Glenford Smith | Smart start for aspiring sports writer
QUESTION: Mr Smith, I'm an ardent reader of your column, which I find informative, inspiring, educational and amusing. I am also desirous of writing in the papers one day, but my forte is physical education and sports. My question is: How can I get started? Are there any books or other source material that can assist me on this quest? Also, how can I get access to your articles online?
- Duane Dunn
SMITH: I'm delighted that you find the column enjoyable and helpful, Duane. Thanks for your enthusiastic endorsement. You've encouraged me to continue.
Let me first commend you on a seemingly minor matter: that you have a definite goal you're working towards becoming a sports writer. That might not seem like a big deal. It is, though, when you consider that many people don't have definite career goals they are diligently working towards.
That's the basis for the well-known American folktale about the driver who came to an intersection and stopped. He looked left, right, then straight ahead, seemingly uncertain. He then asked a passer-by who happened along just then, "Which way should I go?"
The passer-by asked, "Where are you going?" He answered, "Umm ... I don't know. I'm not sure." "Well then, it doesn't matter any road will take you there," said the passer-by,. Similarly, most people aren't definite about their career and life destinations.
CRITICAL FIRST STEP
They are often very clear about what they don't want. They can easily list what they hate about their jobs and lives no problem doing that - but if asked what it is they do want and are working towards, most aren't clear. hence the simple yet profound truth: The number one reason why most people don't get what they want in life is because they don't know what they want.
Knowing definitely what you want is the critical first step to getting it. Here are a few more tips you may find helpful.
n To be a writer, write. Don't believe you have to wait till you get a degree or feel worthy or any such thing. Start a blog at wordpress.com. Write and submit your opinions to the editor of this newspaper on current affairs in sports. Also, share your sports expertise on Facebook or Google+.
n Seek to get qualified in the sports field if possible. A degree at the G.C. Foster College or its equivalent will stand you in good stead.
n Seek out sports and other writers whose style you admire to read and study. You stated that you are doing some of that, so just continue.
n Find a mentor a sports journalist who can guide you, and who you can emulate.
n Learn as much as you can about every sport, including its history.
n Follow and study the life stories and careers of leading sports stars in every field.
Books I would recommend include The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White; 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis; and The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.
By doing a Google search for 'Glenford Smith Gleaner', you'll find hundreds of my articles online. My best wishes for your quest.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.