Words count

Many people ask me how I get the ideas for these alleged columns. The other question I sometimes get is how I manage to write one every week. At the risk of exposing how the sausage is made I will give you a peek into the exciting world of big time tabloid newspaper column writing. This week, like so many weeks, I have no firm idea of what I am going to do until I sit down at the computer. I will bang out a few sentences to get warmed up. Then I will check the most important device in column writing. The word count. One hundred and five. Goal is four hundred and fifty.

Hmmm…what now? Beverage break. Now with a cup steaming beside me ideas will surely come, right? Nope. I know. I’ll surf the internet for inspiration. Why do we call it surfing, anyway? I’ll google that. Back in a minute.

Well the short answer seems to be that someone called changing the TV channels with a remote “Channel Surfing” and the term was sort of borrowed for the internet. I found ten people who take credit for this. One hundred ninety five words in case you are wondering. This week is the one where we set the clocks back an hour. I could write something about that. Nah. Been there done that.

Bitch about having to rake my leaves? Well, truth be told I haven’t raked them this year. The excuse being that I am waiting for all of them to leave the tree. Waiting for the leaves to leave. Get it? Heh. I love the English language. I mean how you can use a word to mean different things. I am not a mean man but the end justifies the means. And the mean count is three hundred and four.

Home stretch. Speaking of home stretch I could write about the World Series. I suggested as much to the long suffering wife. “Shouldn’t you wait until it’s over next week?” she asked. But I could write it like I did for the election, where I was so vague that either side could have been the winner. I got the patent pending “look.” No sale.

Sometimes I just sit and think. Other times I just sit. Sometimes the columns just write themselves. Then there are times like this where they have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of wherever they come from.

Four hundred and thirty nine. If I was a horse I could smell the barn. Sprint for the finish line. Last lap. Checkered flag. Victory lane. Four hundred and thirty eight.

Close enough for government work. (443)

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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