Category Archives: Lessons Learned

Writing: Finding inspiration through Church’s Chicken…

IMG_2283

I’m just clearing the photo album on my phone – because, as time goes by, the photos just pile up if I don’t take some time to organize or delete them.

These are from mid-May, when I stopped by Church’s Chicken and was told it’d be a 15-minute wait for the order.

IMG_2282

So, I took out my notebook and brainstormed some ideas for my writing.

Some time after I’d finished eating, my phone rang and it was an interview subject getting back to me wanting to do that interview at that particular moment.

(It was regarding a book I’m writing dealing with advice for young people wanting to get into the world of sports business.)

IMG_2281

It was good timing because I was able to ask him some different questions that I’d come up with during the waiting time – and I’d scribbled down those ideas.

You just never know when inspiration comes. And for those who scoff at the idea of carrying a notebook when many people simply store their ideas on their smartphones or electronic devices… well, what happens if your device runs out of battery and you need to be on your phone too for that important call?

I have a couple of devices, and I have that notebook as a backup…

Advertisements

Life as a Writer – June 27, 2019

It’s been a busy couple of months, as I’ve been dealing with a heavy workload in teaching as well as my writing projects.

In the last couple of weeks, I put a couple of projects on hold – it just worked out that way because I’ve been waiting to hear back from some key people in those projects – so that I could devote more time on the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens book.

I always knew the submission deadline was June 30th, but I’d put it off since sometime in March, thinking I had a lot of time left. Of course, days became weeks, and weeks became… well, mid-June. At that point, I got more serious and spent time re-reading, revising, adding more content, and finalizing various things (such as photos, the acknowledgment, introduction, and bibliography)… and, the word count was important too. I was also doing a lot of cutting.

By June 25th, I was done. That meant I had five days left before the deadline, but I chose to submit the manuscript then instead of tinkering with it any further for the last five days.

So, that part of it is done. As far as when the book will be launched, well, it won’t happen for months, so there is nothing more I can do at this point.

Yes, I know the timing is weird. When I wrote the 1988 Dodgers book, I did so between April 2017 and late October 2017, wanting it to be published by sometime in 2018. That one finally came out in August 2018 when I submitted the manuscript in November 2017 (after the World Series was completed, because I needed to wait until the outcome of the Dodgers-Astros series was determined as I needed to edit part of the book if Los Angeles won to break their World Series drought).

For this hockey book, it just took longer. Longer to write. Longer to research. Longer for everything. That’s part of life. That’s part of writing. But I’ll be very proud when this one comes out.

Now, time to work on the next projects – one of which will involve another championship team from the past.

Don’t be like those people…

This past week, a local sportswriter abruptly passed away – at a relatively young age – and many people expressed sadness about it on social media.

From the looks of it, this sportswriter was a mentor to aspiring sportswriters too, so, good for him.

I never interacted with this gentleman at all, so I didn’t know him. However, my past experiences with sportswriters from other cities haven’t been great.

Now, I should say that there have been a few who have been gracious and responded to my emails, such as the legendary Bob Ryan (who responded to me on three separate projects I was working on), L.A. sportswriter J.P. Hoornstra, and a couple other writers from the Boston area. There were a couple other national writers, Bob Nightengale and Mel Antonen. There was even a historian/author by the name of Todd Denault who responded to me.

I certainly appreciated the fact that these writers took time out to correspond with me and give me quotes for the books I was writing.

Then, there were those who couldn’t be bothered to respond back – and, interestingly, they’re writers from Toronto.

When I was writing the Tom Candiotti biography, I emailed several writers from Toronto who were around when Candiotti pitched for the Blue Jays (and those writers are still active today). Not one of them bothered even to respond back.

Then, when I was writing about the Boston-Montreal NHL rivalry book, it was the same. Now, I received replies from the Boston reporters I reached out to, including the aforementioned Ryan. But nothing from the writers in Toronto who covered Pat Burns.

