Back in the 80's when I was running a weekly newspaper in California, it often happened that someone would pop into my office with the idea that they could write a regular column for the paper. They had ideas about their business, or about their religion or about their hobby, which was fine, except that it didn't take a great deal of deductive skills to guess that they didn't have more than one or two columns in mind.
I also found that most people's writing abilities did not match their speaking abilities, but they didn't wish to hear this from me. They wanted to be complimented on their knowledge, their wit or their personal message from the Almighty. This last type was very tricky to handle. So rather than argue the merits of their writing or the clarity of their revelation, I learned to respond by saying: "Great! Write up a set of ten , and we'll take a look at them."
No one ever came back with a set of columns, so my ploy to avoid confrontations with an advertiser or subscriber worked like a charm. Except that I wanted at least one of them to write a set of columns, because it would have been great to have a local, professional-grade writer to contribute to the paper. No such luck.
Many years later, when I decided I would try to write some essays for my own website, I knew I would have to reach my own standard of writing 10 essays before anything else took place. If I was going to be clever, funny or poignant on a regular basis, I had better prove to myself that I could reach my own challenge.
If you don't mind, I'm going to try out my "Ten" on you -- plus a few more as the ideas, and the time to write them, come. Your comments and opinions are gratefully encouraged, and you won't hurt my feelings if your reaction is negative. I believe I'm over feeling that I have to be a Great Writer in order to have a successful life. I could settle for being a Good Antique Dealer. But having an audience, albeit a biased one, may be just the catalyst I need to keep writing, and I'm old enough to realize that the day will come when I won't be roaming the countryside hunting antiques. It will be a time to reflect.
-- Wallace Wenn