If you are lucky enough to land your own column in a daily newspaper, you have to come up with fresh content on a regular basis.
Writing a column is a bit different than writing a blog, although they have similarities. Many columnists also write blogs.
One of the big differences is time lines. Many bloggers post five days a week, or once a week. Newspapers have much stricter deadlines. When something is coming out in print, it isn’t up to the writer when to post it.
That tight schedule requires diligence. If you don’t get your column to the editor in time, you’ll soon find yourself out of a job.
Like bloggers and people who write for the digital world, newspaper columnists have to come up with fresh content on a regular basis. That requires a lot of research. A newspaper column may be more journalistic and you have to keep track of breaking news.
You don’t have to be a journalist to write a column. Many people who have specialties often write for local papers. Let’s say you know a lot about food, you could be a restaurant reviewer. Not only do you get your name in print, you get to dine on the newspaper’s dollar. Does everyone ask you for advice? You could write an advice column, like Dear Abby, or her sister, Ann Landers.
Many people attempt to write op-ed, or editorial opinion columns. The holy grail of op-ed writing is having your guest column published in the New York Times. You don’t have to be a celebrity, like Angelina Jolie, who recently wrote a compelling column about her decision to have a preventative mastectomy. Anyone who can express their opinion in an intelligent and currently relevant manner has the chance of getting their column posted.
Whether you write for a large city daily or a small town weekly paper where the biggest news is the local bake sale, a column requires a certain degree of planning and research. It’s a lot harder than people imagine.
Excel is a great time management tool and those Excel columns are a great place for all of that research to land, but it can also be a frustrating bit of software. By using a PDF to Excel converter, you can make your writing life a lot easier.
Gathering news clippings online to write an op-ed piece? Why not convert them into your spreadsheet so that you can take quotes or other information and add it to your article.
Setting up interviews? Many people keep an Excel calendar, but you will also want to look at previous interviews and a bio of this individual. Keeping all of this information in one spreadsheet makes it easy to put together your column when faced with crunch time.
Writers often procrastinate. It’s just our process. Instead of sitting at the computer, we make another cup of coffee, go outside and watch the bees pollinating the flowers, or do anything besides put our fingers on the keyboard. We tell ourselves we are “thinking”.
Guess what? We are. When it comes time to actually put all those thoughts on to paper, a digital format allows us to save time and see it all laid out in an organized manner. That’s the beauty of using innovative software to help you work in this time honored profession.