Read more is my advice for anyone wanting to release the screaming characters sitting in the jail inside their head. I’m not unique. Every writer, teacher, and librarian has said the same countless times. What’s different now that I’ve recovered from the last ten seconds of Iron Bowl agony is finding out that a famous sportscaster, blogger, and author agrees with me.
Joe Posnanski wrote a blog article about Nick Saban’s FG call that ended up losing the game for Alabama. The post went viral. Naturally, I had to check him out to make sure he wasn’t one of those Texas fans trying to lure Saban away from the “Tide.” He wasn’t, and his article isn’t full of the normal gloating Bama fans are accustomed to when we lose.
Imagine my surprise when I googled up a past Posnanski interview on the blog Baseball: Past and Present. Posnanski was interviewed in 2010 by Graham Womack in a post titled: My Curiously Long Interview with Joe Posnanski. The entire post is a fascinating read. Here’s the excerpt that mentions reading.
Me: What’s one piece of advice you would give an aspiring sportswriter?
Posnanski: I always say this with a caveat that I wish there was one piece of advice that would work for everybody. I wish there was something I could say that would get somebody a job of their dreams tomorrow.
Not really having that piece of advice, I always say that, to me, it starts with reading. This is something I tell high school kids, college kids, people trying to get into the business, that it’s just so much about reading. Read, read, read. So much of everything else falls into place when you just do a ton of reading.
It works on so many different levels. When you’re reading, obviously, it gives you the knowledge, the background and that sort of thing. But also it helps you, I really believe, form words in your mind. It gives you an idea of how things need to be written, it gives you style points. There’s just so many things, some of them very much below the surface.
I read a lot. When I’m not at the computer, and I’m not with the family, I’m reading. I read very widely. I don’t read very much sports. I read fiction and non-fiction and history and mysteries and read with very much an open mind to what I can get out of this…. It’s important to write a lot, it’s important to have a good editor and listen to good advice. There’s so many of those basic things. But to me, the magic really comes out of the reading.
In 254 words, Posnanski gave great advice to everyone wanting to write. I’d add this to Joe’s advice: The greatest gift any parent can give their children is a love of reading.