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COLUMNIZING is the word coined by an American columnist for what we do. And it requires a lot of curiosity. It is automatic. Once I notice something, I can write about it. Operative word: may. Because there are times when I let go and leave God.
The Writer’s Clock has these words instead of the numbers 1 through 12: “Write, Write, Toss, Return, Start Again, Writer’s Block, Mature Drink, Write, Submit, Revise, I -revise, Publish.”
To avoid any debates about whether a columnist is a writer, let’s pretend it’s the Columnist’s Hour with the same words on his face.
In 2003, when I started a columnist for another local daily, I used “Cindy Rand” as my byline. I bought a desktop computer then so I could no longer use a typewriter and send the typewritten column to the editor via snail mail or the family messenger. My first draft is always written by hand, with pen and paper. I even found some of these unused drafts while spring cleaning.
Years later, the laptop replaced the old desktop but the writing process remained the same.
After many years, the smartphone has become a practical option because it makes writing here, there, and everywhere possible, even when traveling. That’s why I stopped using pen and paper.
And then, in the middle of 2022, I noticed that writing made me sad, with dark clouds above my head—the result of constantly writing about the pandemic. So, I decided to stop writing.
It was before Christmas 2022 that I returned to the columnist.
I went back to using pen and paper, and the laptop. The smartphone, too, when I’m out of the house.
The Writer’s Hour, ay, Columnist is repeated for every column, with the “adult drink” being the only thing that hasn’t stayed the same. It used to be tequila. Now, this is the low-carb electrolyte drink.
The editors of this paper are already familiar with the way I messaged them to please wait for the FINAL—yes, in caps—email. This happened after I emailed the column, and I found some errors while checking it as a sent document. I’ll put “last” as the first word in the next email subject to alert editors to use it instead of the first one I sent.
If I find more errors in the “final” column, I will message the editors again to please wait for the “final final” email—yes, two “final” words this time. And there are emails with three: “last last last.” Haha.
Yes, writing, ay, columning can be complicated but it serves as my Morning Pages today.
Julia Cameron’s solution for writer’s block is to write the Morning Pages every day, first thing in the morning, and that’s how I resumed writing last year after a six-month absence.
These days, my favorite topic is low-carb fasting, if you haven’t noticed. Columns like that are for me, so I’m constantly reminded to stay on LCF.
I now tend to write and email columns before the deadline of a particular edition, to use up the time at home. For example, I wrote this on July 5 but for July 14. I will calculate in advance.
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