A month ago I set out on a challenge to write 30 articles in 30 days.
But the question you’re probably wondering is why????
I had written sparingly for this blog over the past year or so, but not as consistent as I’d like. A mixture of work commitments/churning out a podcast every week seemed to consume most of my time.
This summer was to be a relatively quiet one for me – no holidays booked or any international travelling. I was determined to give Ireland the time of day this summer off the bat of one of our hottest ones in recent history last year.
Unfortunately the weather didn’t quite hold up to last year’s expectations, but I did have the free time to write. This wasn’t to say I just sat around in my room all summer – I did find myself going away on short trips or to music festivals and not being able to write.
I became quite fond of writing 2/3 articles in one go – knowing I had to make up for lost ground. Even without the time constraints, writing for a prolonged period of time allows the creativity juices to flow for longer and I feel like each article complimented the next.
Another reason for carrying out the challenge was to build up a resume. A lot can change in a year when you’re watching a sport – from different perspectives, to understanding of how it works, to having differing opinions from what you once had.
I had written a lot of stuff during the early existence of the website, and, well, some of it I didn’t think was that good. So it was nice to come up with an up to date version of previous topics or stories.
Probably the most important reason in doing this 30 for 30 challenge was to test myself. It’s not the hardest thing in the world, writing a few words here and there every day. But none of my articles were thrown together for the sake of it.
I wanted all the topics to be worthwhile and similar to what I’d write even if I didn’t have a rigid timeline to adhere to. Coming up with the article topics were surprisingly easy.
Some of the topics I wrote about were part of a series – like the NFL Team Grades and 5 Fights to make after UFC x. Some were purely opinion based – like ranking the most disliked franchises in American sports. Others involved lists and gravitating headlines – but with what I hoped was worthwhile words beyond the title.
I’ve really come on leaps and bounds in my knowledge of the sports we cover since starting the challenge. You’d be surprised how you can improve your knowledge of a sport with just some short research. Whether it’s on statistics, team or player records, financials etc.
I was particularly worried about my coverage of the NFL, as I have only been watching it on/off for a few years. It didn’t turn out that bad after all – and I was able to write pretty fluidly on certain football topics as much as NBA or MMA.
While a lot of the articles I wrote come with the preface ‘this is my opinion’ – opinion based journalism is a step-up from what we usually see online. Most sporting articles are ‘news beat’ articles, which are an integral part of sports consumption, no doubt.
I didn’t feel the need to write any ‘news beat’ articles here as every Tom, Joe or Larry could have a stab at it. There are many more websites out there, all better run than this one, that cover the latest news in these sports. So check them out.
In 2015, I think it was, I was listening to a Severe MMA Podcast and a question came in from a listener on how to break into the world of covering sport (or MMA in particular). The presenters at the time, Andrew McGahon and Sean Sheehan, were weekly features in my life that I felt like I knew them better than an uncle.
McGahon alluded to compiling a resume of articles or work and sending it off. Whether it’s using someone else’s platform or your own. You can’t expect an opportunity to come your way under the assumption you can write or produce content.
That particular snippet of the podcast stood out to me, and I’ve always wanted to do things the right way in getting involved in sporting media. Setting up this website was very much the start of that journey, or at least, taking it more seriously.
I still don’t know if this will ever be something I can call my job, or just a hobby, but I don’t mind which one it becomes. After doing this 30 for 30 challenge, it’s something I’ve learnt I enjoy quite a lot.
In the modern day of social media/the existence of the internet – typing out words and sequences on a screen can actually be quite therapeutic. This challenge has proved to spur me on to include more writing in my weekly schedule.
An article a day is not that sustainable, however, unless you’re getting paid for it mind you. But I’d like to thank everyone that even read a sentence of all the work I churned out over the past few weeks.
A big thanks also to the lads that do the Podcast week-in week-out. We have a team of talented sports people covering American sports here which is unparalleled to any other website or publication in Ireland. I’m grateful to share a platform with these people.
Anyhow, that concludes my big fat diary of the day.
Thanks for reading.
Stay tuned for what’s next.