Lazy Writing

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One hundred and eight years later, the drought is over and the Cubs won the World Series. The momentous occasion marks the end of another era: a century of lazy writing.

Lazy writing is something Cubs fans tolerated on a weekly basis. The offenders were most often sportswriters, those scribes embedded with their teams or writing from their ivory towers. If their teams were losing, they could fill a thousand-word column how management was making improvements in key areas, through player acquisition and basic drills, then wrap everything up with saying their team was not the Cubs. (Red Sox reporters, who should know better, jumped on the lazy writing bandwagon after their curse-breaking 2004 World Series win.)

Political pundits were not immune, saying that while a political party may have failed to gain a seat in fifty years, they didn’t “suffer the futility of the one-hundred-year Lovable Losers from the Northside.” And it wasn’t just sports and politics. Anything, anywhere would have a Cubs reference if you looked long enough. There would be the inevitable goat reference, which everyone understands without extensive explanation, followed by the exact number of years since the Cubs hoisted the trophy. All of this and more would happen every damn week, damn month, damn year.

Now the writers will pick on the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals who last won a championship in 1947 when they based in, of all places, Chicago. Sixty-nine years of losing doesn’t have the same romance or intrigue as one hundred and eight, does it? Like I said, lazy writing is done.

I suggest to writers of all ken and background to take this death of lazy writing as an opportunity to look at their own craft. Are you using familiar metaphors and overused clichés? Why are you doing that? You have a blank canvas! You can do anything you want. You are creating a new world every time you sit at the keyboard, and you can start by not listening to the experts. Shakespeare created over 1700 words, they say, by breaking the rules.

Your universe, your rules. Do it and have fun, too. If writing is work, you’re doing it wrong. Trust me.

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