I'm a lucky guy.
I have a job that's definitely a dream job for many people: I write stories for games. I wrote and game designed for Magic: the Gathering, where I helped create fantasy worlds, designed characters and power sets, and wrote the stories of what happened to the main cast of heroes. Now I'm about to begin as a narrative designer for ArenaNet, where I'll help create the stories for Guild Wars 2, a video game played by millions around the world.
Folks have asked how I got this job - or, more often, how they could get this job. I've always given the best answer I could depending on context, but it's hard to squeeze a thousand different thoughts, warnings, encouragements, and feelings into a pithy response.
Whenever anyone asks me things in this vein, there's a litany of experiences and learnings I want to share. After stumbling through answers of varying degrees of coherency, a recurring pattern of certain topics and thoughts began to emerge. I'll be exploring each of these further in future posts, but for now, I hope the list itself inspires and intrigues.
I am by no means an expert. But I'm happy to share for any who's curious the pitfalls and successes I've found so far along the way.
1) Defining a "career"
2) Wanting it is not enough.
3) Tactics vs Goals.
4) Balance the three needs.
5) Skill up.
6) Be so good they can't ignore you.
7) The gap.
8) Getting lucky.
9) Don't network.
10) Allow for evolution.