Four hours on Sunday. That’s how much time I put into writing my rough draft for the Clear 99 story. Talk about a serious case of writer’s block. I know part of it was just getting motivated to write a 50 inch story spread over my three day weekend. For once, I just wanted to enjoy being lazy, relaxing and going to a football game. I admit, I procrastinated. But after the long week I had, I feel like I deserved a break. Everyone does once in a while. (Here’s where I comment on how much more I liked the laid-back Italian mentality I studied abroad in this summer… they took four hour siestas every day for lunch. Lucky Italians. They work to live. We live to work. Sad.)
Anyway, back to the main point of this blog post. I had a meeting today with my editor to go over my draft. Nobody likes to see marks on their paper. It stems an automatic feeling of inadequacy. However, constructive criticism will only improve your writing – and in this case, I’m glad I heard her out. I needed the guidance she gave me because I know that the rough draft was not my best. As much as I just want to be done with the article and onto the next, I’ll be happier to have a quality piece by spending time with it instead of rushing through and handing in rubbish.
Journalists: the people who labor on labor day.
I also had to admit defeat today. Which is a topic I am uncomfortable accepting and even more uncomfortable sharing. I had one strong pitch and nothing else. Pitches are due tonight at 9 p.m. and I have only one. So, I fessed up and told my editor. I showed her all the notes I made from researching and looking around all week. I was so scared she would be mad, that I would get scolded. Not saying my editor is a scary, mean person. She’s not at all. But I respect her and people never want to show failure in the eyes of someone they respect. It’s human nature. She listened to me and then told me that the hardest part is finding and pitching an idea and that sometimes, we all stumble or need a nudge in the right direction. At this point, I’m happy I asked. Together, we tossed around ideas, talked about where else to look for inspiration and then she gave me a story option to churn in my mind.
I know now not to be afraid of asking for help or being honest with an editor, teacher or boss. Everyone has trouble with their job at some point. We’ve all been in the same spot – or as my Dad says, “Chels, we all wake up and put our pants on the same way. One leg at a time.”