Showing posts from August, 2005

How I do what I do

I was talking to someone about being a humor writer a few days ago, when they asked how long I have been doing this.

"Over 10 years."

"Wow! How do you come up with something new every week?"

I'm asked this question quite a bit, and I have a standard answer -- "current events," or "I steal from Dave Barry" -- but then I realized I had not thought about this in a l-o-o-o-ong time. I've published over 530 columns, and I only repeat old colums about six times a year because of sickness or vacation. Even then, I have to edit and tweak those things, so it's not like I have a free week.

So basically, I have no clue how I do it. I just come up with an idea -- hopefully more than 4 hours before my deadline -- and start sketching out some notes on a handy piece of paper. But I invariably forget to write them out, or I lose the notes, and then I'll be sitting in front of my computer at 9:30 on a Thursday nigh, trying desperately to reconstruct …

Two-time loser

Grrrr! Stupid National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

I submitted three of my best columns from 2004 for the NSNC Column Contest in the "Humor, for newspapers with circulation less than 100,000" category, and not only did I not win anything, I didn't even get an honorable mention?

What's going on?! I've honed my craft, tightened up my writing, and done everything I can to get better. And trust me, my stuff has been waaaay improved over what I did eight or nine years ago. Just this past year alone, I've seen huge improvements over what I wrote just last year. So how these short-sighted, narrow-minded -- wait a minute. That was the 2004 contest. I can't submit my 2005 columns until next year.

Never mind. At least my wife still thinks I'm funny.