Craft Talk Preview: Hit a Home Run In Sports Writing


Emilia Hurst

I recently had the chance to talk with Joe Niese and Nick Erickson about their upcoming craft talk.  Here’s a preview of what we have to look forward to! The event is on Tuesday, February 20th at 6:00pm at the Galaudet Gallery (618 S. Farwell Street).  See you there!

EH:  What are your favorite sports to write about?

Joe Niese:  I’ve strictly written about baseball up until my latest book about Gus Dorais, a famous football player from Chippewa Falls. I’m always looking for a good story and would love to broaden out to other topics, whether they are sports-related or not.

Nick Erickson: I really like to cover hockey because there are so many nuances in the game that multiple plays can become instant story lines. So much goes on strategy wise that the regular viewer may not see, and it's fun to uncover them. Also, the hockey players I have spoken to have been some of the most polished and respectful people I've been around, so that always makes it a plus.

 EH: How did you get into sports writing?

Joe Niese:  I started writing shortly a few years after I stopped playing organized baseball locally. I was working at the Eau Claire Public Library and they had just digitized a bunch of early 1900s newspapers. I keyword searched “baseball” and haven’t looked back. My first article was published by the now defunct Wisconsin West Magazine over a decade ago.


Nick Erickson: My father was in sports media and I grew up in locker rooms, practices and games. And I think many sports writers will tell you there's a professional athlete that didn't make it in us still, so writing about it is the next best option.

 EH: What kind of tips can we expect from your talk?

Joe Niese:  I’ll talk about the marathon process that can be researching a book. I also have a background in traditional publishing and self-publishing, having done both.

Nick Erickson:  I think the most important thing in sports storytelling is the creativity it can bring out in a writer and large range of audiences you can bring in. You have to think so much more than just how a game turned out. Who were the people involved? What were their back stories? Why is this event important to so many people? That's what you constantly have to be thinking.

 EH:  What's your favorite thing about doing sports writing?

Joe Niese:  First and foremost, I enjoy the individual’s journey. I love the minutiae of people’s lives, too. For the longest time People magazine was my guilty pleasure read. I’ve always been sports-minded, though, and read dozens upon dozens of sports-related books and biographies through my teens and early-20s. Being able to emulate that has been a surprise and a great joy in my life.

Nick Erickson:  It gives you the opportunity to meet so many people, and there's a lot of adversity in sports than can make for the best stories if someone overcomes them or is trying to.

And that’s just the beginning.  For more on how YOU can become a sportswriter, be sure to check out our craft talk, “Getting The Ball Rolling: Sports Writing from 300 to 100,000 Words And All The Words In Between” at the Galaudet Gallery on February 20 at 6:00 pm!  Come for the craft talk, stay for the cracker jacks and cold ones!  (Really!  Free food and drink!)