An Inside Peak into the Head of a Boxing Writer
18.10.06 - By Ted Sares: A big disclaimer at the outset. This is just my opinion and only mine. Heck, it is virtually impossible to get two boxing writers to ever agree on anything. But I think it might be interesting to share the mental checklist I use that so that readers know where at least where I am coming from when I submit a piece. And please read the very last sentence...if you get that far.
Article posted on 18.10.2006
In no particular order:
- Never, ever assume you know more about boxing than your readers. Boxing fans are fanatical about knowing their stuff.
- Humility is very important. Writing is a creative endeavor and involves ego, but room must be allowed for other points of view.
- Writing is a work in progress and one can always improve. Heck, I learn something new every day and I know I have a long way to go on the learning curve. Some sit back and rest on their laurels....a bad mistake, for it can make them lazy and out-of-touch with new techniques and methodologies.
- If the heat gets too hot in the kitchen, get out. A writer must have very thick skin. Criticism comes from all directions, sometimes from unexpected ones.
- You better know boxing. I don't mean whose who; I mean you better know a technique fighter from a power-boxer type. You better know how leverage is used to get the most pop on a hook. You better know the different lines of defense. In short, you better know the ABC 's of boxing. It helps, of course, to have been a practioner. But if not, you better watch as many fights as possible and go to live matches from time to time. Become a historian and read, read...and then read some more.
- Writing about boxing requires passion. Readers will quickly recognize whether you have it or not. Passion is infectious. It is paramount.
- Respect the practioners. I truly believe there are some well known commentators out there who subconsciously (and God only knows why) hate boxers and trainers. Yes, "hate" is a strong word but I'll stand by it.
- Have the courage of your convictions. If your piece is controversial and if you engage your readers (as I sometimes do), defend it based on the strength of your logic and research. Don't be tentative in engaging in exchanges.....it's not all that different from a boxing match except the only injury you might suffer is to your ego.
- Provoke your readers. Anyone can give them what they want to have. Give them something contentious...something to think and argue about.
- Read each and every post (if you write on sites). Much knowledge can be gained that way. And the more sites you read, the more knowledge you can gain.
- Learn as much as you can about computer technology. Being able to respond to feedback or a post about your work instantaneously is cutting edge stuff. In a word, it's the future.
- Never, ever sacrifice quality for volume. Always strive to make each and every piece you write one of high quality and one of which you can be proud.
- Finally, like an active fighter, it's good to take a breather once in a while and go back to the drawing board...hopefully to get rejuvenated and come up with some fresh slants and ideas. A problem I sometimes have is that I get too intensely deep into the forest to see the trees....I often need to step back to view the larger landscape.
Hope this gives you a bit of an insider's look at where at least one boxing writer is coming from. That said, I need to go back to the drawing board myself and come up with some new and/or novel angles. I have some in mind (including a book), but I need to rejuvenate first. So this will be my last piece for a bit.
Ted Sares is a syndicated writer, a boxing historian (member of IBRO) and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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