When you work in a Major League Baseball media relations department, and you’re entrusted to write the bulk of the department’s external communications, you start rehearsing press releases (circa my time in that department) in your sleep.
I can’t tell you how many days I woke up to the phrase “The Chicago Cubs today announced” instead of the sound of the alarm clock.
Now that I’m using my words again, I need to find ways to drive traffic to my site and gain followers. As I really, REALLY realize, you have to brand yourself. It’s all about the brand.
So I was kind of thinking that I should write a news release (circa today) to get the word out — something along the lines of:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO — Chuck Wasserstrom today announced the creation of chuckblogerstrom.com, a storytelling blog dedicated to Chuck Wasserstrom’s ramblings about all things Chuck Wasserstrom.
Anyway, I made it through post No. 1 relatively unscathed — and no one told me to stop blogging (and if you thought it, thanks for being kind and not telling me).
So here I am, figuring out the intricacies of how this all works. Write … post … make sure my Facebook friends know (Like me on Facebook!) … alert the Twittersphere … re-post the post on LinkedIn. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Fun Fact: I was an early practitioner of utilizing bullets in game notes and media guides. Big long block paragraphs never have been aesthetically pleasing. Those bulleted notes were very similar to Twitter’s current 140-character count. I guess you can call me an original Twit.
Obviously, I know what I have to do every few days to feed the momentum. Type away. Bring those inner thoughts to life. Don’t be afraid to share my thoughts, no matter how feeble they may be. Just make sure to spell the words correctly and sprinkle in some good grammar in an Emil Faber “Knowledge Is Good” sort of way.
As I started to compose Chuck communique No. 2, the “right” song magically appeared on my playlist. I’ve always drawn inspiration from music, and I couldn’t help but enjoy the awesome timing of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” piping through the laptop speakers.
“And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well … How did I get here?”
Yes, exactly … How did I get here?
A week ago, I was afraid of my own shadow. Then Groundhog Day came … I didn’t see my shadow … and now I’m writing for the masses. And by masses, it means I fully expect double-figure site views today — including my wife, at least one parent, and maybe even one of my kids.
I’ve always liked playing with words. By that, I mean words with double meanings or words that rhyme or the fun alliteration types. I was a legend in my own mind on the Columbia Missourian sports desk a few short years ago, and my copy editing responsibilities included putting (hopefully) interesting headlines on stories.
During my time in the Cubs’ media relations office, one of my responsibilities was writing the core pages of the daily game notes. Utilizing the J-School knowledge, I spent plenty of time trying to craft those attention-getting “jumping off the page” headers for every front page note. In my mind, I wanted to see which beat writers were paying attention to what was on the piece of paper in front of them.
But honestly — and it’s something I’m now figuring out half a lifetime later — I missed being around the day-to-day writing that I had previously been a part of. There is something unique about drafting sentences from scratch every single day.
While I’m not planning on writing every single day (trust me, I’m not interested in reading that much of me), it sure feels good to get a stream of thought going and see where it leads.
When the writing bug was unearthed last week (you have to go all the way back to my only previous www.chuckblogerstrom.com post to read about that), I knew my page had to have a headline that spoke to me.
I could have gone my typical Chuckism route — using phrases that get eye rolls on a daily basis. If you know me, you know I easily could have trotted out “All the Write Moves” or “The Write Stuff” or “I Have the Write of Way” or my personal favorite, “Lefties In Their Write Minds.”
But “Behind The Screen” moved me. It has multiple meanings, and I’m all about the double entendre.
Yes, there’s a picture of a computer screen at the top of the page. No, it’s not mine. My provider (hat tip to Weebly!) included it as one of the header elements for this site. Kind of a cool photo. I wonder if the glass being half full (or half empty) has subliminal meaning.
But “Behind The Screen” pretty much embodies where I’ve spent the majority of my life. I’m guessing that in 25 years with the Cubs … plus two internships … plus five years of postseason play (don’t laugh — there aren’t a whole lot of Cubs employees who can say they went to the playoffs five times) … plus all of those wonderful Cactus League games … that should come in somewhere north of 3,000 games viewed, with a plus/minus of three.
Thought at Large: For any of you saying spring training contests don’t count, go sit through the first 10 games this spring when you’re guaranteed to see 12–16 different pitchers and 32-plus position players every single day. If you have to watch that day in and day out, you know those spring games count.
And for every one of those games, I watched from behind the screen — either in the press box or directly behind home plate. As I exercise my brain cells and exorcise my mental scrapbooks, I’ll start bringing those stories to life. Whenever I have the photographic evidence for amusement purposes, you’ll get to see the artwork, too.
At the same time, I now get to watch my girls from a front row seat behind the screen for all of their softball action — along with their indoor soccer endeavors. I wouldn’t trade any of that. I’ll do my best not to embarrass my kids in blog form, since I get to do that on Facebook and Instagram.
If you think I should have gone a different route on the name, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. I considered “Outside The Lines,” but I didn’t want anyone to take any traffic away from ESPN. Also, “Behind Bars” came to mind — but I’m saving that for later in time.
So that’s how I got here. See you behind the screen.