Column ideas not always easy
by Rick Watson
Feb 19, 2012 | 1192 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
There’s a rule in writing that most of you might not be aware of — the number of quality ideas you have is indirectly proportional to the number of hours left until the deadline.

When I’m caught up with my work and enjoying some leisure time, I have to swat ideas away like mosquitos. But on Thursdays when I haven’t written a word, I can almost hear the editor’s fingers drumming on his desktop — WATSON we have a half dozen highly paid pressmen on double-time pay waiting for you column!

My mind feels like it’s wrapped in duct tape where nothing comes in and nothing goes out.

My weekly column in the Daily Mountain Eagle celebrated its sixth anniversary last week — which means I’ve written over 300 columns and these days, there is no low-hanging fruit. Each time I come up with an idea, I realize that I’ve already written about it.

I’ve written about my family, my childhood, the old home place as well as things I saw and did when I was a kid. I wrote about my grandmother’s general store in Townley; about my daddy teaching me how to “cuss;” and about my bootlegging granddaddy.

I’ve written a bunch of columns about my early life in Sloss Hollow. I’ve written about cars, trains, bicycles, boats and airplanes.

I’ve written about my friends, my dogs, and my chickens. I’d write about my enemies, but to my knowledge, I don’t have any.

Some of the all time favorites have been about my mis-adventures around the house. I received hundreds comments when I wrote about getting whacked in the nose by the handle of my wheel barrow, and I dropped an 80 pound sack of concrete into it. That one was about lessons learned, and the wheel barrow lesson was a hard one.

Another reader-pleaser was when I wrote about the time Jilda threatened me with divorce when I tried to replace the dishwasher and flooded the kitchen.

My lovely wife Jilda frequently appears in my work. A friend remarked that if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have anything to write about. That’s a fair statement.

One of the funniest columns I’ve written was entitled Terror Girl, and it’s about the time a few years ago when Jilda was almost strip searched by airport security when we were flying back from a music conference in Los Angeles.

Writing can be lonely work for me. Some writers can work with the radio blaring, the TV on and people talking all around, but I work better on the side porch when the only sounds I hear are birdsongs and the music of wind chimes.

Writing is fun, but trying to write when you don’t have a decent idea is like pulling teeth. Maybe I should look for a new way to have fun, because at my age, I can’t afford to lose any more teeth.

You can send suggestions for columns to

Rick Watson is a freelance writer living with his wife, Jilda, on a small farm in Empire.