A Tip of the Hat

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!

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  • http://willyvon1-willyswill.blogspot.com/ William von Rentzell

    Easy, you mean like how you make anchoring the Chicago Tonight show 4 times a week including frequent interviews appear?

  • Kayt Nelson

    I’d be curious to know what some of your recommended column reading might be. :)

  • http://www.wttw.com/chicagotonight Phil Ponce

    Thank you!

  • http://www.wttw.com/chicagotonight Phil Ponce

    I regularly read most of the local columnists in the Sun-Times and Trib. They give me a good local overview.