writing

Always be checking your practice

snoopy_stormyHere we are at a new year, so here comes some new resolve. For me, that usually means some sort of resolution to write more — and especially keep this blog updated. In 2019, I’m hoping that sticks. And I hope you stick as a reader too.

During the last half of 2018, I really tried to achieve a better work-life balance. But I also spent much of that time grousing over how I wasn’t writing as much as I’d like. Getting into podcasting provided some fulfillment, and I hope to learn and do more there as people increasingly listen to podcasts, rather than read blogs.

But if I’m going to complain about not writing, well, I have an outlet for that — one which has led to some degree of professional success. I haven’t gotten much return on that investment in recent years, however. I can claim to be a writer, especially to prospective employers, yet can I really call myself that if I’m not writing?

Just writing more isn’t enough, though. Have I reached a plateau? Have I already been as good as this as I’ll have ever been? Am I just repeating myself?

A writer I admire tremendously is Warren Ellis. He’s been very influential on my blogging and social media. Now, that’s expanding to writing. Over the holidays, I caught up on several issues of his newsletter (Inbox Zero in 2019!) and this passage from the June 24, 2018 edition resonated with me:

check_practise

(I tried to pay my debt to Ellis back in some way by purchasing a bunch of his comics from Comixology, albeit as part of their DC and Marvel holiday sales.)

“Always be checking your practise.” Am I performing as well as I could be? Have I improved or declined? Am I just doing the same thing? Am I evolving or dying? If I wasn’t worried about answering those questions in the negative, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

Far too often in online sports media (and online media, in general), the work is more about producing content and catching clicks, rather than telling a story, informing the reader, and improving craft. Getting out of that grind, at least occasionally feels important. It’s vital, unless it’s just about doing a job. (And there’s nothing wrong with that, if drawing a paycheck is the priority.)

Maybe I’ve done all I’ll ever do as a writer. That would be disheartening, but I’d have to accept that I didn’t push as hard as I could have with my personal ambitions. I suppose I’m not ready to accept that yet.

Along the way, I might find out whether or not people really read blogs anymore. I’ve read a few writers say that they’re returning to blogging, and I admire that. But more people might prefer reading Facebook and Instagram, or listening to podcasts. If so, that might be a cue to commit to doing a true newsletter.

Ultimately, that shouldn’t matter, though. Not here. This should be where I write, regardless of how many people read that work.

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