For the second time in the history of TJRWrestling.com (formerly thejohnreport.net) we are looking to hire some writers via something I like to call the TJR Wrestling Writer Search.
The last time we did this was 2011. To be honest, a lot of the words you'll see below come straight from that post because not much is going to change about the evaluation process. Back then we hired seven guys and of those seven we still have Thomas Briggs, Matty J. Douglas, Mike Ayers and Jacob Lindsey as part of the team. That's current as of now. We've also hired some people internally through people that I thought could fit the bill so to speak and it's worked out.
Now it's time to do a writer search again. I'm thinking about bringing on at least 7 writers depending on how things go. Nobody that currently works for the site is in danger of losing their spot, but I want to add to what we have at the moment. We do have regular columns going up every day. However, we could use more. With the way the site is there is plenty of room for more daily content.
I'm not sure how many columns were sent in two years ago, but I believe it was around 180 or so. The site is doing about double the traffic we were doing then so that could mean over 350 samples this time around. I have no idea. Because of that, I need to put some rules in place.
Rules To Follow
I'll be listing a bunch of rules for you to follow. Please read carefully. If you don't follow the rules guess what? You're probably not getting hired. Rules are important. They're there for a reason. The bolded parts are the most important.
- There is a limit on the length of the columns. That limit is 2,500 words. If it's 2700 words I'll be nice and count it. If it's way more than 2500 words I'm not going to read it all. For minimum I think 700 words is a good number. If it's shorter than that it better be amazing because otherwise you'll have a tough time making it through. It's not the words that matter. It's the content.
Keep those numbers in mind. Send something in that's between 700 to 2,500 words.
- The column should be about professional wrestling only. Call it that or sports entertainment. Call it an action soap opera. Call it whatever you want. The WWE is going to be the biggest topic. Most of you are going to write about that and that's fine with me. You can write about TNA, ROH, Japan or something historical if you want, but the columns about current WWE are the most popular. It's way bigger than anything else.
I don't want anything about MMA, NFL, NBA, movies, TV or anything like that. This is a wrestling site. Write your column about wrestling. I do have TJRSports.com too and in late April we'll probably be looking for writers over there. But not yet.
- You have SEVEN DAYS to submit a column. Technically it's not seven full days, but it's close enough. The deadline is Sunday March 24 at 11:59pmET to send me your column.
This is important too: It does not matter when you send it to me as long as it's here by the end of Sunday March 24. A column that is sent on Monday at 9pm is not going to get preferential treatment over the one that is sent Sunday at 10pm.
You have one week, so there is plenty of time to get your submission in.
- If you send me a recap of Raw, Smackdown, TNA Impact, NXT, Main Event or any kind of TV show it will not be read. We have that covered. We don't really need a ROH, Superstars or Saturday Morning Slam column. Anybody can write a TV recap. It's not something I want to be reading in a column writing sample.
I'm fine if people send me columns about Raw or Smackdown or a wrestling TV show. But I don't want a review. We do those already. We don't need more. Be creative. Try something to make you stand out.
- Use good grammar. Edit your column. Is my grammar perfect? Hell no. I know that. It's above average, though. Bad grammar sticks out. Don't be bad. After you write your column edit it once or twice.
It's better for you to send me a column with proper grammar on Friday then it is to rush it to me on a Tuesday with grammatical issues.
Things to Avoid
- I DO NOT want a fantasy booking column. If you don't know what that is basically it's a column where you write about how you would book a PPV or television for a particular. "This guy beats that guy and then moves on to feud with the other guy" and so on. If you send something like that I will write back telling you that you didn't read the instructions carefully.
- List columns are popular, but they aren't the best in terms of evaluating a writer's work, so unless you have a really unique idea for a list you should avoid them.
If you make it to the site and you want to do a list column at some point that's fine. To get me to hire you in your tryout it's not the best idea.
- Excessive swearing would be a bad idea. I'm okay with it in moderation, but don't overdo it. If you have to ask if a word is a swear word then it probably is.
Don't swear in the title. Don't use any words that cross the line. Again, if you have to ask then it probably is. I swear once in a while when I write. I don't think I'm ever excessive. It's a common sense thing. My preference is to see a column with no swearing although if there's a little of it that's okay too.
