Monday, March 7, 2011

The Fog is Lifting

For the past while, I've been trying to figure out what the hell my problem is. Yeah, there have been deaths - most recently one of our furry felines - and stresses of other sorts, but I knew deep down that wasn't it.

Recently, I landed a freelance piece with an editor I used to write for on a regular basis. I haven't written for her in about three years, not since I returned to working full-time after my maternity leave. Anyway, there was a story idea that had been nagging at me that would be just perfect for her publication. (I'm not giving more away until the story has actually gone to print. Call me superstitious.)

I finally pitched it. She said yes. I did an interview with my story's subject. It went well, we flowed well together, interviewer and interviewee, which makes writing a profile on said interviewee that much easier. Afterwards he noted how easy it had been talking to me. And I remembered a former colleague having said I was good at putting people at ease. "Yes, I'm back!" I thought to myself. I was pumped!

And then I waited. My editor is away on vacation and told me to have my completed story in her in-box in three weeks, in time for her return. Then life happened. Specifically, I had a terrible couple of weeks. I had to make some stressful grown-up decisions that just about sucked the life out of me. Forward to one week shy of my editor's return and I figured I was actually going to have to write this thing. After procrastinating further by going for coffee with a friend when I was supposed to be writing, it was time.

It was slow going at first. I flipped through my notes and cued up my digital voice recorder. I reheated my coffee. And then it came. I actually remembered what it was like to write a journalistic feature story. I didn't have to start at the beginning, I just had to start writing and I could reorganize everything - descriptions, anecdotes and quotes - however I see fit. Hearing my interviewee speak I had that, "Holy shit, THIS is what my story is really about," moment and damn, did it feel amazing. I realize that when I write this way, I have the control I have been seriously lacking in other areas of my life lately.

Yes, folks, I'm going to have to do this more often. It's been way too long.