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Warner's World 3-19
Read if you want to write
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This week was a first for me in sports or otherwise. Seems I had a job-shadow volunteer from a local high school who was interested in journalism, specifically sports, so that fell under my bailiwick.
Now I can sit here and tell everyone else what goes into making a sports page, but since none of you volunteered to job shadow me, I’m sure you don’t want me to repeat it here. It was one of those things, you just had to be here, or I would bore you to tears. Not that I can’t do that in any weekly column but, an instruction manual is probably not what you’re looking for.
Fridays are always a big day for my sports team here at the paper which, if you have read more than one edition, you know it consists of me, myself, and I. If you haven’t read more than one edition, I highly encourage it. Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” I guess my blueprints adhered to Einstein’s plan as anyone who knows me knows I am a big fan of sports for dummies books and not afraid to say I don’t know the answer, and proceed to enlighten myself.
Going over what I do here with my visitor helped me as well, as I heard myself give the reasons I enjoy the job, challenges, and what life is like to be a sports writer. I didn’t have much time so I boiled it down to some hard-learned simpler truths about my profession, should the young gentleman be so inclined as to learn from the experience and he seemed genuinely interested, or I’m just not that perceptive one of the two.
Stephen King calls fans like myself “Constant Reader” to articulate a prologue or write a note about a particular book he is writing. I thought about ripping off his vernacular which is much shorter than “people who have read more than one edition” but since I wouldn’t feel right using his, I have to keep working on one.
When I had to come up with a name for this column I thought of his when he was in college which was “King’s Garbage Truck” because you never know what he would throw in there. I share the sentiment but when I mentioned to co-workers my prospective name, which was Steve’s Trashcan, they laughed and said that’s where readers might throw my column.
Much of what I learned about writing I learned from Stephen King which might sound strange, but not really. Some others I picked up from folks like Jack Kerouac among other favorites. Here’s my short list:
If you want to be a writer, you need to read every day, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style is the only manual you need besides following tip one, omit needless words, write about something you know and like (look at Dick Francis), and don’t give up.