Periods of Transition

I don't know whether anyone has noticed but I haven't been around for a while.

If I wanted to sound a little pretentious, I'd say I'd been suffering from 'writer's block'. I've had ideas for pieces, and on one occasion I even started to write something. But it didn't flow. The familiar ritual of transmitting my thoughts to the page felt forced and clumsy in a way that it never used to. In the manner of a batsman (something I've never really been, but I've watched a few good ones and I have a vivid imagination) going through a bad trot, my timing was off. My drives were slicing off the inside edge and my pulls were top-edged. My feet weren't moving and the runs weren't coming.

If I wanted to sound a bit less pretentious and a bit more realistic, I've just been bloody busy. Sadly, my day job doesn't involve writing about cricket. About a year ago I moved to a different role in the same office I've worked in since David Gower was still playing. My new job, while much more satisfying than my old one, is also much more demanding. At times recently I've wondered what the inside of my house looked like, and, when I finally found out, I certainly wasn't in the mood to sit in front of a computer trying to say something original and perhaps just a little bit poetic or resonant.

And if I wanted to be completely honest, well, there hasn't been a lot around that's really held my attention. The World T20 came and went, mostly while I wasn't in front of a television, and, as for the Champions League, I know it's been going on but I've found it impossible to muster any interest in it at all. I might have checked one of the scores the other day but I can't really remember.

This encapsulates the difference between those who are fortunate enough to be able earn a living from writing about cricket, and those of us who, in the (hopefully far from immortal) words of the unlamented Kenwyn Williams, remain 'unlicensed'. If we don't want to write about something, we don't have to, but, if we do, nobody's going to give us a cent for doing so.

Some people, though, are kind enough to read and comment, and I look forward to making their acquaintance again over the coming months, because things around the world are about to become a lot more interesting.

As Chris over at Declaration Game has pointed out, the forthcoming series between India and England could be a minor classic. To use an age-old cliché beloved of 'licensed' journalists and bloggers alike, both sides are, to some extent, 'in transition', but, while India will enter the series with the confidence which home advantage and English opposition will bring, there is a dark cloud on the horizon.

If Sachin goes on failing, they may be about to enter the period of transition to end them all.


David Mutton said...

Brian, You were missed. I think I write on behalf of a cadre of cricket bloggers in that we appreciate not merely your content (although it IS excellent) but your kind support of us Johnny-come-Lately's. Looking forward to both India vs England and S.A. vs Australia. Hopefully, after a fairly disappointing year, there will be some classic cricket to savour.

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, David, I really appreciate that.

There's no need to refer to yourself as a 'JCL', although you're right that I've been blogging for a long time now. I almost put something in the post about the fact that when you've been doing it regularly for as long as I have, it's hardly surprising that you get a bit tired of it. This is why so many bloggers from the years when a lot of blogs started (roughly 2004-7) have fallen by the wayside. It's obviously much easier to maintain a regular output if you get paid and have a guaranteed readership.

As you may have gathered, I kept an eye on the USACA saga and was particularly interested in the reference to 'unlicensed' journalists (or bloggers) as if we don't know what we're talking about or something.

A nice feather in your cap to have been thretatned with legal action by a cricket board, even if it was the USACA!

David Mutton said...

Starting a blog is easy. Maintaining one requires a level of dedication. Hell, I stopped blogging for 2 years so I should know. For what it is worth, I have found that the key is writing on things that interest yourself. Google Analytics might be fun but I don't think readers alone is sufficient (especially when the reality, or at least my reality - not many readers - hits). Plus, endless identikit series previews/match reports from people who have watched it on television, are ultimately tedious unless the writer is very, very talented.

Brian Carpenter said...

All very true, David.

A major change in emphasis for me came after a couple of years when I realized there was no point in trying to be topical or cover everything that's happening.

For one it's impossible, given how much cricket is played these days, and people who have more time than you and are paid to do it will always get there first and cover things in more depth.

So yes, write about what interests you, try to think of an unusual or interesting angle, get it written and then try to circulate it as widely as possible.

Paddy said...

Keep at it Brian. You always give a different and very thoughtful/readable twist. As David says, many blogged match reports are desperately dull. You never do that. But it is a hard slog, especially when activities that make money should take precedence. I speak as someone who has had lots to blog about this summer but no time to do so... I blame Twitter.

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, Paddy.

Are you being allowed to stow away on the plane to India?

Anonymous said...

Brian, something else that separates us from the correspondents may be that they already have their 'Tendulkar retires' piece three-quarters written. On the bright side, that makes us a bit more spontaneous.

Looking forward very much to exchanging views over the coming months.

As a side note, the member who runs the unofficial MCC forum has been very supportive of me using it to promote the blog.


Brian Carpenter said...

Cheers, Chris.

Is the 'unofficial forum' different to the 'Online Pavilion'? I assume so, as the OP always looks pretty official to me (not that I go there much).

Sounds as though it might be worth investigating.

Paddy said...

Not going to India, alas. Simon Barnes going. Guess that means I'll actually be covering some of it from London. Can't see the chief doing press conferences.

Brian Carpenter said...

Ah, good old Simon Barnes.

Either completely brilliant or completely unreadable, I find.

livescore said...

Good metaphorical language you have used there so it seems that you are having tough time in the last couple of weeks,well, it's usual I think for the writers that they fell themselves burdensome and clumsy and writing seems a tough task for them and it feels boring but you will be fine.I suggest you to take a break and take rest for a while or may be visit some place healthier.

Subscribe in a reader