My readers often ask me how I manage to come up with a new column every week. Let me tell you it is no easy task. The biggest problem is that trying to stay focused is so boring (get it?).
It may not take a lot of effort to write about bathroom etiquette and sports fans but there is a certain amount of thought that goes into it and a lot of factors that help shape the finished product.
Let's be honest, last week's column sucked. They can't all be gems like the one I did over a month ago that mentioned masturbation and didn't infuriate my mother. I consider that a victory.
Last week was a rough week and it showed in how poorly executed my column was. If my heart and mind were in it I am sure I would have come up with better things to say about hover boards and bowties. Those are awesome things and I didn't do them justice.
Despite the rough week and the crappy column, I have still (more or less) been able to pump out a new column every week for the last few years, a feat that impresses none more than myself. Which brings me back to the question many of my readers have: How do I do it?
The first thing that I need to do is figure out what I am going to write about. I always want something profound and meaningful that all of my readers would both enjoy and relate to.
I sit at my desk and stare at something, waiting for inspiration. What I stare at is unimportant, it could be the computer, the floor, the wall, whatever seems most inspirational at the time. Sometimes I will even get up and walk around, waiting for inspiration.
There is usually a lot of waiting and thinking and staring involved in my creative process but when inspiration hits I immediately start writing:
"My farts smell bad today."
Then it is time to break for lunch. Taking this break is actually very important because it lets me clear my head, eat a sandwich, and return to my column with fresh eyes and ideas so I can see what I have written and expand on the idea:
"My farts smell really bad today."
At this point I usually break to unwind with some online gaming or Google searches for videos of dogs skateboarding and little league coaches getting hit in the nuts. Or, depending on the content I have come up with, a bathroom break.
Coming up with awesome fart jokes isn't everything, however. It also helps if you have a tenuous grasp of the English language, which luckily I have.
If you are writing for a crowd that is already highbrow enough to be reading a newspaper, it is important to be sure of your grammar and spelling. Knowing the difference between effect and affect or their and there, when to use a semicolon, how to build a sentence, are all things that my editors tell me I sometimes get right.
You might be amazed at how easy it is to forget the simplest things, like how to build a sentence. A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought.
Example: Brian goes to the Strip Club every Friday.
While more complex sentences describe more than one thing or idea and have more than one verb in them.
Example: I think that the cast of the Jersey Shore wears too much Ed Hardy.
After that you get into adjectives, adverbs, conjugation, etc., that, since I went to public school, never learned. So I make do with what I picked up in college. I graduated from Rick Murphy's alma mater, if that is any indicator.
Finally, I just need to expand on my original idea and stretch it out to 700 words. This gets to be a little difficult, so it is useful to start with ideas that are complex. If the idea is too simple than building on it can be difficult.
Or just use an endless stream of fart jokes.
As you can see, next week's column is already off to a great start.