Set Goals. Want to write a book? Say it, then start doing it. Be a finisher. There are millions of authors out there, but millions more that say they’re writers but haven’t written a damn thing. You’re only as good as what you finish.
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Hickey Jr. is a full-time Lecturer of English and Assistant Director of the Journalism program at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY and is the Chairman of the City University of New York Journalism Discipline Council. Away from academia, Hickey is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of ReviewFix.com. He’s also a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and National Video Games Writer at Examiner.com. Over the last ten years, he has won numerous awards and had his work mentioned in National Ad campaigns by Disney, Nintendo, and EA Sports.
Thank you so much for joining us Patrick! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
Writing, for me, has always been a dream. But as a kid, I was an athlete. My geekiness was repressed. It wasn’t until I got in a serious car accident at 18 and my other dream, to possibly play professional hockey, was derailed, that I focused solely on my writing career. 18 years later, I have thousands of published articles for my site, ReviewFix.com, as well as hundreds of pieces for NBC and articles published in over two dozen other websites and magazines.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
There are many, but one of the most interesting is one night that I stepped on a homeless person while waiting to take the bus home from a Minor League Hockey game I was covering. It was about an hour and a half after the game and I was waiting for the bus with my laptop, camera, the whole nine yards. It was easily 10 degrees out, with a massive wind. I was walking back and forth and ended up stepping on a homeless person, who was lying face first in the snow. Believing he was dead, I called the cops. As I was waiting for the authorities, my bus came. I had to make a decision- leave or wait for them, knowing the next bus wouldn’t be arriving for at least an hour. I waiting for the cops and they quickly found the man to just be sleeping, in the snow. His first words? “My back hurts.” Um yeah, because I stepped on you. I didn’t get home until about 4 am that day and still had work to do and a class to teach at 8 am. The nap I took later that day was amazing.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?
When I told one of my mentors I was writing a book, he told me, “Good, go write a book.” He didn’t believe in me. When I got a book deal a month later and showed him the contract, he replied, “Well, you know this doesn’t mean they’re going to publish you.”
Those sentiments broke my heart. This was a man that I trusted and looked up to. But success does things to people. Often times, people want you to be successful, but not more successful than they are. That was and still is the case here. So now, I never ask for validation from anyone. I don’t need a mentor. I, instead, just have goals that need to be accomplished, for me. I am my own validation.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I wasn’t just really starting, but it was a funny mistake. I was interviewing the lead singer of Five for Fighting, a pretty big musician, sold millions of records. When the interview was over, I realized my Quicktime had crashed and I lost all the audio. I skyped him back right away and pleaded to do the interview again. Luckily, it went even better. But it was a lesson learned. Always use multiple recording devices. Always have a backup.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am currently working on my fourth book, The Minds Behind Shooter Games and fifth, The Minds Behind Sega Genesis Games. As well, I am wrapping up my first full-length play, “The Job” and voice acting and writing in the upcoming video game, “KROOM.”
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
There are so many, but the story in the final chapter, which focuses on Grand Theft Auto, stands out. To think that one of the greatest game franchises ever, was almost never released, because of a mistake by Sony, is crazy to me. Want to know more? Give it a read.
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
That game developers are relentless. That they work extremely hard and that their work is art. It’s so much more than fun and games.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.
Don’t Miss Deadlines
In 15 years of writing, I never have. I’ve fought through death in my family, sickness and every other thing that could derail a person. If I can do it, so can you.
Everyone’s a Critic
Everyone is allowed to have an opinion, just don’t let them faze you. One of my biggest critics in college never wrote an article for a publication. Over a decade later and I teach the class that she taught me.
Write every single day, even when you don’t feel like writing. Writing is a craft that you can literally get better every single day.
Reading every day is just as important as writing. Find new writers. Read old writers. Experience the craft.
Want to write a book? Say it, then start doing it. Be a finisher. There are millions of authors out there, but millions more that say they’re writers but haven’t written a damn thing. You’re only as good as what you finish.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
Consistency. For over a decade, I’ve published something every day online. Since I started writing The Minds Behind the Games series in November of 2016, I’ve written over 500,00 words through five books and counting. That’s in addition to running a site and writing for magazines. That means every single day, no excuses.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?
Comic books, noir, and mythology. I want my imagination to be at work every time I read. I want to think. I want to feel.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want people to understand how important video games are to pop culture. The stories I share are ones that deserve to be remembered.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
PatrickHickeyJr on Instagram, @ReviewFixPat on Twitter and Facebook.com/PatrickHickeyJr. I also have a page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TheMindsBehindTheGames/
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!
About the author:
Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.