Writing

Writing for Us Is the Most Awesome Thing In the World

Earlier this week my beloved boss Margaret Downing put out a call to you plucky young art commentators to come and do some freelance work here at the Houston Press. Like all her work, it was concise, well-written and informative. Just what you'd expect from a seasoned newspaper editor and writer.

Now let's hear from the psychotic lunatic division! That's me, by the way.

Folks, listen to me when I tell you that this is an opportunity to change your freakin' life for the infinitely better. Writing is literally the best thing in the world you can do. Stuck in a rut? It's time to unstuck yourself so hard that you catapult up into the sky and land on the old lady's roof next door... the roof of awesomeness!

First off, you may think you've got no talent and no place to start. That may be true. I was a horrible writer when I was ten years old, and only marginally better than when I started freelancing here in 2008. You can click on my byline up there and it will take you back through my archives. Don't, though; it's crap back in 2008. The point is you've got to start somewhere.

It takes 10,000 hours to get really good at something. I got paid to practice that right here because there are shows that need reviews, artists that need to be interviewed, and video game portrayals of Hitler that must be ranked against each other. The world cries out for those things, and they are what the makes the readers go clickety click.

See also: High-Brow, Low-Brow, More Arts Writers Needed for Art Attack

That's all you have to do to get started. You have to find something that you're interested enough to talk about for 700 words or so then do just that. It can be anything. I mean anything. I've written pieces about actresses on children's television I thought were hot, guys who built LEGO versions of the city from BioShock, and disturbing sex scenes from Stephen King novels. Whatever weird or wonderful thing I ran across while perusing Facebook or other sites that I thought I could talk about with some authority and eloquence.

Isn't there something out there you could ruminate on? The most racist old TV shows or the stupidest parts of the Miss America Pageant? Or maybe you know a local painter that could use some exposure because it's kind of hard to find people willing to include an oil painting of Rudolph taking a dump in a gallery show. I don't know, it's your life. Isn't there something going on in and around it that you can put in the blank space of your word processor?

You know what I wish sometimes? I wish that I could talk to 12-year-old me. I wish I could tell him that one day he'd get free video games in the mail every week. Enjoying Final Fantasy VI younger me? Just wait, in two decades Final Fantasy XIV will show up right at your door with a free three-month pass. All because one day I said to myself, "I wonder if Square Enix will answer an email from me." Now I just enjoy watching people's faces when I tell them I get games early and for free, all at the cost of telling the world what I thought about them... which I would have done anyway. That's what this job entails.

Piece continues on next page,

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner