Thursday, 16 February 2012

Writing About Rhinos

So I constipated over a story on rhinos. It's not that I didn't want to write it. It's that I didn't know how to. I kept sending off more questions, gleaning more information (look, I had to, we were running the story about three weeks after everybody else) and then going off on research tangents and uncovering interesting facts. Between that and everything I'd transcribed, let's just say I had a few truckloads of information. Which is not a good thing.

Because it leads to that dreaded wall known as overwhelm.

So yeah, there I was, staring stupidly at the computer screen. One deadline had passed. And the second. And then the third.

I wrote a letter to God. I said, please help me. I don't know how to write this story.

The editor who came strolling up to see how far I was along, saw the letter I had failed to cover.

Editor: Why are you writing letters to God?

Me: Because I have no idea how to write this.

So the next day, the very very last day I had...I went for an assignment, came home for lunch, sat cross-legged on my meditation mat with my computer on my lap. And just wrote.

And wrote.

And wrote.

And suddenly the story poured out of me.

Hot damn!

The editor, in the meantime was looking for me frantically. I owed her story. Where in the heck was I?

First story sent.

Ahh, so there was I.

Second story sent.

Dadda made tea and I had a cup. With chocolate cookies. Arnold curled up nearby. Made me miss freelancing just a little.

And then, third story, in fact, the main one that I had been struggling with for so long, sent.

And then I logged off the computer, leaned back and smiled. It was over. It wasn't the stuff of literature, but I was happy enough. (which is saying something, since I'm never happy with my work and if I allowed myself to, I'd fall down the sucky spiral)...

The next day, checking pages...Options had to close what I had written - all 6,000 words of it. The pages were laid out beautifully. The pictures. The pull-out quotes.

Everything, in fact.

Saturday, our annual dinner (we dressed up as people from different cities and it was a lot of fun).

Sunday, I drove back to JB with Arnold in the car.

As I sat around with Mum, shooting the breeze and feeling tired, my phone beeped to tell me that an email had come through. Office email only.

It was this.

Dear Jennifer,

Many thanks for a splendid piece in The Edge, easily the best media
piece I have seen so far after the spate since December 2011. If it
attracts interest from more than just the usual suspects, it will be a
significant contribution to saving the rhino.


And if I stepped out of my body I would burst into blossom...

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmmm. I wonder if writing while seated on my yoga mat would have an effect on my writing....