Column writing is one of the hardest types of writing you’ll ever attempt. Because the perception is that “anything goes”, you may think it is easy, but the formula and structures of other types of writing/reporting actually make those far easier. To be a good writer of columns, according to Oon Yeoh, a Malaysian writer, editor and new media consultant, you have to be, “a good thinker”.
Oon explains: “Many young writers prefer to write columns rather than straight news or features. Straight news is deemed to be boring – covering press conferences and reporting who said what. Feature stories involve too much reporting and require discipline to follow a set structure. Columns, which are essentially opinion pieces, are much looser – and therefore easier. Or so it seems.
Anybody can be trained to write straight news because it’s very mechanical. Feature articles, though also somewhat formulaic, are harder because they require good writing. But column writing is the hardest type of writing of all because it requires good thinking. To write a good column requires more than just the ability to articulate an opinion. Your opinions must make sense, provide insight and be convincing. And you must do all this in an entertaining way.”
To read the full article, as well as his insightful ten top tips to good column writing, go here