Why We Write, part 6

Okay so I upgraded. You are welcome, WordPress. I just could not handle the ads any longer. People would be reading my long posts about my divorce and have to scroll by an ad showing a bloated foot and talking about heart attack symptoms. It was just too much. And so the man won in the end. Limitedovers.wordpress.com is finally limitedovers.com.

I tried to upgrade a few years back on the five year anniversary of the blog, but someone had squatted on the dot com domain and I didn’t want to be dot net or dot org and so I shelved the idea and moved on. But the domain was free this time so here we are.

Also, I changed the style and layout. The ancient stock WordPress template I had been using was embarrassingly out of date. It looked like your dad’s blog from the 90s and I just couldn’t take it seriously anymore. So, a new layout, plus I ditched the folksy Lord’s Cricket Ground sign for my favorite (public domain) picture of a cricketer ever. It’s Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi in, I think, Mumbai. Made Indian’s captain when he was only 21, he was widely known as the greatest fielder ever. He was also the  titular Nawab of Pataudi from 1952 until 1971, when the system was abolished. He played for Sussex and captained Oxford and was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968. And he did it all with only one good eye. I love this picture because it defines what the sport means to me. Cricketers are human beings, more so than in any other sport, and that is the face and stance of a human being. A cricketer. One of us. A tourist. Young and in love with the world.

I also decided to upgrade after reading Will Leitch’s weekly email last weekend. In it, he talks about how when he was in his 20s he read Stephen King’s how-to book on writing and how there are different levels of writers. I will quote directly since Leitch says it way better than I ever could:

King’s argument is that you can’t make a bad writer good, and you can’t make a good writer great, but you can make a competent writer good. The trick for any budding writer is understanding, and more important accepting, that you are in that middle level — that you will never reach that top level, and that all you can do is do the best you can to be as competent as possible. King then has a book’s worth of practical advice (he’s particularly smart about the overuse of adverbs, using an analogy about a lawn with too many dandelions on it, and I have absolutely, unquestionably, consistently, all-encompassingly ignored that advice to my own detriment ever since) all based around that basic premise: You’ll never be great, but if you want to be good, here’s how.

Leitch goes on to say that that theory changed his life because he realized he will never be a great writer, but if you work hard enough, and you’re kind (to paraphrase Conan O’Brien) then maybe just maybe you can be a good writer.

And that is what I have decided to do. To become a good writer.

I have written novels and memoirs and novels disguised as memoirs and on and on. All my life I have wanted to be a writer. To call myself a writer. To have writing be my job. To have a novel come out in hardcover with a handsome dust jacket photo. To get a glowing review in the Paris Review or the London Review of Books. To do readings in famous bookstores in faraway cities. To have Lauren Mayberry instastory an image of my novel and say how much she loved it.

But that, realistically, isn’t going to happen. I mean. It’s just not, it’s not in the cards. I simply don’t have the chops. And it took until I read Leitch’s email newsletter (which you should most definitely subscribe to because it’s fantastic) for me to realize it. And just like with him, it was freeing.

I will never be like Faulkner or Foster Wallace or Knausgaard or Kushner or Cusk. I will never be great. However, there is something I am good at:

This.

I am good at waffling on about cricket. I have gotten mentioned in the Times of India and in the Wisden Almanack (twice). Harsha Bogle linked to one of my posts. I am good at this. I am tooting my own horn here but I think that’s okay now and again. And while that is all fine, I can get better. So much better. I can make this little thing that I am kind of actually good at something really special. Instead of using this space as a layover between what I have deemed Important Writing Projects™, this should be the project I focus on. Because I am good at this. And I can get better.

And so I upgraded. I forked over the $96 to WordPress and changed the layout and have committed to writing here more often, and making this a destination for people who like to read about cricket but also about all sorts of things tangentially related to cricket. I have often scoffed at people who spend money on, say, a fancy new journal because they want to start journaling. No, before you spend a bunch of money on that new journal and fancy new pen you need to make sure you actually want to be a person who keeps a journal first, then after you write daily on a legal pad you stole from work you can spend the cash. (Pro-tip: everyone is that person. Everyone should keep a journal and everyone should write in it every single day. Do this.) But I have proven that I can keep this up, and so here I am. I’m excited at what’s to come next.

Plus, no more creepy ads.

***

Other posts in the Why We Write series.

Why We Write

Why We Write, part 3

Why We Write, part 4

Why We Write, part 5

No idea what happened to part 2, or if it ever existed in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s