Clips, interviews, headlines, reality checks … sounds typical to me

My week in a nutshell:

  • The story I was working on for Vox  got published! It was really nice to finally see this story wrap up, since it’s been in the works for quite some time now. Unfortunately, we ended up having to cut the piece substantially so it would be more digestible online. I mean, I’m okay with the cuts that had to be made. I totally get that it happens sometimes, so this was definitely a lesson in rolling with whatever happens and being willing to lay myself aside to make a story what readers need it to be. And for that, I’m grateful. I suppose part of me wishes I had had the chance to show off my writing a bit more in the final copy, but after not publishing since May, a clip is a clip regardless. And for that, I couldn’t be more pleased.
  • I made some pretty substantial progress on the profile I’m doing for intermediate writing. I have a first draft that I will basically be rewriting over the weekend, and I got a few more interviews to supplement the information I already had. Right now, I’m definitely wrestling with how to build my information into a story. I feel like I have a ton of thoughts, a ton of attempts to get at scene and detail, and I don’t really know how to put it all together. Fortunately, I got the chance to talk with my intermediate writing teacher/editor to talk about my story, and I have some direction on how to start putting it together. I get the feeling it will be a long road until it’s really ready, but it’s been good to get started and to really stretch myself as a reporter.
  • I also got some much-needed advice from my intermediate writing teacher — the reminder that everything is going to be okay and that I don’t need to be so stressed out. I know, I get told this a lot. But I think it’s finally starting to sink in. At least, I really, really want to believe it. It was good, though, to be reminded that things really do tend to work out better than I think they will, that it’s okay that I’m still learning and that I don’t have to know what I’m doing all the time.
  • We started writing headlines in my editing class. This was simultaneously kind of fun and frustrating. Think 20 minutes of puzzling out how to make words of a certain font fit into a certain space and stay accurate to the story. And then you finish and realize you probably need a stronger verb that ends up being too long to fit in the space on your page. But it was good. By the time I was done, I had a couple of headlines I felt good about, and I gained a new appreciation for copy editors and the work they do. Writing headlines for print is harder than it looks. Also, we’ve been learning about how to write headlines for online so they’re more likely to pop up in a Google search.

On the whole, I’d call it a pretty productive week. I turned a clip for the first time in months, made some progress on a new story, learned a ton and got a much-needed reality check. Right now, I’m working toward getting another draft of my profile done and spending some serious time contemplating what I’ll be doing next semester. (Registration is in a week — when did that happen???) Most definitely an eventful time, but it’s good to be in a place where I’m growing a lot.

New story: The Guide: Gun stores and ranges in Columbia


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