Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Retraining: Sit! Stay! Roll over!

by Suw on October 28, 2003

I mentioned a while back that I was thinking of attempting to resurrect my career in journalism, such as it was, and that I’d started a short online course.

General weirdness over the last couple of weeks has meant that I’ve not knuckled down quite as often as I would have liked and I’ve only today done lesson three.

I actually did read through lessons one to five on the way to New York, (well, on the train on the way to being on the way to New York – when I was actually on the way to New York I was somewhat distracted by the presence of a bar serving free alcohol and nuts), but didn’t get round to doing much about them.

Now that I’ve started to get into it, I am actually rather enjoying this course. It’s not so much that I need to be reminded how to write, but that I need to learn how to package and pitch ideas to editors, something I have never been particularly good at.

Today I spent most of the afternoon working out three potential features ideas. After a shaky start wherein filing my nails and making pointless posts on Zoetrope seemed suddenly much more important, I did eventually get stuck into the task. It’s been a long while since I’ve really concentrated on something that has required actual thought and I rediscovered that I liked it.

I know that sounds stupid, but concentration’s the second thing to go when I get stressed, (appetite is the first), and I have found it very difficult to actually settle down and get on with stuff lately. Well, I say lately. My appetite went, oh, I’d say around the end of May and my ability to concentrate evaporated pretty much as soon as I realised that the business was utterly doomed and nothing I could do could possibly save it. That was around mid-August, I guess. Well, deep down I think I knew before then but I just wasn’t admitting it to myself.

This afternoon I caught a glimpse of my more focused past: Oh, so this is what it’s like to research interesting things! And this is what it’s like to be involved in what I’m doing! Yes, I remember now! I like this!

I just hope that I can retain this feeling of enthusiasm. I think I would prefer my future to involve working as a journalist rather than a project manager, if I’m going to be brutally honest. But in order to do that I’m going to have to put aside all my bad habits and regain the self-discipline that I had at the beginning of the year, when I would work solidly all day, anything between eight and 14 hours a day.

Admittedly, I suspect that those long days, which became more and more prevalent as things edged towards going down the shitter, are the reason why it’s been hard to concentrate lately. Living off your adrenaline for months is all well and good until the source of that adrenaline disappears, and then you’re shafted. You just slowly collapse like a souffl? in a cupboard.

And of course, you can’t reheat a souffl?. You just have to go out, buy more raw ingredients and make another one from scratch.

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