"What are you doing? Picking another writer's article isn't going to make you a good, or any sort of, writer," said one of my friends who was watching my activity on the computer screen. I couldn't respond.
That was four months back as I was hobbling toward the dream of writing my first article on Bleacher Report. But after 10 articles, 548 comments, and thousands of article reads (of other writers) later, I know my response.
Why do we click on the orange "Pick of the Day" button? Is it that we expect a favor to be returned by the same writer? Is it because the writer happens to be our favorite, so reading doesn’t matter at all but picking does? Or is it because we loved the piece as it stated an obvious fact about our team?
I think most of us would say "no" to the above questions. But then why do we do it?
There are a few reasons, although they are based on my personal experiences, that rule our habit.
It’s a well researched article
Some articles are based on facts and numbers, but that doesn’t mean the article is just all numbers and no words.
Due credit should be given to a writer who has strained his/her eyes for hours and has gone through a whole lot of data (either relevant or irrelevant). Dishing out facts is one thing, presenting them in a way that even a five-year-old can understand is another.
Examples: Jamie Ward’s Media Myths: Rafa Benitez and His Transfer History With Liverpool Football Club and T.A's The NFL's Top 10 First Overall Draft Picks
It’s the sort of an article that makes your day
Articles should be recognized that attempt humor and somehow make your day. Due credit should be given to a writer by acknowledging their creativity of linking things that go unnoticed by the public, and presenting them in the best possible humorous manner.
Examples: Sergey Zirkov's The Tale of Roddick Hood and The Men in Whites and Zahi Sahli’s Transfer Rumors & Realities: Extraordinary Transfer Buzz
It’s an article that opens a new dimension of writing in your brain
How many times has B/R come up with something that has changed your way of thinking about writing? I think it’s quite close to thousands of times if you are an avid reader.
There are some articles that you would love to read twice and find the true meaning of what the writer is trying to say. And then it would be "Hey! I can think like that." Due credit should be given to a writer for opening a new way of viewing the writing world.
Example: Saraswathi Siriginia’s Sea of Voices
It’s an article that touches you the most
There are some articles that bring out the best true feeling straight from the heart: personal experiences, either of joy or sadness, which instill in your heart mixed feelings.
Due credit should be given to a writer for sharing such an experience in any presentable writing.
Examples: Todd Civin's "You Came in 14th, Dad...How Great Is That?", David Gore’s The Dark Cloud Of Hillsborough, Pete McKeown’s To an Athlete Dying Young, and Paul Swaney’s The Story of a Smile at Wrigley Field
It’s an article that educates you on how to write on B/R
Articles that guide you on your way to become a better writer shouldn't go unnoticed.
Greatness is achieved by sharing it with others. One of the best ways is to share the secret of writing a good article. It surely rubs off on a host of others.
Due credit should be given to a writer for being selfless and encouraging others to improve the art of writing articles in a better way.
Example: Leroy Watson’s The Three E's of Bleacher Report: Educate, Engage, and Entertain
In the End
I remember one of my favorite English teachers' advice when I asked her what it would take to be William Shakespeare, "You see, you can’t be Shakespeare but what you can be is a Shakespeare in your own way. Even if you can’t achieve that, at least help others achieve the Shakespeare inside them."
Even if I can’t be a good writer I can at least help others become one by crediting their hard work and good writing by awarding a POTD. It’s the least I can do on Bleacher Report.
Call it crazy or just plain "nuts" but I just love distributing POTD’s. If my friend asked me the same question of how good a writer I will be if I credit other people’s work, I know my answer.
That’s the crazy habit of distributing POTD’s.