I had an 1,800-word magazine story due on the business of fashion. I spent the better part of a week logging nearly full-time hours on interviews of academics and fashion industry insiders. Then another two full days to write and rewrite.
It almost felt like work, work. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, even for a LOL who has grown accustomed to a relaxed pace of freelancing. I was doing what I like doing best -- writing. And this time, I was getting a decent wage, which made it worth the effort but also added to the pressure. By the end of the week, the tension had built. Down time was next to nil. I had to skip exercise classes, and clean clothes were sparse. Back came the perils of journalism -- writer's block when faced with thinking of a lead, self-doubt over whether my editor would like the story and anxiety about meeting deadline. Why, I wondered, had I taken on the assignment?
I think it's all part of the process. It wouldn't be the same rush if not for all the worries along the way. Those restless nights inevitably deliver a good start by morning, and somehow, deadline gets met (almost) always. Self-doubt is a little harder to overcome. But that, too, is usually vanquished.
But the biggest payoff is more intangible. It comes with the filing of the story. It's a high, simple as that. As deadline approaches, the adrenaline pumps at full throttle, and I know I'm close to the finish line with a solid product. I imagine it is the same pleasure that a craftsman must get from a finely turned cabinet or a mechanic from a rebuilt engine. A job is done and done well, and now what's left is only the anticipation of seeing the story in print and hearing from readers.
|I'm an editor, mid-80s. Gotta love those glasses!|
It was the beginning of my love affair with journalism.