I picked up a book called The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication. The author has successfully syndicated her newspaper column, meaning she sells it to many different newspapers and gets a whole lot more buck for her bang, without having to share her profits with a big syndicate. Interesting concept.
I knew I was in trouble right off the bat when her first point was "if you are reading this book, it's safe to assume you already write a regular column and that it is about something."
About something? Hm. Yes. It's about...um...well... it's a slice of life thing...humour...faith... occasionally a little fiction or poetry... sometimes a 12-step "how to" deal. Lately I've even regaled readers with my swash buckling adventures with our health care system. I'm certain it will one day be about something, once I've finally found my niche.
I decided the easiest way to figure this out would be by process of elimination. What are some things my column is definitely NOT about? I easily thought of three.
I own one, and I know how to drive it. I know the make and color of it. I also know how to clean it, although you'd never guess. Most of my friends also have cars. Liz drives something orange, Vicki drives a little red thing, and Brandy's is the color of crème brûlée. Beyond that, I don't know who drives what, how fast it goes, what kind of gas mileage it gets, what it cost, or what's under the hood. Furthermore, I don't care. If it gets me from point A to point B, it's a good car. This would not make the auto pages.
Friends have heard me say sports in general could cease to exist tomorrow and I wouldn't notice. I admit I do enjoy watching the artsier sports like gymnastics, figure skating, and ballroom dance. But that's where I draw the line. In high school, I broke our basketball coach's heart. Because I'm tall, he needled me relentlessly until I agreed to come out for the team. I went to practices for a week, then quit. Sorry, but barreling back and forth waving my arms like a lunatic, chasing a ball around with hopes of throwing it through a hoop, only to start all over again, is not my idea of a worthwhile time. Hockey, football, baseball, soccer, golf, curling? Don't understand 'em, don't really want to. This might make me a bad person, but it does not make me a bad columnist.
Back in the day when we still fed our kids, hubby and I planted a monstrous vegetable garden. I did the whole canning, freezing, and pickling thing. While there was a certain amount of satisfaction in putting up our own produce, I can't honestly say I enjoyed it. My green-thumbed friend Barb talks about her need for "garden therapy." I, too, find Barb's garden therapeutic. But working in it? Please. I've threatened to just plant plastic flowers around the yard, and I will just as soon as I'm ready to be written off as a crazy old lady. Besides, who could ever compete with Mr. Ted, garden columnist extraordinaire?
Well there, that eliminates three things this column will never be about. Maybe I'll hold off on the syndication thing until I narrow it down some more. Meanwhile, if I'm cagey enough to keep you reading this far, writing about what I'll never write about, I can't be entirely out of my mind now, can I?