The Rx for a messy project? A little more conversation.

This week I heaved a huge sigh of relief about my big reporting project, and it’s totally thanks to my editor, Liz. I’ve been interviewing and transcribing and note-taking like a crazy person, and like I’ve stated in earlier posts, it feels like a huge mess. But thankfully, that came to a full-stop on Monday morning.

She didn’t give me explicit directions or try to wrest autonomy  from me, she just listened. Which, it so happened, is just what I needed.

She told me to just talk about where I am and what I’ve got so far and repeated my ramblings back to me (in a slightly more coherent fashion). Suddenly, it clicked. Suddenly, everything didn’t seem quite so nebulous and out-of-control anymore. And, bonus: she liked my ideas!

Now I’ve got a loose format and an outline for steps that need to be taken regarding text, graphics and photos. I’ve got a clarified central question and supporting themes. I even have more interviews and potential sources. I’m officially at what I would term Phase 2; not huge progress, but progress nonetheless. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even write something soon (joke, totally published about collective bargaining in the district last week).

So, word to the wise: assert your independence and all that, but don’t neglect your editor or try to go it alone (for too long). It’s really more frustrating than anything else.