Jul 8, 2014

Insight, or, Write... when it happens

A few weeks ago I couldn't sleep. I put myself to bed at a reasonable hour with the intention of rising early to begin writing a feature story for the newsletter I was creating. I tossed and turned, literally. Eventually, I had to face the fact that I wasn't tired. I was too wired to sleep because I was looking forward to the journalistic writing ahead of me. I sat up in bed, "woke up" my phone, opened a word document and typed the following:

The director of the Academic Center for Writing is a difficult guy to pin down. Ask him about his daily schedule and you're likely to hear a response describing the multitude of meetings he has. Quite possibly, he is about to be late. "I'm on so many committees, some I started myself," he says. That is quintessential (*), a man who is dedicated to his job and passionate about the students he serves.

Once it was out of my head, I had no problem falling asleep. It's interesting how it happens that way sometimes. I can't remember another time I was that excited about journalism.

Earlier this year, my father, in an attempt to cajole me out of a malaise, suggested that I write some news stories. He would act as my editor. He pitched me an idea and I followed up and wrote a short "newsy" story. It was excruciating. I had to fight through the writing process and was not happy with the final product. I don't even know where it is now.

Yet, when I began writing this latest feature story, it flowed from me so easily and  naturally that comparisons to riding a bike sprang to mind.

Maybe it was because I had a more active role in the research and interview process for that story than I did for the one I wrote for my father. Or, maybe it was that I was writing for myself, both as a writer and as the executive editor of the newsletter. Honestly, I can't place the reason, but I know that it was invigorating to find myself in the middle of the process again.

I look forward to more nights interrupted by flashes of journalistic insight.

* Names have been removed to protect privacy

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