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Jan 10 / Dilan Ames

Want to become a better writer? Ask for help

Dilan AmesWhen I started at Bleacher Report about a year ago, I had no experience with writing articles, reporting news, recapping games or any of that. I wasn’t even enrolled in school at the time, but I knew sportswriting is what I wanted to do.

I felt I could do it, but I knew I’d need some help, which is where the Advanced Program in Sports Media came in.

Coming into an industry as competitive as this, it was obviously a hindrance not having any experience, so I figured I would take advantage of everything B/R offered to me.

I learned very quickly that, while it is a competitive field, editors at B/R want to help you succeed. When I started, I was constantly in my editors’ inboxes (hell, I still am), asking about one thing, looking for clarity on another. And every time they were cheerful and happy to help.

During my early days, I was having a hard time establishing my voice as a writer. It was hard to take an authoritative voice with things because I was so new to writing with such a large audience. I didn’t want to sound stupid or like I was just pretending to know what I was talking about.

I had no reputation on the site, and I thought that if I tried to write with too much authority, I’d just come off looking dumb or like a know-it-all.

When I finally brought up the issue with one of my editors, he essentially told me: Now that I’m writing on a platform such as B/R, I am an authority. Things clicked. My voice started improving right away, and it’s only gotten better with time and practice.

I know many people are bashful about asking for help, and I was one of them until I started at Bleacher Report. I attribute the majority of my growth as a writer to my editors at B/R.

They’ve made asking for help easy, which is great because I’ve certainly needed it.

All the editors and even a good number of the writers I’ve run into on B/R are eager to help however they can; you just have to speak up. Remember: Closed mouths don’t get fed.

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Dilan Ames is a Washington Redskins Featured Columnist and a member of the Winter class. You can follow him on Twitter @DilanAmesNFL.

One Thing You Need to Know is a series in which we ask members of the Bleacher Report Advanced Program in Sports Media to write about just that: One thing they’ve learned that they would pass along to other aspiring writers.