Writing From Your Passion
From the age of eight, I just knew I was going to be a big league baseball player. That dream became my whole life. Baseball was my god. I ate, drank, and slept baseball. It invaded my dreams.
I would probably never have picked up a pen if I hadn't been such a sports nut.
The Little League baseball team I played on finished fourth in the state (Michigan) in 1961 and then first in 1962, and we missed going to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the Little League World Series by one game. The team that knocked us out of the tournament went on to finish second in the world. I still remember most of the details and the score of every game. That’s how we fanatics are.
Before I explain how sports led me into writing, let me assure you that you don’t have to be a sports fan to get something out of today’s message. The point is that I turned one passion into another, and you can too. My first seventeen or eighteen books were nonfiction, many of them as-told-to autobiographies of sports stars, and those grew out of my background as a sports writer.
As you've probably noticed, people who try to write about your area of interest without really having a background in it can never really do justice to the subject. That’s why you so often hear that you should write what you know. If I had attempted aviation writing, pilots would have seen through every detail. When I read sports books, I can tell within one page whether the writer has a clue.
What’s your passion? Your strength? What field do you really know? Write about it. Fashion a short story, write a poem, interview a leader in the field, or work on a novel. Put yourself and your interests into it.
If writing is hard work, becoming recognized as a writer is even harder. Writing about something you know little about will make it only drudgery. Specialize—especially during your formative writing years—in your own area of interest. That will help you when the writing comes hard and the only thing keeping you at the keyboard is the dream of success.
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