That’s disgraceful. A Hall of Famer like Bob Ryan reaches out to me – and he’s a legend – and yet lesser likes couldn’t be bothered.

So, I mean, just like many athletes, I’m leery when it comes to sportswriters. None of those Toronto-based writers ever reached out or cared about what I was doing.

Not even a “Sorry, I am unable to assist you.” Just no response.

I’ll tell you what. If I became a successful writer, I wouldn’t be like those Toronto-based guys. Those guys are no role models. They’re not like the sportswriter who passed away this past week.

They’re gutless.

Reflecting back on Korea Trip 2018 – Cafe 7gram…

This post is also found on one of my other websites, “Let’s Grab A Burger.”

Cafe 7gram at 71-5 Jongno 2(1)-ga, Jongno-gu in Seoul is close to the hotel I stayed at during my Korea trip in September 2018.

IMG_8237IMG_8239IMG_8238IMG_8241IMG_8240

I hung out there a few times during my second week of stay in Korea, including a couple of daytime visits when people were actually there to discuss business. It was great for me, just chilling while others were busy working. I recall being there one evening too – when it was nice and relaxing.

The few times I was there, I had some dessert items and beverages while working on the editing for my John Cangelosi baseball book (as I had tentatively reached an agreement with an American publisher during the first week I was in Korea) and writing my book on the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens.

One time, the second floor was completely empty – other than me – and I texted my tour guide (whom I had befriended that week) to joke that I had the whole cafe rented. (The ground floor had only a table and some window seats, unlike the spacious second floor.)

Overall, Cafe 7gram served my purpose when I was in Korea. I was able to get some “work” (ie. writing) done yet also enjoy a, more or less, peaceful environment at the same time. After all, I had spent four days on a trip around Eastern Korea the previous week – doing sightseeing, obviously – and didn’t really have time to touch the laptop.

IMG_8242

Life as a Writer – April 15-16, 2019

Wow… another week has gone by…

Well, sometimes things work out schedule-wise, without me having to make any adjustments.

I was involved in a work project which began in late February and just ended on Friday the 12th. This project involved me going into the “office” regularly to collaborate / brainstorm / write / edit… but it all ended on Friday.

That same afternoon, I received a message from my other company and they wanted me to go in to be trained on some online educational program that I’ll be using and I’m needed for the second half of April to fill in and do some work there – beginning Monday the 15th.

So, the timing worked out fine. I didn’t have to say no to either side. And on Monday I went there to get that training. Then, during lunch, I was able to step out for some time to take a call from Pat Gallagher, a sports executive who used to work for the San Francisco Giants. Mr. Gallagher and I had made plans to speak on the phone on Monday – as I’m working on a book and had requested to speak with him about his tips for readers.

It was great, because I learned a lot from Mr. Gallagher, and this information will be included in the book. I was able to get trained on the online program. I didn’t have the February to April proposal (with the first company) to deal with anymore. It’s good timing.

And later today, I’m going to be speaking to another gentleman, Jake Hirshman, who has his own impressive background in the sports business world.

As a writer, it’s about managing time and so far in April, things have been great.

I mean, during this process of writing this book, I had a chance to speak to a writer from Los Angeles (back in late January), and he’s right. He told me that to pull off a project like this, you need to be honest with yourself in terms of the time you can set aside for it. So far so good. I do have that time to spare for this project. And I’m glad that I am working on something that will inspire those who will be reading it. That’s the motto – inspire others. Give people practical advice and let them know they actually can succeed if they are persistent. That’s the message I want to be spreading.

At the same time, it’s rewarding to be talking about important life lessons with these executives and writers, those who help out and mentor others. I’ve experienced situations where people just have these poker faces on them and be petty, and then they like to gossip and do unproductive things – eg. talk trash about others and engage in name-calling. All very negative. I’m glad I’m not stuck in that path with those individuals but am working on something more meaningful with my time.