On growing as a reporter

(Re-posted from the Spring ’13 Reporting Blog.)

On Monday, I gave Jeanne a draft of my newest profile. I’d been pouring over the draft for several days, rearranging and rewriting sections, writing notes in all caps telling myself to fix my incomplete lede or unclear explanation, making extra phone calls to fill in the details I knew I needed.

Finally, I hit the deadline I’d given myself to finish, took a deep breath, and clicked “send to queue.”

On Tuesday, I heard back — the story was pretty much good to go, just a few quick edits and then ACs and a photo request.

Two days later, and I’m still smiling about it.

I realize I’m far from mastering the art of feature writing and that I will probably write more bad first drafts throughout my journalism career than I want to think. I’m a 21-year-old stuck somewhere between being a kid and being an adult who only has so much experience. I’m working on a draft of my next story right now, and every time I sit down to write, I have to force myself to put words on the page because I know it could be so much better.

But I am growing.

At 12 weeks into the semester, sometimes its hard for me to feel motivated. I can almost taste the end of finals week, and the number of things I have to finish before then is more than a little petrifying. Mentally, I’m struggling not to drift off into the break I’ll have between May 17 and the day I start my internship. All of my assignments are starting to snowball around me, and on more occasions than I’d care to admit, my greatest desire is to sit on my couch with a jar of Nutella and watch “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” until it’s just plain unhealthy.

So more often than not, it’s the little things that keep me going — a story that I get right on the first go, a project that’s about to publish, an encouraging conversation with an editor or fellow reporter. I’m reminded that I still have a lot to do here, and that I’m capable of finishing those things and doing them well. I realize that I’m doing what I came here to do — be a better reporter.

And as long as I keep those things in mind, I can keep growing, and I can push through to the end of the semester.

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