An essential way of becoming a good columnist is to read skilled columnists. If you go to your local library, you can find collections of columns published by popular columnists.
Perhaps you’ve already been reading columns in your local newspaper written by seasoned columnists, and you’ve already developed a list of your favorite ones.
Some of the classic collections of columns written by columnists throughout the past decades, are:
1) “All Things Considered” and “So This Is Depravity and Other Observations,” by Russell Baker. In these books, you will find columns on urban life, politics, aging, and nostalgia.
2) “Four of a Kind,” and “Motherhood The Second Oldest Profession,” by Erma Bombeck. These columns by Bombeck reveal comic insights on everyday life and problems.
3) “Keeping in Touch” and “Paper Trail,”
by Ellen Goodman. These books contain columns on a variety of topics, including events, people, and issues that readers can relate to.
4) “When My Love Returns From The Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old To Care,” by Lewis Grizzard. These columns deal with everyday life in a humorous way.
5) “Living Out Loud,” by Anna Quindlen. These columns are written in a personal, reflective style about daily life.
6) “Like I Was Sayin’ ” by Mike Royko. One of the greatest American columnists of past decades, this collection is famous for Royko’s outspoken style, sarcasm, wit, and irreverence on society and politics.
7) “With All Disrespect: More Uncivil Liberties,” by Calvin Trillin, contains columns on social issues of past decades.
While many of these collections were written decades ago, they will give you ideas on what’s relevant today and what you can write about now. You can ponder and evaluate how times have changed, and can create your own columns accordingly.
For a more complete list of columnists and their collections, you can find my book, “You Can Be A Columnist,” through libraries in the U.S. and other countries.