The secret to writing editorials

Photo by Tyler Meuter

So this is an editorial. Not that grand a start, is it? Why don’t you try writing one?

It might not seem that difficult, but once you actually sit down and have a blank screen staring at you as if to mock your incompetence as a writer, you realize that the inanimate page might have a point. You have no idea what to do with it.

The main problem with editorials is that they are supposed to be someone’s opinion. As this editorial’s writer, that makes me the opinionated individual whose idea it is. Unfortunately for me, I do not really know what opinions of mine are actually worth writing about. Sure, I could write several hundred words about why grey is the best color and how it depends on my mood as to whether it should be spelled as gray instead, but who would read that?

To make an editorial worthwhile, its writer must have an opinion on something of importance to the readers, but I am just not that opinionated about politics (I wait until closer to election time) or school (We are here. We are learning. Classes are tough. Yay!) or sports (the closest I get is ping pong or billiards and then I am just playing for fun, not watching the professionals).

This leaves me here (Hi!), with nothing to write about, a blank screen, and the creeping feeling that I am wasting my time which eventually morphs into a feeling of relief once I have found something, anything, upon which to write. Sadly, this time around, I have run out of luck. I simply cannot think of something noteworthy that I have a unique opinion about.

Realizing this was, in fact, an opinion, I decided that my editorial (hooray for self-referential writing) shall be about the perils of writing editorials. While some might have no end of fun telling me that I cannot do that, my reply will be, quite simply, either I just did (Hello, actual readers) or that I will go write a serious editorial on zombies or something, content in the knowledge that I just spent a bit of time actually enjoying writing instead of gazing dejectedly at a contemptuously bleached screen.

Really, editorials are much like anything else. When you start to play an instrument, for instance, you sound terrible, but if you stick with it, you will probably still sound terrible for years until you wake up one day and finally realize, to the relief of those who listened to you perform, that your true calling is not remotely in the realm of music. Okay, I need a new metaphor, that one was broken.

Each time you learn a new piece of origami, it looks terrible at first, and perhaps you can only manage to get through half of the steps before it becomes a torn and crumpled mess in need of a lighter (or a less exciting, more safety-conscious burial in the recycling bin), but once you know what you are doing, you can make it whenever you want. An editorial will be just as
obstinate, but once you figure out that you are not a musician, you can ditch that topic, become and origami expert, and write about something that you care about.

“But that is difficult,” we complain to ourselves. Well, of course it is. If creating an editorial were easy, then there would be no reward in it, and we would not be congratulating ourselves right now as we type out this final sentence about how editorials can be a lot of fun once you have a topic and finish it off with a last period.