Whit’s End: The challenge of writing a weekly column | PostIndependent.com

Whit’s End: The challenge of writing a weekly column

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com

I admire columnists. Always have, really, since the time I sent Woody Paige a snarky response to a Denver Post column bashing the Jacksonville Jaguars. (I was 15 and didn’t yet know the term snarky, but I was well versed in team spirit.)

(Also, did I mention the Jaguars won?)

Writing a recurring column is a challenge. I’m impressed by news columnists who crank them out three times a week, like my friend John Archibald in Birmingham. A lifestyle columnist who can write weekly without overusing the word “I” is my hero.

I frequently read Anna Quindlen’s collections to see how she did it. Sports columnists offer insight and analysis. When well-executed, opinion columns may impress me the most. It’s hard to write about a divisive issue and bring a new perspective to light. If you can do that, I’m going to listen, regardless of whether we agree.

Sometimes I come up against this weekly deadline without much to say. I already drafted one column today but dismissed it as sanctimonious. I’ve rejected, again, the column a friend insists I write someday: How I live in Colorado without trying pot. (It isn’t hard. And I just don’t have much to say about it. Lots of people don’t partake, and the fact that I’ve never tried it just isn’t that interesting.)

Here are a few more things I won’t write more about — at least, this week:

I hear NBA ratings now exceed NFL ratings. I would pretend to be miffed, but I’m actually a fan of college ball.

Speaking of college ball, no, I haven’t filled out a bracket. I was talking about that oblong ball and the game I wouldn’t want my hypothetical child to play. (There’s probably a column about this in my future. If I wouldn’t want my kid to play, how can I cheer for others to take these risks?)

So long as we’re on sports, this spring I plan to attend a game at Coors Field. I’m not actually a Major League Baseball fan, either, but baseball’s cool. And so is Denver.

My hometown. Not this week, anyway. Anyone who’s met me knows I manage to work Birmingham into most conversations. As Beyonce says, I ain’t sorry.

Although Frontier’s direct flights from Denver to Birmingham start next month, so you better believe I’ll have to celebrate that soon.

I’m not going to write about United. The headlines of all these dog articles make me sick.

I’ll spare you another column about my cats. For now.

Shoulder season. I said all I had to say last year.

The magic and misery of $24 mascara.

Vegetarianism. I’m dabbling in it, and I need to make some decisions here soon.

Politics.

Until next week, until next deadline, those topics are off the table. But when you write every week, there’s no telling what will come up next.

Features Editor Carla Jean Whitley is an introvert who sometimes grows tired of being public. It’s worth it, though, for the opportunity to tell stories.


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