if you work as a full-time newspaper or magazine sportswriter, it is important to make your copy sing. It is equally important if you are a freelancer because you must impress unfamiliar editors. Feature stories are a staple of sports publications. What online and other publication options are available to freelance sportwriters? It's tough making a career out of freelance sportswriting, so maximizing your skills and your knowledge of the market are crucial.
Update your resume and identify your best feature work. If you are just getting started, accept the possibility that you might have to write for free for a while until you get established.
Check out the dozens of websites for freelance writers. Scan the listings. Find those seeking freelance sportswriters. Contact a local magazine that concentrates on high school sports or a regional magazine that are looking for features on college or professional athletes. Send them your best material and hope they give you a shot.
Think of a theme for your feature. What is the most interesting or pertinent aspect of your subject's life or athletic career? Gear your feature toward that.
Write a creative lead. Lure your readers in. Make it humorous or touching, but write a lead that will motivate your readers to read on.
Use only the best quotes. Boring quotes can turn off a reader. Make your subject sound interesting and worth knowing about.
Let your creative juices flow. Write conversationally. Every paragraph should pick up where the previous one ended.
End the feature in a memorable way. Transport the reader back to an important aspect or time in the subject's life. The last sentence or paragraph should serve as a reminder of the lead or most significant part of the feature.
Make certain everything in your feature is factually correct. Most athletes love to be featured, but incorrect information will invariably motivate that athlete to avoid you in the future and can even lead to a lawsuit in extreme circumstances.
Edit your feature carefully. A misspelling or grammatical error can ruin an otherwise wonderfully written piece.