There has been a fair bit of chat on sailing websites about media releases from a wide variety of regattas being a bit, shall we say, ordinary. Some of the points raised that seem to contribute to this are: A) There are people hired to write these releases are not sailors. B) Often the sailing/ media office is under resourced and is pushed for time – possibly having to process racing results and get out reports of the regatta, and make the sandwiches and buy the gas for the start boat, plus, plus… and finally C) Some of them are just plain badly written.
The good news is that C) is one area the writer has control over. How? By asking. Thirty years ago when I stared writing I was awful. I mean truly awful. For a long time it seriously didn’t know just how incredibly bad I was. But I was keen and somehow confident that I would improve and to try to help with that I wrote to an author and broadcaster in England whose work I admired and started a correspondence with some of my ideas. He has since told me that this early stuff gave him headaches just trying to read my garbled grammar, but I was lucky. He saw a bit of determination and he took the time to correct long sentences, so when they came back to me it looked like a WW II sensor had found a letter in the mail about the Manhattan Project there was so much thick black pencil through my article…
But I improved – and with the knowledge that overnight success takes about twenty years I have been fortunate to become a published author and the Australian writer for Seahorse International Sailing magazine – but I still have that English author in his eighties tapping me on the knuckles now and then pointing out where I could have done better. So if you want to write, or take photos or play serous baseball or design furniture or race sailboats or whatever – find someone whose style you admire and ask them how to move forward. If you really, really want to improve, they will see that energy and passion and desire. It is worth a try and hey, somebody must have helped them along the way… – Blue Robinson.