The Writing Habit behind the Spirit of Cricket.
If you have a better headline for this, hit reply.
Thursday, 7th Oct.
I started this newsletter for two big reasons:
First, I wanted to practice what I preach. My Multimedia Sports Journalism course has a module on Building your Own Audience, and newsletters are an essential part of that. I was teaching it but not doing it, because I believed I didn’t have the time. After my first batch, and before my second, I shifted my mindset, cleared up my schedule a bit by prioritising, and made time to write this newsletter, so I would feel like I’m walking the talk.
Second, I really do subscribe to the idea that writing helps with thinking, something a lot of people in the writing space like Amit Verma and David Perrell talk about. So I decided to commit to writing something for my newsletter audience at least once a week. At best, it would help with my audience building. At worst, it would help with my thinking.
I haven’t been able to stick to that commitment with the IPL starting, but the mindset shift is still in place: I’ve moved writing to a higher priority in my tasks because I know that it will help with my thinking, and my job depends heavily on my thinking. Which is why I’m drafting this newsletter on a double header commentary day, with two IPL matches this afternoon to commentate on. And it’s also to share with you a peek behind a big writing week:
There was so much happening this week that it was a mental effort to write. I was commentating during breaks with ABC Radio on the Australia India Test match over in the Gold Coast from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM and then switching languages to do Marathi commentary on Hotstar for the IPL from 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM. That was my life last Thursday to Sunday. One part of me wanted to switch off on Monday and take a bit of a mental break, but the other part wanted to write about the Women’s Test, and that part won, no surprises given how I feel about growing women’s cricket.
But there were more than one topics that were swirling around in my mind, one on the future of women’s Test cricket and the other on the Spirit of the Game, prompted by Punam Raut’s walking. I pitched both to my editor at Hindustan Times. He carried the topic on women’s cricket but didn’t seem that interested in the Spirit of the Game one (TBF to him, I didn’t pitch it very well). But I felt strongly about it so I drafted my thoughts down, thinking I could use it in my newsletter for this week.
Let’s see what happened here: My mindset of prioritising writing and prioritising this newsletter led me to draft an idea that I might normally have just let slide in an extremely busy week. As I drafted, I thought, ‘Hell, this is shaping up to be a good piece, I should pitch it to some more people.’ So I pitched it to another major website, with a proper pitch this time. They turned it down too. So I pitched again. Third time lucky. Cricbuzz carried it in their premium CricBuzz plus Think Tank section. I ended up writing on Tuesday too. (I took a break yesterday though, I know how important a break is.)
I’m really proud of both pieces of writing from a craft point of view. I worked on multiple versions before sending them in, alone and with some collaboration, and both editors came back saying no edits required, which was awesome. I’m planning to include both of these as case studies for my next batch of Multimedia Sports Journalism and break down every single step of the editing process.
But this email isn’t about writing or editing skills. It’s about the importance of the writing habit, or the creative habit, and how that habit can turn profitable. If I hadn’t been prioritising writing for the last few weeks, I wouldn’t have written out this draft, wouldn’t have seen it’s potential as a piece, and wouldn’t have made money from it. And that’s what I’m exhorting you to do this week. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a video creator, create. If you’re a podcaster, pod (wait, that doesn’t sound write. Wait, that doesn’t sound right either.)
It doesn’t matter if it’s good. It matters that it exists. I dare you to move.
Here’s where you can read the two pieces. The Spirit of Cricket one is paywalled.
Ok, back to double header prep. See you later guys. Hopefully next week. I’ve got a book review to share with you, and the process of how I made it. If you think that’s interesting, go on, share this.
Song of the week: Dare you to move, by Switchfoot. How did you not see that coming?