On Oct 3, 1998 Andy Rooney celebrated his 2,500th newspaper column, which were then appearing in 144 newspapers across the country (lagging behind columnists George Will and Dave Barry).
“The column,” Rooney wrote, “is usually about 700 words long. Seven hundred times 2,500 comes to
1,750,000 words. The average novel is 125,000 words.”
He went on to note “If the column is any good, it usually takes me less than two hours to write. If it isn’t any good, it can take me all day.”
Rooney feels “It is a great privilege to write a column.” He claims to be an essayist, who, by definition, can write “about anything.”
I, too, like to write “about anything,” and enjoy writing most when I choose my subject. That’s one reason I freelance instead of joining a newspaper staff. Writing in areas I have no interest in—like sports, politics and military—makes writing “work” for me. Freelancing makes it more hobbyish, because I am free to express my thoughts in and on scripture, life events and news—responding to, exploring, seeking therapeutic release through and ultimately communicating on whatever subject I choose to whomever takes the time to read my productive ramblings. Some people receive communication through my writings when other ways of communication fail.
Yet I wonder as I write, “Who wants to read my words?”
“Sometimes I get thinking how presumptuous it is of me to assume anyone cares what I think,” Rooney ended, “but a writer can’t spend a lot of time being modest or he’d never write anything.”
Touchee! I’ll continue writing, sometimes only for myself. But most of all, writing allows me to leave a legacy for those who come after me. That is, if I can be presumptuous enough to assume anyone cares what I think!
—from Commentaries on News and Life self-published by Carolyn
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