I subscribe to the notion that in order to be a good writer, you have to read good writers. Here are some of the writers, blogs, and sites that I follow and enjoy. I encourage you to check them out.
Who is that? Joe is a former sports columnist for the Kansas City Star, Sports Illustrated, and currently writes for NBC Sports.
Why do I like him? Joe is an amazingly talented writer, who is gifted with phrasing, humor, story composition, and story telling. His personal blog combines great sports writing, baseball analysis, and heart warming personal stories. The random * that I toss into posts, followed by an italicized aside is an homage* to his “Pozterisks”.
Sample of greatness: A lot of my favorites were on a previous blog, and I haven’t yet tracked them down on his new site. That said, you really cannot go wrong reading anything Poz writes on his family or infomercials.
*Homage, schmomage. I blatantly stole the Pozterisk because I like the ability to drop in a comment that is tangentally related/funny/couldn’t otherwise be worked in.
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Damien Stednitz, “Ego Boy Studios”
Who is that? Damien is a high school friend, now based in LA, who has published several books of poetry and short stories.
Why do I like him? Damien is an amazing poet. He uses life experiences, nostalgia, and random pieces of everyday as metaphorical vehicles for meaning, and he makes it look super easy.
Sample of greatness: This post discusses fatherhood, aging, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Brilliant.
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Paul Lukas, “Uni-Watch”
Who is that? Uni-Watch covers anything and everything related to sports uniforms. Their slogan “the obsessive study of athletics aesthetics” pretty much sums them up. The daily posting usually has a mini feature and several short blips of news (and dozen of links).
Why I like it? Sometimes it is interesting (to me at least) to get the background on why Team X was wearing those gawd-awful uniforms, and sometimes the feature is on something historic, and sometimes it is completely random (Lukas has a bunch of eclectic interests that make for interesting reading).
Sample of greatness: Since the site is a) updated daily, b) the info ages quickly, and c) the content is a mixed bag, just go to the main page and scroll down. There should be something that catches your eye.
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Rany Jazayerli, “Rany on the Royals”
Who is that? Rany is a dermatologist in Illinois who grew up loving baseball and the Kansas City Royals. When it comes to the Royals, Rany is one of the most respected voices.
Why I like him? He has good insights into the team, knows all of the painful history the franchise has endured since the 1985 World Series ended, and has never been afraid to call out anybody in the organization (including a trainer, whom he essentially accused of malpractice a couple of years ago). He can get long-winded at times (look who’s talking), but it’s only because he is passionate about what he does.
Sample of greatness: Only a passionate to die-hard Royals fan should attempt one of Rany’s 6,000 word manifests on the prospects in the minor leagues. But Ten Years Later is a good example of his abilities as a writer.
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Chris Hayes, “Disco Hayes”
Who is that? Chris Hayes is a pitcher, formerly in the Kansas City Royals minor league system (he made it as far as AAA Omaha before being released). He calls himself “Disco” because his fastball is stuck in the 70’s (mph).
Why I like him? Disco is great writer of humor and has a great collection of stories from life in the minor leagues. “LOL” is one of the most abused expressions of our time, but many of Disco’s posts have truly made me laugh out loud.
Sample of greatness: With Disco, the quintessential piece has to be Poop Stick. I double-dog-dare you to not laugh.
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Seth Stevenson, “Ad Report Card”
Who is that? Seth Stevenson is a writer for Slate, an online magazine of the Washington Post. Among other topics, he deconstructs, reviews, and analyzes advertising.
Why I like him? Ad Report Card is one of my favorite features in Slate, and Seth is the one who really makes it purr. Aside from his great talent for snark, he has the ability to tear an ad down to it’s framework, and look at a 30 second spot (and a larger campaign) in ways most people do not consider.
Sample of greatness: No Super Bowl is complete without Stevenson’s annual Report Card.
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Who is that? Matthew is a columnist for the Omaha World-Herald.
Why do I like him? Not only does he write about a bunch of unique and interesting topics, he does so with a great range. He can make you laugh or make you cry – sometimes in the same column. He has the ability to make the ordinary extraordinary. His work is well worth the price of an OWH subscription.
Sample of greatness: His column on the Great Omaha fireball manhole photo was great blend of tracking a story and humor, plus it introduced us to “Pantsless Kenneth“, who later was profiled for his unique work.
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Wymsel, “Wonderment, etc.”
Who is that? Wymsel is the screen name for an adoptive mom who lives in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband have adopted two beautiful boys from Congo.
Why do I like her? I stumbled upon her blog, and fell for her writing, photography, and views on adoption and life. Not only are her boys seriously, painfully cute (her oldest is *almost* as cute as my son), she understands adoption on a level I strive to achieve. She just gets it, and inspires me to think about the people who knew my babies before I did in new ways.
Sample of greatness: This post exploring her feelings about mothers and “meant to be” should be required reading for adoptive parents. Any adoptive parent will revel in the journey of posts recounting their first adoption.
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Do you know anybody else that I should be reading? While I’m partial to my “wheelhouse” subjects (adoption, Huskers, advertising), I love reading folks whose style, content, and delivery draws me in and makes me want to spend the rest of the day going through their archives. If you know somebody like that, leave the vital info in the comments.