How Not to Write an Op-Ed (or Errors Made My 1st Time Out)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Charles G. Thompson

I have written and published a number of nonfiction pieces. A personal essay about seeing my dead father shopping at Trader Joes. Another essay about my love life as a gay man in Los Angeles. An article about how my perpetual depression lessened during COVID. But, until recently, I had not tried my hand at an op-ed. Yes, similar to writing more personal nonfiction, but different.

The idea for the editorial was spawned by a headline in the Los Angeles Times, “Growing Fears of ‘Dead Pool’ on Colorado River as Drought Threatens Hoover Dam Water,” which reported that Lake Mead could be at “dead pool” levels by 2025. I’m a constant water worrier, having lived in California most of my life, and Lake Mead is an essential source of water for Southern California. Seeing the words “dead pool” frightened me. Did that mean one of our…

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