Premature or irrelevant

Premature or irrelevant

" I know from experience that good ideas for articles don’t just materialise out of thin air"

11-04-2024 · Editorial

One of our columnists recently sent us a distress signal: “I can’t think of anything to write about. I have no inspiration.” This leaves us with a blank space in our print newspaper, which isn’t what we want to see. Not at all! That said, I know from experience that good ideas for articles don’t just materialise out of thin air. I often find myself increasingly stressed on Monday afternoons because I still have no idea what to write about in this editorial. “Why don’t you start earlier?” you might ask. Fair point. But I do start early. Each weekend, I scour the newspapers for topics relevant to Observant, paying particular attention to articles written by ombudsmen and editors-in-chief. If this approach fails, I can always brainstorm with my colleagues on Monday.

Stress level

This week, neither approach yielded a suitable topic. My stress levels rose. Not writing is not an option. Every Tuesday afternoon, I must send an article to our translator to ensure it’s ready to go to print on Wednesday.

What's going on

In moments like these, I recall the advice we offer students and junior journalists struggling to come up with topics: draw on your own experiences. Consider what you’ve been working on and what’s going on in your life. There’s always a lot going on here at Observant. We’re currently looking for an editor and a junior journalist; next Monday, we’ll decide which candidates to invite for interviews. We’re also beginning a search for new student columnists for the upcoming academic year (keep an eye on our social media pages), brainstorming about our special issue for first-year students in August, and seeing the first applications for our summer school come in. As for my personal life, last Monday I tried to explain in my best French to a city employee in Visé, where I live, that their website refuses to register me. But none of these topics are suitable for an editorial, I realised on my bike ride to work. They’re either too premature or irrelevant.

My near-weekly struggle is a topic in itself, though. So here it is.