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.

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One thought on “The Rx for a messy project? A little more conversation.

  1. So I definitely read the post you linked to about the storytelling/descriptive detail writing, and I can definitely relate. I’m in intermediate writing this semester because I know I need to improve in that area. It’s always tough when I’m in the middle of a bunch of information and I’m trying to figure out how to ask those detail questions. And then I have to figure out how to write them into narrative while still being completely accurate.

    I guess the point of all this is to thank you for your lovely posts. It’s always good to know that we’re all in the same boat as far as learning how to do what we do well and how to work through the areas we need to improve.

    That, and you will always be my great source of all things reporting related information. So keep at it, Shaina. I am quite certain your story will be excellent when it’s done. 🙂

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