How to write a column
by Jo Slade - Story: 99741
Oct 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
Oct 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
So, you’ve been thinking about writing a column. You’re muttering, “That Jo Slade, what a bunch of garbage she writes. Each lousy word is like a dagger through my heart. I need to write my own column in order to override her drivel that keeps looping through my addled brain.”
That just makes good sense, but remember, writing a column is serious business, one that involves deadlines. And a big complaint among writers is that procrastination often prevents them from getting their columns written on time. But you know what? Procrastination is for wussies. You’re no wuss. Here’s how to nail that column well ahead of even the most stringent deadline.
Friday, 7 days to deadline:
You are so pumped. You head straight for your computer, but then remember, just in time, that seven days is actually a huge window. Really, it only makes sense to take this day off. Go bicycling, it will clear your mind and give you some great ideas for your column.
Saturday, 6 days to deadline:
Obviously it isn’t reasonable to work on a Saturday. Everybody else is having fun, you should as well. Besides, it will clear your mind and give you some great ideas for your column.
Sunday, 5 days to deadline:
Repeat above. Add a beer and general mind-numbing laziness. This will clear your mind and give you some great ideas for your column. Or, you know, make you sleepy and in need of a nap.
Monday, 4 days to deadline:
You have successfully arrived at Monday, which means it is time to get serious. That’s what Mondays are for. ‘Monday (Mon-Day)’ comes from the Latin term ‘Moan-Day’ (self-explanatory), but you’re not a wussy writer so no moaning for you. No goofing off, no cheesy excuses, you are deadly serious now, you’re in the zone, you are wearing your deadly serious look. Who knows, you might even have clothes on. You stalk, in a deadly serious kind of way, to your desk where you happen to notice that it really needs to be tidied before you can get down to things.
You also realize that you need a coffee to sharpen your mind so that the tidying is done efficiently. That way, you can get to writing sooner, which is what you really crave to be doing.
Back at your desk, with coffee in hand, you realize that coffee without a snack might give you the jitters, which could be a problem while writing. You need a healthful snack, something like an apple.
You see that the apples are tucked ‘way in the back of the ‘fridge, and you really don’t have time for frivolous digging around in the ‘fridge. You have a column to write. Luckily there are doughnuts just down the street, at the bakery.
Coffee and doughnut done, you are now so ready that the words are practically falling out of your brain via your ears. You sit at your desk, you open your page layout program. You hover your fingers over the keyboard . . .
and . . .
wait, it makes sense to have a smooth-running computer for working. If it isn’t running smoothly, it will crash as soon as you get on your writing roll. That’s just hard science. Do a restart, maybe run some maintenance scripts. See what new wallpaper is available. Make sure Solitaire Til Dawn isn’t causing computer glitches of any kind. Keep testing. There, now it’s time to open your writing app and get to work.
Oops! You opened Facebook by accident. This could be a good thing, though, because Facebook will probably give you some great ideas for your column. You notice that fellow columnist Cate Eales is on, typing that she is working on her column. Hold on, she’s actually working on her column? You quickly hunt for videos of the long-ago After Dark Bad Dog and Flying Toaster screen-savers for Mac, to throw her off. It totally works. She now hates you, and has bad dogs and toasters on the brain.
Hmm, what’s with all those folders cluttering up your computer desktop? Realistically, if you get rid of that clutter, it won’t distract you as much from your work. Best just to dump it all into your ‘Miscellaneous’ folder. Whoa, looks as though that folder hasn’t been sorted since 2007, maybe you should go through it. It will probably give you some great ideas for your column.
Oh, while you’re at it, those 10,000 random photos in iPhoto aren’t going to sort themselves.
Three days later, re-reading the interesting stuff in Miscellaneous is done, and 75 of your photos are sorted.
And now it’s Thursday, 1 day to deadline:
You’re glad you didn’t start your column earlier, because by leaving it this late, you are truly motivated. You always work better when you feel the pressure of a looming deadline. You’re at your desk, you’ve opened your program. You’re about to type the title and . . . well, you would still be typing except you realize that you need to get the cottage booked for Christmas.
And that third star in Plants vs Zombies 2 Wild West is tricky, best to try it one more time.
Figure out new hair style.
Organize browser bookmarks.
Answer all email.
Send email to total strangers, keep on top of responses.
Extended bike ride.
Google search path: bicycling in snow > best bike tires for snow > Hawaii holiday locations > best beaches in U.S. > hilarious memes to post on facebook > meme generators > other people’s columns > plants vs zombies 2 reviews > Japanese kimonos > Japanese earthquake videos > facebook > who else is still up at 3 am.
Friday, day of deadline:
Okay, time to book an appointment with your dentist for today. Because there is nothing - absolutely nothing - as guaranteed to get you to choose writing your column instead.
Read more Old as dirt. Twice as gritty. articles
The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.
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For more stories from Jo, please visit the Old as Dirt. Twice as Gritty. archive
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