I don’t know why, but people ask me all the time what advice I can give them to get further ahead and improve as a writer. I don’t say that to be faux-humble; I genuinely don’t know why people are coming to me because I’m just a dude out here trying to make a living and there are more seasoned, more experienced folks that I would reach out to before getting around to hitting me up.
Having said that, I don’t believe I’ve ever turned someone away without giving them whatever insights I can because I think that’s one of the easiest, yet most impactful things you can do for another human being and since I’ve been blessed to have a bunch of smart, skilled, knowledgeable people help me along in this journey, it’s my duty to pay it forward or else I’m doing those folks a disservice.
I say all of that to get to this little bit of unsolicited, simple advice for anyone pursuing this craft or considering a future in the media: you need to listen to the SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch.
Whether you love or hate Deitsch – or even if you’ve never heard of him before right now – what you need to know is that every week, this podcast features an outstanding guest dropping gems about the media, their process and life in general and if you’re going to do this in any way, shape or form, you need to hear, consider and process each and every one of those gems.
For instance, a couple weeks ago, Deitsch had Chris Curtis, the producer of The Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI, on as a guest and even though I know nothing about Curtis or the show itself, there were nuggets that hit home, like Curtis saying – and I’m paraphrasing – “If you’re willing to put your name on a piece, you should be willing to discuss and defend it whenever someone wants to address what you said.”
Last week, Jay Onrait said we shouldn’t be so adversarial and I couldn’t agree more. That’s something I’ve been saying about the MMA media for years – we’re too territorial and too afraid to lift up others because it might mean people stop looking at us as much – and to hear someone with far more seasoning and success say he genuinely wants to see everyone succeed and wishes others felt the same way was reassuring.
Or this week, when Deitsch asked Jalen Rose about a life philosophy FS1 host Charissa Thompson said she got from basketball player-turned-media personality, “Appreciate your position, but plan your promotion.” Brilliant, right? It’s something I’ve been doing throughout this journey, though I’d never really thought of it in those specific terms.
There have honestly been too many little words of wisdom and simple truths that have fallen into my lap just from listening to this podcast every week – and now twice a week – that I had to give everyone the head’s up, just in case you weren’t already listening.
And it’s not just the guests that shuffle along insights and bits you can learn from either.
Deitsch – for my money – is one of the better hosts/interviewers in the game right now because there is nothing he is afraid to ask (or so it seems) and he knows that the show isn’t about him, hitting the guests with quality questions and then giving them all the time they need to provide their answer. It’s something I’m working on for those odd times when I host the Keyboard Kimura podcast or while I’m doing interviews for stories.
One last thing that doesn’t come from the SI Media Podcast or any of the above, but just my general observations and conversations with some like-minded individuals: focus on your craft – getting better and moving forward – not social media and telling everyone about how much you’re grinding.
If you’re on Twitter all the damn time, how are you actually getting anything done? There is a time and place for the social media platform – and a certain utility to it as well – but quality content and a recognizable work ethic are far more important than how many followers you have and the number of times you tell people about all the work you’re doing.
Just get out there and grind. If you’re doing good work, people will notice.
That’s all for now.
Peace Out, Suckers.