Certain columnists I know obsess about finding the right words. No deadline can be met, they tell me, without perfection. These are the very characters who show up at our editor's desk with uncombed hair and buttons missing from their wrinkled shirts. So apparently perfection is not a general concept, but applies only to the business of writing.
I pity them. While I'm enjoying the opera on a Saturday evening, I can't help but wonder if these other fellows are sifting through kitchen cupboards or baskets of laundry searching for elusive words. Perfect words. Luckily, their assigned columns are only 600, rather than 900, words. Face it, even an attic of a Victorian mansion has a limit on its word storage. Consequently, the odds of achieving writing success are not in anyone's favor.
I prefer to get my journalistic inspiration from patrolling the city streets and purposely overhearing conversations. Eavesdropping on the human experience, particularly at bus stops, is a far better use of my time than poking through kitchen cabinets.
To play it safe, I find it prudent to keep a supply of spare words stored in my brain at all times. Many aren't the caliber of words that would find their way into any of my columns, but they are on stand-by for an emergency. An emergency is defined as being within an hour of deadline and not having a clue what I am writing. This happens more often than I'd care to admit, although luckily, my editors are too dimwitted to figure it out.