Being a global company with over 600 exceptional employees, we are a hot bed for interesting talents and creativity, from multilingual experts to book writers. Multiple studies have researched and proved the benefit of pursuing hobbies outside of work and have identified the correlation between employee happiness and productivity. Creative pursuits not only encourage relaxation, but contribute to a healthy, active brain.

A rising passion

Writing and football (Leeds United, of course!) have always been two things I’m passionate about, ever since I was young. During my childhood days at school I wouldn’t have considered myself the brightest student. Having dyslexia was a challenge; however, it didn’t take away my thirst for writing. This was an aspect of school that always stood out to me – I wasn’t interested in the majority of other lessons.

As a football-obsessed child, I spent my free time writing match reports and studying Leeds United statistics. Fast-forwarding a few years to 2004, to my surprise I managed to secure myself a place at university to study Sports Journalism.

This enhanced my writing skills and strengthened my passion to become more than just a hobby. During my degree, I started producing work for free, in the hope of some recognition from Leeds United. I managed to maintain a good relationship with them throughout university, and kept in contact with their media team.

The start of my writing journey

In 2011, a close friend and I made a brave decision to pitch an idea surrounding statistics writing. We contacted a publishing company who welcomed the idea, which excitingly led me to the start of my writing career – the publishing of our first book in November 2012! We named this ‘All White: Leeds United’s 100 Greatest Players’. Within eight months, we got a turnaround from the publishers and the book really took off. It felt amazing to see my name on a published piece of work, and spurred me on to take my talent further.

Deciding what I could write about next, I spent my time researching missing gaps in the market, contacting authors who had written similar books and studying major events in the history of football.

I came to the realization that the 1980s hadn’t been the greatest of years for England, with the occurrence of devastating events such as the miners’ strike, the Hillsborough disaster and the Liverpool disaster. I figured that football was a low priority at this time, and thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss.

To take this investigation further, I gathered interviews with Leeds players themselves and collected information surrounding the seasons of football. Excitingly, this led to the publication of my second book in November 2015 – “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Leeds United.”

Writing and the workplace: what is the link?

Seeing my own published books in well-known bookshops has greatly improved my confidence, to say the least. My writing ability actually helped me secure the role I’m now in at thebigword as an MI Analyst. It is crazy to think that I might not have been fortunate enough to secure a job I thoroughly enjoy without writing books!

I believe that having a hobby separate to the workplace is incredibly important too. It’s imperative to split your time into a healthy balance of work and hobbies or extra activities. Not only does this help my performance in the workplace, but it also refreshes my mind and allows me to focus on something else.

I have my third book coming out next June and it’s great to have something to look forward to beside my daily routine. I can reflect on my journey so far and proudly say that by the age of 30, I have two published books.

Andrew Dalton, MI Analyst (Twitter: @lufcstats)