SACRAMENTO, Calif. - One of the hardest parts of the writing business can be maintaining forward momentum.
For me, that means researching a little and writing a little every day, inching towards completion, whatever the assignment.
For one of my contracts, I have to read the wires daily to pull possible stories and if I am smart about it, I start working on research right then, too.
OK, I'm not that smart most of the time.
But because it is incremental, I know that every day I need to do some, as I did as soon as I got the assignment from Reuters to cover Rudy Giuliani's speech. Rather than wait until the night before he spoke to read up (and cram my brain), I scanned the news sites for the three days beforehand.
It paid off in the speech, when I already had the background on Rudy firmly in the back of my mind when he spouted about 9-11 and events since. Also, the anecdotes he used were well rehearsed, based on my readings.
For my magazine writing students, I suspect it's hard to think of the stories they have just started researching as anything but just another assignment for another upper division class.
They'll learn quickly (I hope) that the real measure isn't me, it will be the editors that see their work and judge it.
If they work a little each day - even if it's only to do an hour of reading - the deadline (in barely 10 days) won't seem nearly so frightening.
'Well, you know. A man of your age?'
2 weeks ago