This is the 101st blog I’ve written since I started this exercise back in February. And I almost did something incredibly dumb: writing another blog on the same topic. I was having a bowl of cereal this morning and glanced at Sunday’s New York Times, which is still sitting on the kitchen table, largely unread. And I was feeling guilty–again–for not having finished reading it yet. There’s a kernel for a blog, I thought, but then I double-checked. Yup, I’d written about the same thing back in April.
It’s another reason I have so much respect for newspaper columnists who write on original topics several times a week. The columns are sometimes brilliant, usually just plain excellent, and, on very rare occasions, only so-so.
But I marvel at what it takes to come up with so many original ideas and to have the writing chops to execute them. What I write is NOT a column, it’s a blog. And, for the most part, I think readers’ expectations for a newspaper column are still higher than they are for most blogs; so, too, is the accompanying pressure on a newspaper columnist to regularly crank out something cogent and compelling.
Sure, it’s an honor and an accomplishment for a respected newspaper to give someone prime real estate on their pages. It must be heady to have the Trib or Sun-Times feature your picture and byline. But status and stress go together. And, even if you’re an innately talented writer, what a challenge it is to be smart and original week in and week out. It ain’t easy, kids. Another reason not to try it at home. I tip my hat to those dedicated columnists who make it look so easy!