Editorial: Ideas Start Here

Bryan Mailloux - Editor-in-Chief
Posted on: July 17, 2016

Hello readers!

It’s finally the end of term! You can feel it in the air: no one goes to class anymore, people are usually stuck in labs doing end-of-term projects, and you can see students acting like zombies everywhere on campus. (Literally – if you see people running around with Nerf guns it’s because they need to protect themselves from zombies.) The end of term is great because it means that we can look forward to our tiny two-week vacations! On the other hand, it sadly means that this is our last issue of the term. We’ll be away for the month of August, but we’ll be back for Orientation Week – be sure to pick up a copy of the Frosh issue!

I have a bunch of thanks to dish out to basically everyone who helped me not fail this term. First and foremost, SO many thanks go to Donovan Maudsley, without whom I would have gone insane for sure. (I swear, after editing a paper for eight hours straight by yourself, you start to hallucinate some pretty weird stuff. Or maybe it’s just some chemical residue from the renovation work here in E2. Who knows?) Donovan has helped out immensely with everything from layout (he laid out Issue 2 almost entirely by himself!) to copy editing, to general office improvements. I couldn’t have had a better assistant editor, and I’m happy to hand the torch over to him for Winter 2017!

A huge thanks also goes to all the Iron Warrior staff writers for this term. To Ratan, who introduced us to the incredibly informative Hardcore History podcast in (Ra)Tan Lines; to Tiffany, who brought musicals galore to us in Discover Broadway; to Ashlyn, who once again explored the passions and thoughts of instructors in Prof Personalities; to Caitlin, who informed us of more things we didn’t want to know; to Brigita, who taught us how easy it is to stay green in Leafy Thoughts (hope your grandma gets better!); to Elizabeth, who acted as correspondent to the sports world in the Benchwarmer Report; to Cam, who wrote an out-of-this-world column called Space Cam; to Tom, who answered all the important questions in the Iron Inquisition; to Sarah for managing the social media; and to Gabrielle and Raeesa, who let us know about world events. (Sorry again Raeesa for giving you so little advance notice for that PCP!) And to everyone else who contributed this term through articles and copy editing – thank you too!

It has honestly been a great term, and I wouldn’t have had such a good time if it weren’t for you guys. Thanks for making the Iron Warrior so awesome!

Now, the subject I’d like to talk about in this editorial is the creative process, and why it can be so hard sometimes to figure out what the heck to write about. I’m sure a lot of people have no trouble with this at all – they’re constantly just spouting out random opinions about anything and everything. An unstoppable barrage of ideas comes at you and you wonder where it all came from. For others, it can be more difficult to come by the initial spark that determines what you will write about. I’m definitely in that second boat, and after writing four of these editorials already, the difficulty of finding subjects to write about has me wondering how to make that searching process easier.

So, as with many other questions, I turn to Google to pool together some ideas. (Which is a whole other debate in itself that I don’t even want to get into.) The first hit says, in short, “Practice. A lot.” Which makes sense – this is something I even mentioned myself in one of my earlier editorials. And yeah, it has been increasingly easy to come up with subjects to write about over the course of the term. But I’m not satisfied with this answer, mainly because two people who do this all the time (Dan Carlin from Hardcore History and the Youtuber CGPGrey) often have this problem as well. They both mention that while it might be easy to come up with a very general topic to investigate, finding which subtopics to cover and which angles to cover them from is always very challenging.

Another Google result says that basically ideas should come to you in the shower (or doing other low-key activities), and you should be jotting them down somewhere as soon as you think of them. Well, ok, I like this idea (apart from the problems of bringing a notepad or a smartphone into the shower). But the last Google search basically suggests “Sit down and brainstorm for a while”, which is exactly the opposite of the last site’s advice.

So which to pick? Well, I guess, as with most things on the Internet, we’ll just have to try both and see what happens.