I've written a few 'guest' editorials for SSC in the past. I've really enjoyed doing so, and seeing the comments. I'll definitely try entering a few for Steve's sabbatical!
A few tricks that have worked well for me.
1. If you think of a topic, discuss it with friends and colleagues first, to clear your own thoughts and try to pick up other perspectives and angles.
2. Write it up and leave it a week before picking it up again and looking at it.
3. Get someone else to edit it.
4. Read it out loud. If you've made a mistake in grammar or phrasing, or you've mistakenly adopted an academic 'voice', it generally becomes obvious at that point.
5. Allow plenty of time. Steve makes it look easy, but he's had a lot of practice and is blessed with a natural talent for the task.
I reckon that editorials should have have opinions. Start with topics that particularly interest you rather than picking a topic that you guess will interest as many people as possible. Genuine enthusiasm is infectious.
When comments come in, don't get too upset if the first one or two is negative. Wait until you've had a page or two. If it still looks a bit negative then I have a quick whiskey and put it down to experience or your skill at trolling. We're all learning!
Phil FactorSimple Talk