Aging, writing and thoughts on both

I turned 39 years old last week. When your birthday also happens to fall right before the start of a new year, it’s an occasion that also lends itself to some reflection and self-analysis.

All in all, things are good. I was able to quit my part-time job and return to just freelance writing and editing as a means of making a living. I branched out from primarily relying on the sports journalism market. I am still in relatively good health, as are my wife, dog, and parents. I have a reliable and supportive network of friends.

Lots of people have it much worse.

Professionally, though, I’ll admit there’s still somewhat of a void. I’ve always aspired to write fiction (be it in the form of a novel or shorter work), and the only thing I’ve learned is that it is much easier to hope to write fiction than it is to actually sit down and do it.

So while I still have responsibilities for clients that pay the bills and keep the lights on, my goal for 2017 is, simply, to write.

Write a novel. Write a short story. A script. A comic book.

Just write, dammit.

The good news is that it isn’t too late. Stan Lee was 39 years old when he wrote the first Spider-Man comic. George R.R. Martin was north of 40 when he wrote Game of Thrones.

Am I saying I am capable of producing anything that will resonate on the level of either? Nope… and, besides, that’s not for me to decide. I can’t worry about writing what will sell or appeal to a certain audience. If the final product isn’t something that I like, that I am proud of, then it won’t work.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to reach my goals… one word at a time.

What goals have you set for the new year? Let me know and join the conversation by leaving a comment, or tweeting me @john_moorehouse.


That old familiar feeling



In the world of sports writing, there’s nothing quite like Friday night football.

If you work inside a newspaper office, there’s a calm before the storm. Calls with reports from completed games start coming in around 10 o’clock. Then, writers out in the field start filing their stories at 11 or later. Picture a blank slate that has to become a complete sports section — ideally, with as few errors as possible — in just a couple of hours.

When you are out reporting from a game, there is deadline pressure as well. The section cannot be completed until that story is received. And, unlike college or pro sports, there’s not going to be a media relations department to hand out a complete report of stats. You have to track them yourself — every play.

Last night I was at the Stone Castle in Bristol and while it wasn’t the first week of the season, it felt like more like real football. Maybe it was because the game — a 45-21 Tennessee High victory that was pretty close until the Vikings ran away with it in the final minutes — was more entertaining than last week’s blowout at Sullivan North.

For me, it had more to do with that deadline pressure. Working in Bristol meant I didn’t have the luxury of driving back home 30 miles before filing. It meant hopping in the truck and scooting down Volunteer Parkway to use the wi-fi at a nearby McDonald’s. It meant adding up final stats and transcribing quotes with conversations all around me.  I filed my report for the Times-News, then made the first editing pass on the Gate City-Richlands story by a new writer at Tricitiessports, Zeke Newton.

It probably doesn’t sound like fun to most people, and there definitely is a level of stress involved, but I enjoyed feeling that deadline pressure again. Probably because it had been so long since I’d been in that situation on a Friday football night.

You can read my complete report from last night’s South-Tennessee High game here (subscription required).

Want to learn more about sports writing, or freelance writing in general? Looking for a writer for your upcoming project? If so, contact me at


Back to the gridiron


Last year I didn’t cover a single football game. Not one.

I had my reasons — that whole, trying to actually get sleep at some point in the day was a big one  —  but it felt weird being away from the game for so long.

Keep in mind that there was a time when football was a huge part of my life and my schedule. When I was a beat writer chasing those Tennessee Vols, my entire routine revolved around my responsibilities chronicling those orange-clad fellows in Knoxville.

Fridays meant either covering a game or, more likely, helping out in the office, taking games over the phone, helping edit stories and proof pages. Either way, it meant a late night, and if the Vols were kicking off early the next day, it would mean a long day of work on very little sleep. Extra logistics got thrown into the mix for road games, back when the budget allowed for such luxuries. Early kickoffs or games played relatively far away– Florida, Alabama or Vanderbilt, for instance — likely meant heading down the day before and skipping the Friday-night grind.


After I left the paper and joined up at, it was all high school football, all the time. I spent a good portion of those first couple of falls covering my alma mater, Dobyns-Bennett. Sullivan South, Sullivan North, Daniel Boone, David Crockett and Sullivan Central were regular stops as well.

Last year, it all stopped.

Now that my schedule is more flexible again, I’m able to get back to covering football, and last night’s season opener between North and Central was my return.

Mind you, North’s 41-0 shellacking of the Cougars certainly was not pretty — especially for the Cougars and coach Chris Steger, who had about as dismal a head coaching debut as a guy can have. But it felt good to be covering the game again.

I also found myself in a teaching role. Zeke Newton, the newest part of the team at TriCitiesSports, tagged along to see how I cover a game and get some practice tracking stats — which is no small challenge during a football game.


Maybe you’re here because our paths have crossed at some point through the years.

Maybe you are interested in learning more about what life is like as a professional writer and editor.

Maybe you got to know me in one of the few moments when I am not tethered to the laptop.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad you’re here.

I decided to create this site to share more about my career, my personal life and what it means to exist as a professional freelance writer.

You can learn more about me and my professional background here.

This life is not always easy, but the freedom and flexibility it allows is amazing.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @john_moorehouse.

If you are looking for a writer or editor for your next project, contact me. I would love to hear from you and add you to my list of clients.