Freelance Year One; In Retrospect

To The Tune Of: The Magnetic Fields – The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side

The end of 2011 was the lowest point of my life so far (and it was almost entirely my fault, sorry M), but set this year up perfectly for a single golden question; could I survive and thrive as a freelance writer?

The braggadocio-saturated answer was, thankfully, ‘yes, you cowardly arse; why didn’t you do this five years ago?’

So, the low point; the year began with me living with my family, single and having quit my job. It’s ended with me living with a lovely bunch of people, working when I want to, and, well, the love-life we’ll talk about down the pub, m’kay? And we will, because I have a tendency to overshare.

So, this year, I’ve written for a bunch of cool people; The Mail on Sunday, Which, IGN, Eurogamer, Gamespy, Gamesbrief, Pocketgamer, Play, Continue, Computer Shopper, PC Format and lots for both RockPaperShotgun and PC Gamer. A lot of those are competing publications that I must thank specifically for being nice and mature enough not to have a problem with me working for the others – particularly the last two, which comprise a lovely bunch of talent-hungry people.

I’ve also helped with a neat-o iOS game (Russian Dancing Men), I’ve edited two books for Nicholas Lovell (second out later this year), and I’ve done a load of consultancy for big name companies which served, more than anything else, to keep the wolf from my door. Again thanks to the people involved with that – Martin Korda, Mark Ward and Leo Tan specifically.

This year’s aims are:

  • to write two books (one fact, one fiction)
  • to see if I can get involved properly in making a game (PC preferably) from scratch
  • to educate myself more formally (already signed up for an OU degree, which is a good start)
  • to do something with http://www.thefreelancepolice.com
  • to save enough money to finally buy somewhere (not to live, but a country cottage to retreat to and rent out as a holiday cottage the rest of the time.)
  • I also aim to visit the two remaining major games shows I haven’t been to yet – GDC and Tokyo. GDC is booked.

I’m also going to put more personal blogging on here (as I did for years until that day I almost got fired from the Official Xbox Magazine for mouthing off about my boss). It won’t appear on the front page though, as there’s a lot of passing trade here these days, but on that separate ‘personal‘ link at the top. Finally, if you give half a damn, you can see the auto-generated WordPress highlights of my 2011 in blogging here; http://jetpack.me/annual-report/11588447/2011/

My best photoset of the year.

Also, my favourite photo-set of the year; the Common Garden Spider.

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Comments (



  1. Rob Sharp

    You are the greatest, Dan.


  2. Jen

    Pleased to see that things are going so well for you now. Much deserved!


  3. Toby

    Only 2 books? Get off your arse!


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