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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Jones’

Awhile back I added Esquire’s Chris Jones to my collection of writers and their origin stories. I got the story of Jones’ big break from his blog, which turns out to be kind of a gold mine for people – like me – who like to geek out on other writers talking about their writing.

Are you one of those people, too? Check these posts out:

How It Begins includes the actual email exchange that led to Jones landing the assignment for The Things That Carried Him, a 2009 National Magazine Award winner for feature writing.

Losing’s Reward is a brutally honest post about Jones’ Roger Ebert profile missing out on the National Magazine Award nominations, and Fear is about, well, the fear and doubt that infect the writing process.

NO lists 20 things that “should rarely if ever appear anywhere near your copy.”

Bonus link: Jones’ Esquire colleague Scott Raab also posted some writing advice on his site awhile back. This is the meat of it:

Writers love to write — and not because it’s easy. Getting it right isn’t easy at all, and that challenge is a big part of why writers love to write. It’s a high, working on your game, a way of being in the world that feels absolutely honest and true.

Anyone, especially in his or her twenties, saying ‘I have no time to write’ because of a job or anything else is full of crap. Writers write. If you can’t find time to write, don’t worry about becoming a writer. You’re not a writer. You’ll never be a writer. Find something else that lights you up.

Same with reading. Anybody who has no time to read isn’t a writer. All the work necessary to learn how to write boils down to reading and writing. This is not subtle or nuanced advice, obviously. I stress it here because of how often I talk to people who seem to think there’s a shortcut. I know no shortcuts.

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I’ve written before about my habit of digging up the “origin stories” of writers I admire. This weekend, while procrastinating on a story rewrite that’s due on Monday, I fell down the internet rabbit hole (it started with a Twitter reference to a writer-on-writer feud, detoured through a bizarre story about a person in a pink gorilla suit crashing a Grantland recruitment meeting, and finally led me to a writer’s blog on writing) and came across a new one, by Esquire’s Chris Jones.

Jones first came on my radar with his incredible profile of Roger Ebert a couple years back. Here’s the story of how he got into journalism. It begins with a big-name former journalist – the Headmaster of his graduate school residence – taking note of his writing and setting him up with a job interview, and ends with Jones landing a gig as a sports writer at the then-brand new National Post.

(Incidentally, Jones started that job at almost the exact same time that I, a self-righteous 16 year-old, scrapped plans to go to journalism school because I didn’t want to work for Conrad Black, who then owned the Post and almost every other paper of note in Canada. By the time I finally circled back around to journalism in my mid-20s, Black was a convicted felon, newspapers were generally considered to be a dying breed, and Jones was a regular at Esquire.)

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