What are the most important skills that a games journalist can have? How should you approach a career in writing?

There are six easy steps:
1) Read a lot.
2) Write a lot.
3) Read more.
4) Write more.
5) Rinse.
6) Repeat.
Heh. :D
It's stupid to say it, but seriously - you have to write AND read. A lot. Read things that interest you, but also read the things that don't. Keep mental notes of what does, and doesn't, appeal to you as a reader. Find your own voice, and don't mimic others. If you play something that you hate, why? It's as important to be able to talk passionately about what you don't like as much as you do.
Be fair. Be professional. LISTEN TO YOUR EDITOR. Take critique on the chin and know that there are some amazing editors out there, but also some really shitty ones, too. Learn from them all, though. Read your work aloud - does it still flow? Does it make sense? Learn to use sentence structure and a love of language to paint a story with words. Avoid cliches, but respect them. They're cliches for a reason.
As for approaching a career? Man. I don't have a traditional career (I write part-time, as eighteen months living hand-to-mouth as a FT freelancer was more than I could bear - I have a kid to support, world) but use the skills and links of enthusiast sites to learn from others and showcase your work. Be polite and respectful, never demand anything, but believe in yourself.
If you can, study journalism formally. I didn't (I've never taken a writing class in my entire life), so it's not always a prerequisite, but it's easier if you do.
Finally: don't give your work away to outlets who should be paying for it under the guise of "exposure". If it's a profit-making publication and they want your words for free, walk away - you're undervaluing yourself, and the rest of us, if you think it's worth it to get a foot in the door.

View more