I write a monthly column for a radio club newsletter. Every month I have to come up with an idea for the column. At first this was easy, I was over running with ideas. Then it became a slog. I write books and screenplays and a lot of other things. The column for the newsletter feels like work and the feeling was getting in the way.

It’s column writing time, the deadline is breathing down my neck. I need an idea. I need it now. Deadlines may not be inspirational, but they get you working.

What to do?

I break out this months radio magazine from a national organization. I also dig out a couple of back issues. Not only do the magazines have articles that could urge me on, they shows me what people in radio are interested in. It also shows me what manufactures have come up, and I find it easy to generate articles on unintended consequences.

1.a I pour over the articles. Would I do what someone did in an article? Would I do it differently? What articles do I want see and are not in the issue?

1.b Are any of the adds interesting? Are they interesting for something that does not have anything to do with radio (AKA cat videos adds, they get your attention, but don’t sell the product or service.) Pay attention to product bashing and unsubstantiated claims. (I make the best ethernetic prognostic reception device in the world. I make the only ethernetic prognostic reception device in the world (and I haven’t sold one yet, but just you wait and see)).

2. Write about what you have done in the field the club specializes in, with the club, or for the club.. What activities that the club has held, and you were in. What did you think of the activity. How could the activity be better?. Think about the members of the club that you have interacted with (within the last month or several years ago). And upcoming club or national events are always good information for the column and good filler.

3. Personnel experiences are good, they can be past or present, present is more appealing, but a humorous past recollections are always fun. The story about how I blew up a radio (unintentionally) always gets a laugh, Have a good punch line, Well I’m not going to do that again, at least not like that. Yeah I’m going to use a lot more electrical tape and sell tickets. Find the magic and write about it. There is magic even in simple things. Everyone in radio has an antenna, be it a ferrite loop antenna inside the radio, a hundred foot tower with antennas all over it, or an electric blanket taped to the wall. I have a 55 foot tower, I have used ferrite loop antennas, and I have been lucky enough to not need to use an electric blanket for an antenna. But if I had to, I would use an electric blanket. I heard a guy that was using an electric blanket for an antenna. Any antenna is better than no antenna. Even the experts do not fully understand how antennas work. I have seen two antennas designed by two different people. The computer said the antennas should preform the same. One antenna worked much better than the other. They both used the same computer program to design their antennas. Why were the antennas so different? Computer programs are not the real world. They can get close, but the program can be full of pitfalls. Be it writing or knitting there is magic. It could be that this yarn works better than that yarn. They both are cotton, but it’s in the processes by which they are made that’s makes the magic so one yarn is easier to work with than the other. Or it could be that this color works better than that combination. It might be as simple as the season that your knitting an item for or as complex as the psychology of color mixing.

It’s still magic, but then isn’t all writing.

Stay strong, write on, and look for those ideas.

Professor Hyram Voltage