Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Plans

The European professional leagues completed their 2012/13 seasons over a month ago, but here in Seattle summer doesn’t really start until the July 4th weekend.  There’s something automatic about the weather where all of the sudden it turns from gray-and-drizzly through June to warm-and-sunny in early July.  That turn came about a week early this year, with the Seattle area experiencing 90-degree weather all last weekend.  In most sections of the United States this wouldn’t be a big deal, but this once- or twice-a-summer warm up is something Seattleites soldier through given most of our residences do not have air conditioning.  Perversely, this can make the office a welcome respite from the heat on days as warm as this past weekend!

It is with this unofficial start of summer that I felt it would be good to outline my plans over the next month or so to the regular readers of my material.  As some of you know, I do all of my statistical analysis and writing in the evenings and on the weekends.  This is not my primary job, as by day I am a senior engineer at a local transportation firm.  The ability to write about soccer analytics as a secondary career affords me certain freedoms to explore topics I might not be able to pursue if it were my primary source of income.  Such an approach also has its limitations, most of which revolve around time.  Balancing the myriad of writing commitments I have made, future projects, my day job, and a family is challenging.  Every so often this means all of these commitments can’t be maintained at the same rate, and one must be temporarily put on the back burner for the sake of the others.

This summer I will be taking a bit of a break from my primary writing gig at Forbes.  There is no good time to take such a break, as there is no real offseason for North American soccer writers given the summer tournaments and the domestic league’s calendar that runs from March to December.  There can only be a “better time” to take a break, and it seems the month of July is one of those given no “major” tournaments are being contested.  The decision to take a break doesn’t come lightly.  It is no secret that in today’s media world part of the game involves regularly contributing to various sites to stay relevant.  There seems to be an intense pressure to never take a break at most websites that leads to minimal time to breath and think, and instead the emphasis is on continuously pushing out material.  This isn’t a complaint, but more a realization all online contributors must deal with at some point that can be challenging given longer-term goals one has for their writing.  I am lucky in that I have a very supportive editor at Forbes who understands the need to take a break, recharge, think about things differently, write a bit in a format not suited to online consumption, and then come back bigger-and-better than ever.

This break will allow me to focus on writing the first few drafts of a few chapters for a forthcoming book and take a weeklong family vacation with my wife and daughters.  I can’t say much more about the book at this time given it is in the early stages, but it does represent a culmination of my first several years of writing that I will be very happy to see published in the future.  It will also be a new writing format for me, having already tackled blogging and periodical long-form writing.  As such, it requires a different skill set and bit more intense, long-term focus that can’t be achieved with regular blogging commitments given my limited free time.

I’ll still be on Twitter, and you will see one or two previously committed pieces from me.  These will, however, be an exception to the general rule of writing silence from me over the next month.  Focusing on these chapters over the next month or so will allow me to come back to blogging in time for the start of the next Premier League season and the run-in within MLS, hopefully with a few new ideas and certainly a renewed energy having completed a major item in from my life’s bucket list.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for brand new material from me in a written format you can head over to Amazon and buy These Turbulent Times: Liverpool FC’s Search for Success.  I am very honored to have one of my pieces for The Tomkins Times included in Paul Tomkin’s “best of” collection, and I was honored further to provide an additional few hundred words of retrospective commentary on the piece’s predictive capability.  If you’re a Red or happen to just like good writing worthy of compensation I’d highly recommend getting a copy of the book.  You all know I am a Gooner at heart, but I am very proud to have many Liverpool friends, especially those within the Tomkins Times community.


I hope you all have a rewarding, exciting, and restful summer.  I’ll see you again in August!

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