First off, you sir or ma’am are insane! Second off, congrats! Third off, well, I’ll have to think of a third off later. Writing about fantasy football is pretty darn fun. I don’t like to admit it so it looks like I’m working hard when I’m supposed to be cleaning the cat litter, but it really is. And if you love playing fantasy football, which if you are reading this, you probably do, you may have thought about becoming a fantasy writer. It happens. So now that you’ve put at least 5 seconds of thought into it and have decided to quit your job and write about fantasy, let me give you a little insight into the sexy world of a fake football scribe.
1. Don’t quit your day job: You may look at ol’ Doc and think, that guy has it all! Fame, fortune, a sweet stache, and yes, I am pretty awesome, but sans the fame and the fortune. Oh, and I have two real jobs because writing about imitation football pretty much pays you imitation money. So if you think you are going to make a career out of fantasy writing, don’t.
2. Write, write, write and then write some more: One of my real jobs is as a writing teacher and really the only way to get better is to do it over and over. But writing in my journal about fantasy football is beginning to disturb my mom. What to do!?
3. Start a blog/write for someone else’s blog: You aren’t going to get paid, you know this, but there are plenty of ways to get your work out there. If you are a control freak then you probably should just go ahead and get a blog and go crazy! WordPress usually looks more professional, but Blogger and Tumbler also work. And there are of course more popping up every second. But if you just want to get your work out there quickly, and probably to a wider audience, then there are plenty of sites who are looking for new voices and free labor!
4. Give Up?: No! Well, if you want to, then sure. But you knew going in that you weren’t going to make a living doing this anytime soon, so why are you bitching now!? I get plenty of people who want to write for Razzball. Well, some people. And I’m always ready to give them a shot. I’ve found that if you are passionate enough about fantasy football to want to write about it, then that will usually show in your writing. But that passion only lasts so long. Most of the time (well, every time) the new to fantasy writing writer just fades away. I don’t blame them one bit though. It is a lot of work with very little reward. You have to REALLY want to write about fantasy football! I mean for reals.
5. Read and thieve: I know it seems like a waste of time to read when you could be writing, but you really have to! You need to read scouts, NFL analysts, other fantasy writers, NFL news, and really anything you can get your grubby eyes on … and that is just to stay up on what is going on, you also need to read to learn how to write. When my students complain about being assigned a half page article littered with illustrations, I know those are the students who are the crapiest writers.
What writers engage you? Enlighten you? Make you angry? How do they do that? Steal from them! Don’t steal ideas or analysis (well, try not to), but steal style and voice until you find your own. It’s how all great writers went about it. And if you flunked out of 3rd grade English this will help you not be so dumb. The best education in grammar and sentence structure and all that nerdy stuff is to read and copy people that have a clue.
6. Network: This is a word I thought I would never use in polite company, but it doesn’t have to be as vulgar as it sounds. I started “networking” without knowing I was doing it, and that’s how it needs to be done or you’ll come off as a giant douche bag. If you truly enjoy talking to others about fantasy football it will come naturally, if you just want to get “hits” on your start up blog, then don’t bother.
Starting the football side of Razzball coincided with me discovering Twitter and I’m glad it did. Now I don’t know if getting followers and tweeting my newest posts does all that much to draw people to the site, but I do know that making fantasy football friends on Twitter has led to some paying writing jobs, collaborations, and real time info. I go into more detail about how Twitter is great for fake footballers here, but I think it’s even better for fake football writers!
7. Finally, have fun!!: You are doing this for free or a little extra spending money, so have a good time! This has a lot to do with that coveted “voice” writers are always searching around for. You have to be yourself and if that means writing a bunch of rants about how Todd Haley should be stripped and tied to the goal post and pummeled with footballs from 5 feet via a passing machine, then so be it! You have to keep it exciting for yourself and even though football is a bad ass game that we love, writing about it can get a little monotonous unless you have fun!
So there are a few random thoughts I had about being a fantasy writer. I’ve been doing it for about 4 years now and I’m still having a blast! Will I ever be able to quit my day job and kick #1 off my list? I don’t know, but that would be cool. If this post scared you away from wanting to write about faux football, well, you’re a wuss and you should be scared away. You can make a career out of it. I know people that have, but it sure isn’t easy. But I’m here to root you on! If you want it, go for it!