Awards and Howdys

I receive my awards from Mark Maassen, Executive Director of the Missouri Press Association.

This post is to welcome new readers who may have been attracted by my recent appearance in the Delta News-Citizen.

Welcome friends!

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It’s possible that some of my new readers were regulars of my column back when I worked for the Delta News.  In that case, I guess this is more, “Welcome home,” than just, “welcome.”

Those Delta News days were good times and I miss them…in some ways.  I was stressed by putting in at least 40 hours every week at my full time job working for the Missouri Division of Youth Services, then putting in another 30-plus hours covering sports for the newspaper.  Besides that I started writing a column, the predecessor to this blog, about three years prior to leaving the paper.

“A Different Drummer” was born.

I didn’t charge the publishers anything for either writing the feature or for putting it in the paper.  I did it just for the satisfaction of putting my thoughts into words and sharing them with like-minded people.

Before I decided to end my relationship with the little weekly, several readers encouraged me to enter a contest.  One sports writer friend recommended the Missouri Press Foundation Better Newspaper Contest.  I thought about it and looked up the competition on the internet.  If I entered I would be going up against some of the best writers in Missouri.  Wow, competition would be stiff.  What chance would a little guy from a tiny newspaper in Southeast Missouri have against talent like that?

But, as the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I assembled fifteen of my better (in my opinion) columns.  Then I enlisted the help of my friend and coworker, Monica, to convert the newspaper pages into the PDFs required by the contest, and submitted five entries containing three columns each.

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Lo and behold, after what seemed like two eternities, I heard from the Missouri Press Association.  I had won first place in the Best Sports Columnist category and third place in the Best Columnist – Humorous category!

You can imagine how pleased and surprised I was to find that my work was good enough to receive such an honor.  The Missouri Press Association asked that the winners not publish the fact until after the awards banquet.

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Well, winning the awards was the final bit of encouragement I needed.  Ever since I had decided it was time for me to leave the newspaper, I had been exploring options.  I wanted to keep writing the column.

I have always been a writer and always will be a writer.  Heck, I can remember, even back when I was in grade school and something interesting happened to me, thinking, “I’ll have to remember this for when I write my book.”  Some of those experiences have been fodder for my column and this blog.

As I said, I was trying to figure out how I could continue the column.  I thought of syndication.  However, when I explored that option, I discovered that many people have a column in them but finding a syndicate that will work with them is daunting and financial rewards are small.  Those who try self-syndication usually discover that it doesn’t pay off either.  They spend the majority of their time writing and sending letters to various newspapers, most of which don’t want to pay for their work.  They put much more time into writing letters than they do actually writing their beloved columns.

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So one day, while I was wrestling with my dilemma, Annie and I got together with our son, Andy, his wife, Madison, our granddaughter, Harper, and my mom, for lunch.  As we talked, the subject turned to the fact that I had been notified about winning the prizes for my column.  Mom named several people who said they miss reading, “A Different Drummer,” in the paper every week.  I told her about comments I’d gotten from my readers.

Madison casually asked, “Why don’t you write a blog?”  She explained how many blogs she reads on a regular basis and said that some people even make some money at it.

I did some research on the internet about how and why to do it.  Then I wrote a few columns…er, posts…uh, whatever you call them, for times I would be too busy or when writers’ block might infect me, and was ready.

And thus it began.

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Part of having a successful blog is getting subscribers, lots of them.  A blog with lots of subscribers attracts paying advertisers.  Maybe not a lot of pay, but hopefully enough that I can afford to support my writing habit.  I do have to pay to keep the blog on the internet.

Subscribing to “A Different Drummer” is free.   All you have to do is go to the site and fill out the form (upper, right corner of the page).  You will receive an email asking you to verify that you want to subscribe.

I will only contact you to let you know that a new post is available for you to read or, rarely, to share some important news.  I will never email you to ask for money.  I just won’t do it.

If you enjoy reading “A Different Drummer” and it doesn’t cost you anything to do it, and I can make enough money from advertising…advertising that appears on the page but that you can read or ignore, whichever you want…makes it to where I can afford to keep writing…then I’ll keep on blogging.

And, at the same time, if my advertisers get a little attention from the readers who do check them out, then they can afford to keep paying me to write the blog.

So why not?  Let’s get together on these pages once a week or so.  We’ll grab a cup of coffee, go sit on the porch, and spend a little time marching to the beat of “A Different Drummer.”

 

8 Comments on "Awards and Howdys"

  1. Dottie Phelps | October 12, 2017 at 9:31 am |

    Congratulations on your awards. I enjoy reading your blog…..keep writing I love it.

  2. Wow, I didn’t realize, or had forgotten, that you were not receiving any compensation for the column. It is a pity that the paper did not realize what they had with you. Also, I am very proud and impressed by your accomplishments!! Way to go!!!!

    • Scott Matthews | October 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm |

      It was my decision not to seek compensation from them for the column as that might have implied some ownership of the intellectual property, reprint rights, etc. In other words, it might have clouded the issue of what I was allowed to do with my creation. When I signed the original contract with the newspaper, I added an addendum that I retained all rights to my work. I’ve asked them several times since then to find a copy of the contract and no one there seems to have any idea about its existence. Anyway, thanks again for the kind words. As much as you guys have done to make me proud of you, it’s about time I did something to impress y’all. Ha ha.

  3. I’m in! Congrats again Sweety!

  4. Travis Matthews | October 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm |

    You are first place in both categories to me! I love reading your blogs! I hope you can keep doing it for years to come! Congratulations Dad!

    • Thanks, Kiddo! I’m really proud of all you’ve done too, but mostly for what a great dad your are to my grandkids!

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