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Writing a Column · 25 May 2007

I have been writing my column for about six months now and even though what I write does not always make it into the paper due to space restrictions and other considerations, I have mostly made my weekly deadline. Recently, I published my own website (www.mediocreman.com) that contains both the columns that make the paper and those that do not. By having that website, I have committed myself to posting a column every week. Having only written a weekly for 6 months, I often wonder how professional columnists do it.


For the last couple weeks, I have been trying to put up my own website so that people can read my columns whether those columns make it into print or not. It was a productive two weeks in terms of publishing my website but I missed a deadline for my column. It brought those professional columnists to the front of my mind. I wonder how they can put together a column week in and week out. I wonder how they manage to develop a loyal following writing about whatever their niche is. I wonder how they manage to meet every deadline. For me, life sometimes gets in the way and they have lives too. Yes, they happen to write for a living but I am sure that every now and then, life happens and gets in the way somewhat.


It might seem easy to just muse about stuff and then put words on paper. For the most part, I can do it without much trouble. But there are times when ideas do not come and the words do not flow into the keyboard. I struggle with not just what to say but how to say it. Being a part time writer, I usually have time to scan the newspapers for what is happening in the world but rarely do I have time to read whole articles. So I just comment on life and living and hope that people see themselves in what I write.


Full-time columnists seem to know what is going on all around them and throughout the world. They must plan their columns weeks and maybe even months in advance. They write from the heart but they seem to be the fount of knowledge on their pieces.


When I have time, I like to read Jerry Large in The Seattle Times. He is a wonderful writer and his pieces hit home whether they are about the troubles of the Seattle schools or the conversations he has with his son or observations he has made about his neighborhood. His stories resonate with truth. I guess that is why I like him.


I still wonder how he comes up with two pieces a week. I wonder if he ever misses deadlines because life happens. I wonder if there are times when his ideas do not flow. Being a part-time writer, I think that it must not be so for the professionals. But then I think about it and know that what happens to me must happen to all writers at some time or another. Even professionals.


It may have only been six months since I started writing a weekly but I feel like I can continue indefinitely. Yes, even in this short time, I have had life interfere, I have had ideas stop, and I have had words fail me. But I will persevere and remember that writing, like any craft, is developed with the proper tools and time. I hope to be writing for a long, long time. Regardless of how many readers I have.


It has been a great six months so far. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Published 24 May 2007 in The RiverCurrentNews

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