Editorial: Something to say
When I became editor of Reform in 2013, the team and I reworked the design and content of the magazine. The one idea I had that no one went with was dropping the editorial. I figured no one particularly wanted to know what I had to say about things, and I wasn’t wild about always having to have Something To Say. But no, it was a naughty suggestion, and that was the end of it.
Some editors use their editorial to tell readers what’s in the magazine this month,
but that seems like a bit of a waste of paper if you have a contents page.
So, some months I have something on my mind, and get it off my chest on to this page. (Eww. How’s that for a mixed metaphor.) Other months, I have nothing on my mind and have to scrabble around, deadline-scourged, for Something To Say.
I guess those of you who are ministers are saying: ‘Welcome to my world.’ Except you have to come up with something every week.
How have I been going to church for half a century, without ever hearing a minister start their sermon: ‘This week, I have nothing to say, so I’m just going to sit down again.’ They could say: ‘I’ll sit here for ten minutes, and if anyone else finds they’ve got something to say, they can say it instead. And if no one says anything, we’ve had some peace and quiet.’
Why not? It works for the Quakers. But not in their magazines. Even Quaker editors have to fill their pages with words every month in a relentless cycle of blarney like the rest of us.
Some months, it’s so hard to think of Something To Say I’ve considered resorting to writing an editorial about having nothing to say in my editorial. But that’s such an obviously awful idea it’s scared me into coming up with something else.
Going for a walk is a good nudge to the grey cells. So this bleak deadline-racked Monday morning, I got up at such an inhumane hour that my Signficant Other hadn’t left for work, and walked with her. I explained I was so desperate for an idea I had even considered writing an editorial about having nothing to write an editorial about. She said: ‘I know, you’ve gone on about it all weekend.’
Runners pounded round the park. Commuters succumbed to the gravity of the station. Birds cut through the rumble of traffic.
That’s when it hit me, the idea, the insight, nay, the revelation, so true and beautiful it would write itself on to the page and melt readers hearts. If only there was space left to tell you about it.
This article was published in the June 2021 edition of Reform