between.
As writers and storytellers, you learn from all kinds of story mediums and genres, and video game writing is no exception.
5. Scour the internet for video game writing jobs
Once you’re ready to take the plunge, go on and apply for freelance game writing jobs on free writing job boards.
The video game industry continues to evolve, and so does video game writing. So, if you’ve got a penchant for video games, it’s time to put your game writing skills to the test.
You can start with job boards such as ProBlogger, Freelance Writing Gigs, Freelance Writing, and so on. You can also explore other options on platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc.
There are as many opportunities for freelance game writers as there are for full-time game writers.
6. Understand the importance of networking
Freelancing can be challenging since you might be working with new people and a new team on every project.
A successful video game results from a collaboration between groups of people working together towards a common goal.
The best way to network is to connect with people you already know. Then step it up a notch by connecting with people who are associated with the video game industry.
You can also connect with people in the biz through LinkedIn and other social networks such as Twitter.
Remember, networking is an important aspect of your job search strategy. It can give you a significant advantage in landing your first job in the industry.
7. Learn the ability to collaborate
Game development is a team effort. No person has single-handedly launched a successful video game yet. There is always a team behind every popular title in the gaming industry.
It’s important to remember that you must be good at collaborating with everyone. Every successful product in gaming results from team cooperation. Every person involved in the production must learn to work harmoniously throughout the whole process.
It takes many people to deliver the narrative content in the final product. As a game writer, you have to work well with the lead designer, the director, as well as other members of the team, to gain a comprehensive overview of the project.
8. Understand the legal and tax basics
Working independently can be both financially and emotionally satisfying. You enjoy a great sense of freedom you rarely experience in your professional career.
But being self-employed has its own set of challenges. When you freelance for a client or a company, you are typically classified as a contract worker, not a full-time employee. So, as an independent contractor, you file and pay your own taxes on income earned.
Being self-employed can, in some respects, get downright ugly with taxes. So, you need to have a solid understanding of all the legal aspects of owning an independent business.
Your filing of taxes is a lot different from when you were employed by a company full time.
9. Market yourself to attract potential clients
How people perceive you is vital to a successful career. Even if you build a strong portfolio and publish your work here and there, work won’t just roll in.
You must constantly market yourself to build a solid online presence and remain relevant in the industry to keep getting new writing gigs.
Marketing is very important in building a strong career in freelance game writing. Optimize your LinkedIn profile and keep your portfolio up to date as you publish new pieces to attract potential clients.
10. Seek advancement prospects
As a freelance game writer, the only real advancement open to you is being contracted by a recognized game development company or publisher on a full-time or long-term basis.
Besides story structure and character development, you may be tasked with producing other kinds of writing for a project. So, as a freelance game writer, you must be well-prepared to handle the expanded workload.
Because no two positions are the same, you must be ready for all the situations and roles that come your way.
How much do freelance game writers make?
According to Salary.com, the average game writer in the United States makes $35 per hour as of March 2022, but the range typically falls somewhere between $31 and $39.
The pay may vary depending on your experience, skills, education, and the number of hours worked.
While the field is very competitive, the pay is worth the effort. It could be a rewarding career if you put your mind to it.
Writing comes in all forms in the video game industry and it’s quite an intriguing career to consider. It is certainly an exciting modern entertainment industry that is attracting creative minds from all over the world.
The paradox at the core of getting hired as a freelance writer in the gaming industry is that it’s a specialized entertainment sector.
And to be considered for an entry-level position, you should have significant hands-on experience. You can overcome this paradox with a combination of knowledge and skills.