Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when "Full-Time Fiction Writer" and "Professional Starcraft Player" seemed like equally realistic career options.
I was 15 years old, and from the feedback I was getting from everyone around me, both options seemed equally viable.
That is to say, not at all viable. From what everyone was telling me, it seemed basically impossible to make a living from either.
But since there was literally nothing else that interested me enough to devote my life to, I thought, "What the hell? Might as well choose one!"
For a while, I chose Starcraft. I'd consistently stay up until 3am on school nights, grinding game after game - 1v1s, 2v2s, and even (embarrassingly) the occasional money map comp stomp. I got good. I'm sure that with a couple more years of practice at that level, I might have had a shot at going pro.
But let's back up. Just in case you're asking "What is Starcraft?" - I'll give an overview for the uninitiated.
Starcraft is the best video game known to man. And no, I'm not talking about Starcraft 2 with its fancy upgraded graphics and its inflated price due to being broken up into three releases. (Although, I'll admit I loved that game and happily reached for my wallet three times.)
I'm talking about Starcraft: Brood War. The expansion to the original Starcraft, and the most exquisitely balanced RTS (Real-Time Strategy) game ever made.
In Starcraft, you choose from one of three races: Terran, Protoss, and the incredibly awesome Zerg.
You can probably tell which one is my favorite.
In each game, you start with 4 workers and a single building. From these humble beginnings, you build your empire - creating more workers, expanding to fresh mineral patches, and dominating your enemies.
In the latest instalment of SC2, you start off with approximately a trillion workers, but remember we're talking about BROOD WAR here, the game for true OGs.
Some fun random facts about Starcraft:
-Amazon (where you probably buy most of your books) has its own non-professional Starcraft league, where they compete to raise money for charity. Teams from Apple and Microsoft also compete in the league.
-The South Korean military created their own league, too. Also in South Korea: professional Starcraft players are just as famous as professional sports players.
-Researchers consider Starcraft to be one of the few examples where humans have exhibited true multitasking.
-You can play classic Starcraft (including Brood War) for free.
As you may have guessed, at some point I started dialing back on Starcraft and instead focused on grades (boo!), socializing (hiss!), and writing science fiction (...wooo!). I've now been a full-time sci-fi writer for 4 years.
I still play Starcraft from time to time, and it's still my favorite game of all time. It's definitely the one I've sunk the most hours into.
If you somehow haven't played it yet...what are you waiting for?
Check out Scott Bartlett's bestselling military SF here.