The Evaluation Process
My plan is to read every column myself. If I get 300 that means I read all 300. My schedule isn't that busy this next week (I do have another job, for the record), so I'll make sure I get it done.
I think towards the end of the week I may start posting some columns that I like a lot as samples. I want others to see it. The goal of this is to encourage great writing about wrestling.
What I did last time worked perfectly. When I read a column I try to judge what's entertaining. I've been at this for over a decade, so I'd like to think I know what works and what doesn't. For organizational purposes I put a letter grade on the columns. I still have the Word and Excel files with my notes from 2011 on them.
Last time I set aside 23 columns (all given a A- or better) and I sent them to a group of friends to read them, rank them and give me feedback on them. Some of the people on the panel write for this site already while others are people you wouldn't know, but they are friends I trust. Ultimately it's my choice, but the people that get hired will have to do well with the panel.
I will make brief notes on every column I read on a Word file most likely. Perhaps when the whole thing is done I will email you back with those thoughts. I'm not sure if I will have the time.
If You Get a Spot
My request is that you write on a weekly basis.
Seven writers for seven days in the week. Just like we had on TJR before the idea is you would have a day of the week where we'd like you to write. Obviously things happen and you may miss a week or need to go to another day. That's fine as long as you try to let me know.
I understand that life issues always interfere. It's happened to me many times through the years. Don't apply if you think you'd be unable to put up with a schedule that asks you to write weekly.
What will likely happen if you get hired is I'll talk to you about what day might be best. Then I would hope you could have your column ready for that day every week. In my years of doing this I've found that to be the best way.
Having a deadline or schedule makes it easier to write because you know when to start thinking about ideas and when you will have time to write it out.
If you want to write at other sites in addition to TJRWrestling that's fine. If you were getting paid (you are not - see below) then that's different. Since this is a hobby I'm all for you spreading your wings by writing at other sites. I write at other sites too.
Three Things to Remember
- You WILL NOT BE PAID for this. I put it in caps and bolded it to make that clear. What you're getting is the opportunity to write on a wrestling website that has a large audience (about 450,000 monthly page views) and that is very opinionated. What I'm saying is you will get feedback on your work. Some will be great. Some will be tough. That's how it is. If you think you can handle it give it a try.
It's not easy to gain a following in the wrestling community if you start from the bottom. If you start with TJR your work will be read at a site that fans know about as well as people in the wrestling business.
I also write at LayfieldReport.com and always link back to TJRWrestling.com when I post there, so again that's a direct link to people in WWE like Michael Cole & JBL.
I'll be perfectly honest with you. If I didn't get a writing gig at Rajah.com in 2000 (where I still write) then I don't know if there'd be a TJRWrestling.com today. Part of it was luck. I'd like to think a lot of it was because of my talent. Call it what you want. Point is you need a break from somewhere to reach a certain status, so I will do everything I can to help you get there.
- There is no preferential treatment. I've been writing about wrestling since 1999. From the time I start until 2008 I must have "retired" like five or six times. From 2005 to 2008 I didn't write that often. In 2009 I committed to it full time, started the Raw Deal and the rest is history.
The reason I mention this is because I've been doing this a LONG time and have met so many people along the way. Just because you have read my work for 10 years doesn't give you an advantage over the guy that just heard about TJR in the last month. I'm not biased towards my friends. Most importantly it's about what YOU can do not who you know.
When I did this in 2011 we hired seven people. How many of them did I know beforehand? Zero. It's the content that counts.
It doesn't matter if you interact with me on Facebook or Twitter or choose to email me once in a while. The reality is only a small percentage of people do that. Think about it. I read dozens of websites every day and never post a comment. I know most of you are the same way. But when a writing opportunity opens up I know there will be people out there that jump at it because they share the same passion for wrestling that I do.
- If you don't get hired please do not take it personal. It's unrealistic to expect me to hire 30 people at once. That wouldn't work. There are only so many things you can write about with regards to the wrestling business.
