In my Ottawa Citizen column this week I express gratitude for the privilege I have of engaging with readers in the paper, online, and on jogging and bike paths throughout the city. Columnizing is my absolute favourite thing to do, because a) it’s cheaper than therapy to get most of the bees in my bonnet a solid airing and b) it allows me to highlight great work done by great Ottawans who toil in a city that’s entirely too famous for politics and nowhere near famous enough for the good people who live in it.
A special word for those of you who read what I write on this platform and engage with the material. A writer is nobody without readers. You make someone out of me. Thank you.
This year I wrote lots. I had 130 articles and columns published in a variety of outlets. That’s in addition to 51 pieces published exclusively on Substack. That’s almost 3.5 published articles a week. Assuming an average of 600 words per (a thoroughly unscientific and probably low-ball estimate), that’s 108,600 words published in a year, or just under 300 per day.
Look at me doing math on an holiday. I just about sprained a sinew…
Add to this speeches, statements, reports and all kinds of other stuff I write that goes out into the world without my name on it. Plus the book projects I’m working on about which I hope I’ll be able to talk more soon.
Yes, I do write every day. By that I mean there is not a day in the year during which I don’t write. There are no exceptions to this rule, ever. Just by doing my morning pages, three pages long-hand, every single day of every single year, I scribble close to 1,000 words. And that’s just to wake up.
I feel incredibly privileged to earn a living doing what I can’t live without doing. Also relieved. Not entirely sure what I would do otherwise. I would have been ace as a lawyer, but I would hate it, myself, and every living being. Ditto sales. It’s better for everyone if I get to keep writing. Feel free to do your part for public safety by subscribing to keep me in that business.
I perused my 2023 output to highlight some of my favourites, and see which ones were most popular. The Poilievre-related articles win that contest (and more, about which in a minute) but my own personal favourite is about food. I got myself all cracked up and cry-laughing re-reading it so I beseech you to take a gander at my review of the fucking fuckery that was the (mercifully since killed dead) Chicken Big Mac.
The other reason I’m pleased to have re-aligned my writing a little bit to include more federal politics is that going to the Conservative Party convention in Quebec City (where I was notoriously not welcome) didn’t just allow me to write some stuff that wound up pleasing a great many of my readers. It was also the most unlikely setting for an out-of-the-blue (as it were) chance meeting with a most wonderful someone who knows how to make me smile and how to bring out my inner sunshine. La vie a choisi 2023 pour me faire le plus beau des cadeaux.
I wish you all the good things for 2024.