Jonah Lehrer and Story Ideas
For me, ideas are the hardest part. The writing always comes, but finding something to write about can be incredibly hard sometimes.
I met with a friend of my mother’s last Friday—a woman who had been the editor of the Globe’s editorial page— to talk about writing and journalism and how to make it work. She told me a lot of smart things, but the last thing that stuck with me was that developing story ideas is a muscle, and that you have to work at it, to dedicate time to it.
I’ve been thinking about that today in light of Jonah Lehrer, and his resignation. Obviously there’s no excuse for faking things when you’re a journalist, but I can see how he could have got caught up in the story, and wanted to have all the pieces so badly: to see his idea through. This interview about Lehrer, with Jayson Blair, talks about how easy it is to get caught up in that cycle, especially when there’s a lot of pressure on you, and you’re only as good as your last idea.