My hope is that writing is a positive experience for you whether you get hired or not. Learn from it. Get better. I'm way better than I was ten years ago, five years ago and even last year. You can always learn new things.
I can't say yes to everybody. It's hard for me to try to pick winners in this. If you tried your best, yet you didn't make the cut and you think I'm a jerk because of it then so be it. I've been rejected plenty of times for things I have written. Nobody's perfect.
If you hate me because you don't get picked maybe you should go see Dr. Shelby and he can help you out with those anger issues you have. Relax. It's supposed to be fun.
How to Apply
This is important. Read carefully!
You can send it to me directly in the email or as a .txt, .rtf or .doc (Microsoft Word) file. My preference is you paste it directly into the email. That's easiest for me.
Do not send me a link to your blog or some other site where your column is. Email me the column.
I want you to copy and paste the following into your column submission.
Twitter: (if you have one - not necessary)
(Paste column here)
That's it. Below that goes the body of the column or you can send it with an attachment as I mentioned.
Name - It doesn't have to be your real name. It's your writing name. John Canton is a pen name for me. It's better that you have a first name and last name. Don't do John C. like I used to have. Make up a last name if that's the case. If you get hired and I don't like the name you pick we can change it. It's not set in stone.
Email - I realize that your email address will be in the email you send. I want it written in the email you send for organizational purposes.
Column Title - What are you writing about? Put it in the title. Example: "Why the PG Era is Boring" is a title. Another example: "The 10 Things that I Miss About WWE." That's what you put as the column title. You don't need a name for your column like I have "The John Report" for example. This is more for the specific column title. For example "Why Bobby Heenan was the announcer ever" is a column title.
It's pretty simple.
Words of Advice from a TJR Writer Search Winner
Jacob Lindsey was one of the seven writers picked in 2011. He's still with us. He had some tips in the Monday Headlines today, so I thought I'd re-post them here as well.
1) Consider what you’ll write about after you’re chosen. Writing new stuff every week is harder than it sounds.
2) Don’t force humor into your writing. If it fits, it fits, and that’s fine. Not everything has to be funny.
3) Use complete sentences, correct grammar, and appropriate punctuation. Don’t write like you speak, unless you speak real smart and good.
4) Stand out. I’m not saying those of us who came aboard in the last round of this are the best writers ever. But there was something that we contributed that made us stand out from the rest of the almost-200 submissions. Be original, thoughtful, and mildly intelligent.
5) Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Allow your personality to show in your writing, unless you have a shitty personality. If you try to write like someone else or emulate a style that doesn’t fit you, it will show. Write about what interests you, and write it in a way that’s comfortable for you.
Very well said Jacob. If you need more of a guide on writing I wrote this a few years ago on our About Us page that you can read towards the bottom of the page.
My biggest piece of advice is to edit your work. Don't rush it. If your first paragraph has a bunch of spelling paragraphs that's a major turnoff right off the bat. If you really want this you will take the extra ten minutes to edit the column thoroughly.
This was over 2,500 words! That should show you that I care about this a lot. It's more than some website that says "send an email to this address" and then expects people to send their best work. This site is not a news site. We're a column writing site. That's what we were from the beginning and it's what we will be going forward.
Thank you very much for supporting TJRWrestling.com. The fact that this is happening for a second time is a sign of growth. I didn't know what the site would be when it started in 2009. Then it grew to the point that we got over 4 million views last year and people bringing "The John Report" signs to WWE events too.
It's pretty cool. But I'm hungry for more too. I want to see the site get bigger. We'll give you the platform to share your wrestling opinions in front of a large audience and you help us grow because people will want to read your awesome columns.
How does that happen? By applying in the TJR Writer Search. It's that easy.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Go back to the "How To Apply" section for info on how to send in your column. You can also use that address to ask any questions you may have. If you have other questions you can post them in the comment section below as well.
We are hiring at least seven writers. One of them could be you. Only way to get picked is to send in a column, so get to it!
Remember the deadline is Sunday March 24 at 11:59pmET to send me your column. Don't rush yourself, but don't be late either.
Here's a photo of a second generation superstar that is wishing you the best in your column writing endeavors.
Yes I went there.
John Canton - email@example.com