Once upon a time, three years ago, a nervous young writer named M was just starting out on her freelance career, looking for odd jobs to earn a few bucks and build her portfolio. She didn’t really know what to do. She wasn’t a medical writer, didn’t have a background in marketing, and wasn’t really into traditional journalism. The one thing she knew was how to be a geek, and an otaku at that… her time in anime clubs had given way to actual work in the anime and manga industries, when she wasn’t geeking out over video games. But who was going to pay her to be a geek?
Then one day, she found an ad in Craigslist looking for geeky writers. It sounded like a dream job, but she didn’t want to get her hopes up… there’d been other advertisements before, and they’d always turned her down. Besides, what on earth did she have to say about being a geek anyway?
“Hey,” the editor E said after M applied, “we could actually use someone with a background in anime for Geek’s Dream Girl. You interested?”
Three years later, and nobody can shut M up.
The closing of Geek’s Dream Girl is very bittersweet for me. A part of me feels like there’s still so much I hadn’t gotten to yet… articles not written, experiments not done, dating profiles not created (dangit, I’m going to be Forever Alone at this rate!) but I have far, far more happy memories than regrets. I’ve had so many great experiences working for the site, from trying my hand at different article styles to taking part in conventions like Anime Revolution and PAX. I wouldn’t trade my time with this site for anything, and while I will miss writing for them (and you guys!) I know that I’ve grown stronger as a writer and a geek thanks to this job.
I’ve learned a lot through writing a regular column on geek topics. Sometimes it’s not all fun and (video) games; sometimes you’re struggling desperately to come up with a topic on Saturday for an article due on Monday, and other times you’re midway through an article when the first creeping feelings of doubt set in (maybe this isn’t that interesting! Maybe no one will care!) Other times, I woke up barely able to believe that I was not only getting to share my thoughts on anime, manga, and geek culture with the world, but I was getting paid for it too. Working for GDG taught me discipline, or at least made me aware that this is A Thing I should probably get better at, and helped me understand that though I should always write to the best of my ability, the time comes when you need to stop worrying over an article or an idea and just take a chance. Hopefully, some of those chances I took were interesting and fun to you all, but even if not, I’m glad I took them.
But the best gift from this site was a rekindling of sorts… a resurgence in my interest in anime. Not that I ever lost it exactly, but life and other interests got in the way sometimes. Having a way to re-explore the culture of anime and manga, and spend more time watching and analyzing both new series and old favorites, was a great way to get back to my roots. For that, I’m really thankful to GDG and to all my loyal readers.
I wish E and the GDG writing team all the best in their future endeavors. All of you are so amazingly talented and awesome that any site would be pleased to have you aboard. With luck, perhaps we’ll find ourselves working together again in the future.
What’s next for M?
Good question! My future projects are more likely to be video game based as I’m hoping to find part-time, freelance, or even full-time work as a video game writer and narrative designer, but I’m likely going to still have loads of Precious Thoughts on anime from time to time. To that end, I am planning to set up my own personal site sometime in the next few months; I’ll be blogging about various geek topics, game design, and hopefully an occasional bit of creative writing or indie games. At least my time with GDG has gotten me in the habit of regular posting!
In the meantime, for those who’d like to follow me, my Twitter account is @michelle_clough. Any announcements about the new site, or upcoming talks/projects/presentations/etc, will be posted there for you all to enjoy. Who knows, I may on occasion make pithy 140-character observations about life, the universe, and everything. And if you ever want to contact me, feel free to drop me a line that way!
Until then, a very Happy New Year to you all, and best wishes for now and always. Ganbatte ne, mina san!