When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know what kind of writer, but I knew that I wanted to see words from my head in front of eyes that weren’t mine. I constantly read, scouring pages for new words that I could regurgitate to my future audiences.
When I learned that books were actually typed and not written, I learned to type. After I learned to type, I practiced and practiced and practiced until I was proficient enough that in seventh grade, I finished the entire curriculum for my typing course within the class’ first two weeks – my teacher let me play computer games the rest of the semester.
Then, something happened.
I finished eighth grade at Lake Asbury Junior High and began attending Clay High School. It was there that I was thrown completely off course, off the path I had carved for myself as far back as I can remember.
Writers don’t make money, I was told. The chances of you making it, no matter how good, are so low that it’s not even worth it, I was told. You can’t support a family writing, I was told.
Freshmen Wesley took these words to heart. They struck fear into my bones, causing a complete tonal shift in my studies and future plans. All of a sudden, I was destined to be a neurosurgeon, or so I thought. With an average salary of $400,000 in the U.S., I couldn’t have picked a better job, or so I thought. You see, it’s these thoughts that got in the way of what my future was always going to be.
When it was time for college, I realized that maybe I was aiming a bit high with neurosurgeon as a career choice. I had zero interest in the medical field and honestly, zero interest in having that much of a role in saving, or sadly not saving, someone’s life. So, I majored in Mechanical Engineering. It didn’t feel right to major in this but I’m pretty smart in the science and math fields, plus it would be way easier than neurosurgery and still yield into my life a lot of money.
Then, something happened, again.
I began making a pretty decent amount of money at my-then job, Spring Park Coffee. I was making more tips and getting raises in wage. I slowly realized, though, that the increases in money weren’t making me happy. Sure, buying more things was nice but it wasn’t yielding to me any true happiness. This led to an existential evaluation into my life, through a new set of lenses – lenses that showed me how pointless it is to pursue money if it means settling for something that was void of passion.
Then, the best thing I’ve ever done happened.
I dropped my mechanical engineering studies, only two years away from a degree, to pursue my lifelong passion – writing. I was years and years older than the Wesley who gifted short stories to his family on Christmas and I had discovered that the world of writing had many, many paths I could embark on. One stood out, shinier, taller and far more exciting than the rest – journalism.
The writers I idolized were journalists. Greg Miller, Jason Schreier, Patrick Keplek, to name a few. They are video game journalists, as in their writing focused on video games and the multi-billion-dollar industry surrounding it. As I dug deep into their histories, I discovered something they all had in common: they all started at their local newspaper. On podcasts, in essays, in features, they all discussed their beginnings and how the time spent at a newspaper was some of the most valuable time spent in journalism.
I don’t know exactly where I plan to land one day – I too am leaning towards video game journalism (and by leaning, I mean barreling headfirst towards it), and now that I’m working as a full-time reporter for Clay Today, I feel that I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do.
Having interned for Clay Today previously this year, I was already in love with this workplace and the journalism this paper pursues, so when Eric texted me one day asking me to come in for an interview, I jumped at the opportunity. Shortly after the pleasant interview, I was offered the job. Nervous at first, because taking the job meant leaving behind Spring Park Coffee, my workplace of five and a half years, I took Eric up on his offer. Now, days into the position, I couldn’t be happier.
Money isn’t an issue. My passion isn’t being compromised. My fingers are typing words that others will read. This job marks the beginning of a future I’ve always kept in my back pocket, and despite forgetting about it for quite a few years, I’m ecstatic to let it flourish, courtesy of Clay Today.
Readers of Clay Today, I’m excited about many things – bringing you accurate, fair, unbiased news, fearing nobody in my pursuit of the next journalistic truth, and keeping you informed of the place we call home. But nothing has me more excited than knowing that I get to tell your story and that you get to help me do it.