I have been trying to make it as a writer for many, many years. It isn't an easy thing to do, and trying to make it in genre fiction - which is what I had originally tried to do - is virtually impossible to do. In 2011 I began writing movie reviews for a science fiction website called Republibot, and I continued writing reviews and various other things, including original fiction, for them under the screen name SheldonCooper for several years. Eventually real life caught up with me, and I had to unofficially resign as their movie reviewer just because I didn't really have the time to be active anymore.
This past Christmas, having more free time on my hands and missing the feeling I got from writing on Republibot, I decided to start creating for Moviepilot, a website I had been following for a while. In the past just over six months, I have published over a hundred articles here, garnered a decent fan following, and broke the 1 million read barrier. I am very pleased with the work I have done here, and the general response it has gotten. But I still wanted more. I wanted a paying job, not just one that I do for fun.
A few nights ago, the same week I broke 1 million views, I decided to try and go for it. After a quick Google search, I found submission websites for both Fox News and The Blaze. I sent samples of my work from Moviepilot as well as whatever else each publisher requested and I was pleasantly surprised the next morning to find that The Blaze was interested. Not only were they interested, but they were interested in hiring me for their fledgling entertainment department, basically doing the same work for them that I do here, and which I love to do. Another day later I got the word, I was officially hired as an entertainment columnist at The Blaze. I just now turned my first article in to them, and I am a bit nervous - but hopeful - about how things are going to turn out.
The reason I am sharing this with you is to encourage each and every creator, and members of the audience who might be thinking about becoming creators. It takes determination, hard work, and the understanding that opportunity isn't just going to knock on your front door. You have to go out and find opportunities and make them your own, but you can do it. Make sure that the work you're publishing here is your absolute best, because this is accepted as legitimately published work, and it can be used to get you your shot.
Advice to Creators
Set a goal for yourself. When I saw how fast my fanbase was growing here, I decided that once I hit 1 million reads I was going to start looking for paid work. Your goal doesn't have to be 1 million, set the goal you're comfortable with, but set a goal and stick to it.
Don't procrastinate. Once you hit your goal, get out there and start submitting, looking for an agent, doing whatever it is you want your next step to be. Just get out there and do it. No one is going to know who you are unless you get out there and tell them.
Don't expect things to happen for you as fast as they happened for me. I am but one case, and I think I'm pretty damn lucky to have gotten my shot as quickly as I did. Honestly, I think I was just in the right place, with the right body of work, at the right time. The Blaze was looking to expand their entertainment coverage, and along comes this writer with a body of work that matches what they're looking for. And apparently they thought I was talented. I am very grateful things worked out as they did, but my experience might not be yours. And I have been rejected many, many times by agents and publishers throughout the years since I first decided I wanted to be a professional author. Do NOT let rejection deter you. Let the rejection drive you further and harder. Never give up, and one day you will get your shot.
Moviepilot might not pay contributors, but they offer you so much more than you might even realize. They offer you exposure, and the chance to have published work, and if you have the drive, the ambition and the determination, that could benefit you much more than a tiny royalty check ever could have. In case any of my fans or followers are worried, I am not leaving Moviepilot. At least not yet. The time may come when I am too busy to continue here, but as of now, I only have a weekly column at The Blaze, so I still have plenty of time to contribute content here, it just won't be at the rate I have been. I hope to see you all in the big leagues in the future. Never give up, never surrender!