November's Rising Star is TechRadar's gaming writer Vic Hood, who tells us about the challenges of freelancing full time and gives advice on how to get into games journalism

Every month, MCV highlights a rising star from the industry. This month, we talk to TechRadar's gaming writer Vic Hood.

How did you break into games?

My degree is actually in traditional journalism and while studying I was writing games pieces on the side for a free site. When it came to my final year, I decided I would take the leap and try to break into games journalism – marrying my love of journalism with my passion for games. I was fortunate enough to land the Eurogamer internship straight after finishing university and then was kept on for a further two months when the internship ended. Luckily I made a good enough impression during that time to cement my place in the industry.

What is your proudest career achievement so far?

Winning the Emerging Talent award at the Games Media Brit List. It still feels very surreal, but I think that was the moment I felt like I made it and it still makes me really emotional to think about.

What’s been your biggest challenge to date?

Freelancing full-time. It’s something which journalists either love or hate and I found myself the latter. It requires an incredible amount of self-motivation and an awareness of your limits. Personally, I found myself taking on too much work originally out of fear I would never get it again and that I would somehow lose the momentum I gathered at Eurogamer, but eventually I realised it was having a negative impact on my mental health and that I was better suited to being a staff writer.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I constantly have to remind myself that my ten year old self would be so proud of me because this was my dream job – and it still is. That’s a really good way to stay grounded. I love that the games industry is constantly changing and no two days are exactly the same. One day I could be in the office writing news and another I might be playing an upcoming game in a tiny studio in Paris. It’s the most wonderfully bizarre industry.

What’s your big ambition in games?

I made a list of the things I want to achieve in my career and at the top of that is just to be a well-respected and authoritative voice in the games industry – someone people admire. Apart from that, I would love to be an editor of a well-respected gaming publication someday, maybe write a book and write an investigative piece that makes a real difference to the industry.

What advice would you give to someone trying to get into games journalism?

There’s so many things. One would be to know how competitive games journalism in the UK is – you need to be at the top of your game and things aren’t always going to run smoothly (especially as a freelancer). Staff writing jobs are few and far between, so you may have to freelance for a while – which I’ve mentioned isn’t easy. It’s important to find your niche and your strength. In a sea full of opinions and voices, you need to make sure yours stands out. Finally (though I could go on forever), work on your writing. I know that sounds like common sense but having a passion and knowledge for games does not necessarily make you a good writer so practice, practice, practice, whenever and wherever you can.

If there’s a rising star at your company, please contact Marie at marie.dealessandri@futurenet.com 

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