Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grantland, Writers, and Writing

I'm a perfectionist. Always looking to improve, to be better, to be the best. At work and with this blog, I'm trying to improve my writing skills.

They say "good artists borrow, great artists steal."

I don't know if I prefer borrowing or steal, so I'll settle for imitating.

But I'll only emulate the writers I look up to.
The ones I enjoy reading.
The ones I read all the time.

A week ago one of my favorite writers, Bill Simmons, who's a sports columnist for, launched his own website called It plays home for columns, articles, blogs, essays, and podcasts on a smattering of topics ranging from sports to pop culture.

Sidenote-- the site's name comes from Grantland Rice, a sportswriter from the turn of the 20th century. One of his quotes "For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes—not that you won or lost—but how you played the Game."

I've been visiting the site several times each day. Basking in the warm radiance of writers who are far beyond my range.

The articles are better than the run-of-the-mill summing up of a game or series, they look at sports and pop culture with an academic, theoretic, or philosophic eye.

Example: Chuck Klosterman's article Space, Time, and DVR Mechanics looks at why watching a recorded sporting event isn't an enjoyable experience. He makes rational arguments (recording means too much control, lose the "live" feel of the event) and irrational arguments ("my personal involvement and actions will affect the outcome of the game). It may sound complicated, but that's only because I can't communicate the ideas Klosterman puts forward with experience, ease, and wit. Trust me.

His writing pushes me to write gooder.

I've also found that I've got a certain style of writing. You've probably noticed it, too. I don't want to get pigeonholed writing the same wheel. Too much routine gets boring for me, for you, and means I'm not challenging my boundaries.

Consciously writing in a different style means doing something unnatural, and is, consequentially, more difficult. So, it will take time, practice, and effort.

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