One Year, One Hell of a Ride

-Eric Lee Lewis

One year ago today I started a journey. It was a journey that I wanted to take when I was 15. Instead, I followed the dreams of being a musician. I picked up a microphone and wrote my own songs, but it was not meant to be. I got used to the struggle and thankfully after many years of struggle, I decided to aim for something that I wouldn’t have to rely on others for; writing.

I’ve always loved writing and I have always loved videogames, but I never knew how to go about getting started in the industry. It’s not like bigger gaming sites tell you how to get involved. So, I did what I thought I could do to try to get noticed. I started my own gaming blog so I could learn how to do this and possibly get noticed.

The Empty Wallet Gamer was created.

The Empty Wallet Gamer was supposed to be a place for me to get some practice in the public eye. My original intention was to write a review once every couple of weeks and hone my skills. After publishing my first article (A Reason for Gaming: Eric Lee Lewis), I got a few followers. The article was a mess and I still struggle with wanting to go back and edit it along with other older articles. I ultimately decide every time to not fix them. This has become my way of gauging just how much I have evolved as a writer. A few days later I would go on to publish my first review (Batman: Arkham Asylum) and I started receiving messages from others that wanted to be a part of what I was doing. Quickly, I had a couple of new members on my crew and we changed the name of the page to Empty Wallet Gamer.

We started gaining some momentum and started getting noticed. Soon after, I was being contacted by a few bigger game journalism outlets and I decided to turn them down due to my lack of experience. Not to mention that I thought Empty Wallet Gamer had a lot of potential and Empty Wallet Gamer kept gaining extremely fantastic writers. At some points I would have even put my team of writers against some of the major league writing teams out there.

I got very lucky and met a writer that was interested in what we were doing and he was and always will be an incredible inspiration. This man was Shawn Trautman. Shawn gave me a lot of criticism that taught me so much in a short period of time. He was a great hand in teaching me how to control a growing staff and teaching me how to write better articles. Thanks to Shawn, I became a much better writer and much more conscious of what it takes to get better at anything I set my mind to.

Shawn eventually dropped out of Empty Wallet Gamer due to internal issues at EWG. Without Shawn’s guidance,  I started to lose control of the staff and started losing confidence in myself. It seemed that no matter what we had tried to do or the attention we were grabbing from larger outlets, our inner workings were becoming too problematic. My dream of Empty Wallet Gamer ever becoming a bigger thing was shattered.

Just months before EWG had split, I got lucky and met Josh Nicholes and Jimmy Kovalski of Galactic Gaming News. I started podcasting with these gentlemen and started getting some good feedback about me being vocal about the gaming business. Not to mention that Josh and Jimmy were jokingly trying to get me to leave EWG and move to Galactic Gaming News. After a lot of thought and self-realization, I left and shut down EWG. Before I left Empty Wallet Gamer, I had one request. That request was for GGN to allow me to bring Marcus Lawrence, Gregory Livingston and Jovan “Street” Lawrence with me. These were my most committed and best writers and I didn’t want to leave such great writers/people behind.

This has been a crazy year for me. Not crazy in a bad sense at all. I call it crazy because within a year of starting this adventure I have been offered big jobs, learned to become a better writer, figured out how to manage a group of writers, made great friends, I learned the inner workings of this industry and I learned how to bust my ass for my dream.

Sweet story, right? There is a lot more to be said, but I will not dive into all of it. As I sit here writing this, I am incredibly burnt out on writing. While I am more creative than ever, I have been at this for a year straight with no breaks. By no means am I stopping now. I couldn’t possibly stop something that I love so much and I am very thankful for the people behind me that keep me pressing forward.

Time for the sappy thank you notes:

Jimmy Kovalski is the brain behind Galactic Gaming News. I love this guy and I will do anything I can to help him out. GGN is his baby, but in many ways I feel like it is a bit of our lovechild (BAM!). Jimmy makes me want to do this every day. We have a great chemistry and he reminds me so much of myself when I started Empty Wallet Gamer. Jimmy, it has been a pleasure to work with you. I will never forget you or take your friendship or leadership for granted.

Gregory “Old GRAG” Livingston, you sir, you are a brilliant man. Mild-mannered, but brilliant no less. I have learned a lot from you as well. Perhaps it is from your inventive and out-of-the-box thinking. You never cease to amaze me with your articles and super hilarious videos. You are like the nerdy brother I never had. P.S. FUCKIN’ VOLCANOES!

Macus Lawrence is an interesting one. Marcus was my support at Empty Wallet Gamer for the longest time. Marcus always had a drive to learn and to get better. We always shared the same dream and I hope we keep seeing one another as we climb the ladder. While we don’t always see eye-to-eye now, it’s always good to have someone like you in my life.

Jovan “Street” Lawrence, you are an absolute pleasure to work with. You are a bit of a mystery to me sometimes, but when you are on, you are ON. You are a great source of information and that can take you places, no matter how trivial you think your gaming knowledge may be. Not to mention, how the hell is it that you never write a bad article?

Alyssa Marie Cornish is the love of my life. She doesn’t play videogames nor does she ever seem to care about anything to do with gaming, but she cares about me and knows how much I love this business and how much I will push to accomplish my dreams and do what I can to make our future even brighter. I just ask that you remain patient with me when I seem upset about how hard this work can be. Your words are always inspiring to me and you make me become a better writer and a much better person.

TO OUR READERS

What would any of this be without you? Your feedback-though sparse at times- has been a driving force behind my articles. Some of you have even talked to me in a one-on-one basis and I have learned a lot from you. You can’t always please all of the readers (special apology to The Gaming Muse, but I still don’t see how me standing up for women makes me a sexist…especially when I am a guy.), but when you can please a majority, it means the world to a writer. Thanks for the continued support and expect even better things over my next year. I promise to not let anyone down.