A column about writing columns…

People must think writing a column is easy. Maybe they think topics flow in like Bill Gates’ money, making words and sentences stream out of your fingers, clickity-click, onto the screen, spelling out a magnificent piece of work in which people all over town will hunt down to read.

Not so.

If you’re a “Shootin’ the Wit” diehard, you might think writing this column would be especially simple – a compilation of random thoughts a writer should be able to throw together in a half hour or so. It’s not like anything serious or important is ever said anyway, right?

Yeah. You’re mostly right. There are weeks when something is tossed together at the last minute. Other weeks the blank computer screen might as well be a representation of my brain: nothing…. to…. write…. about…

Sure, the column is usually rather erratic, but a person can run low on random thoughts – especially those worthy of expansion. After all, I do have a six-page document consisting of possible topics for future Shootin’ the Wit columns, but how much can you really say about the awkwardness of an elevator ride with a stranger or a car’s check engine light? Other weeks, you dream up an idea so great that the column is written in your mind before you have a chance to physically get it down on paper.

Friends and family don’t hesitate to help in replenishing the pool of possible topics. “You should write a column about Bluetooth headsets!” they exclaim, proud of their awesome idea. Meanwhile, I try to devise any possible direction the column could go and how it could consist of more than three sentences. There would be more material for writing an article making fun of those who use Bluetooth headsets, but I’ve learned publishing that type of information is usually paired with receiving a surplus of “fan” mail the following week.

My dad, an avid reader of many columns, often catches on to the weeks I skip and asks why I missed a week (or two, or three). He makes no effort to understand my explanation of needing to recharge my column writing battery; rather he suggests a writing topic I could “never go wrong with”… politics. Feigning interest, I imagine the emails and phone calls from readers with differing views telling me why I’m wrong. I’ve never been great at math, but I do remember learning an equation that went something like this: politics = crazy people = seriousness.

Obviously Dad doesn’t want my writing to be limited by the Shootin’ tag line: a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously. In other words, I’m not looking to raise anyone’s temp. Rather, stream a touch of humor into their day. Yet, Dad continues to push the subject. Perhaps he’s right. My old man has yet to be wrong.

At any rate, suggestions from anyone and everyone are appreciated. Hearing any type of feedback is encouraged, whether it be complimentary, flattering, or positive. So a special “thanks” goes out to those who’ve let me know you’re reading. And for those who don’t always cherish my writing, I love hearing your comments as well! If you think I’m wrong, my opinions are stupid and my writing is terrible, spill your guts! Please email your comments to: need-to-lighten-up@junkmail.com.

Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

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