I got back from McAlester’s first football game of the season at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning. I could’ve gone right to sleep at that point, but instead I chose to put in an extra hour and half of work, figuring out stats for the game and submitting one of the three articles I write for every Sunday paper of the fall (McAlester gamer, McAlester box score with stats, regional summary).
I finished at about 3 a.m. Unsurprisingly, I slept through my alarm going off in the morning and didn’t get in until after 10 a.m.
When this happened to me last fall, it usually meant I turned in my stories late, then turned in my pages (I also do layout for the Sunday sports section) much later than the deadline. More than once my boss had to finish my pages for me to get them in on time.
This time, however, that didn’t happen. I turned in all of my content with enough time for my editor to approve it, then quickly started on layout.
I turned in my fully paginated sports section within 15 minutes of my normal Saturday deadline. Both my editor and another reporter working that day complimented me on how good the front page looked.
In my first year as a reporter, I’ve learned how to manage a beat, how to quickly come up with ideas (and backup ideas) so as to submit multiple daily stories, how to form good relationships with coaches, how to interview quickly and succinctly, and how to best make use of my limited number of work-hours.
I’ve also gotten faster — something I had wanted to do but found difficult to determine if I had succeeded. Whereas it used to take me more than three hours to write two 750-word stories, it now takes about 2.5, and maybe even a bit fewer if both stories are recaps.
If I’d overslept last year, it oftentimes would’ve meant disaster. Now, I’m a fast enough writer to be able to recover and still make my deadlines.
Here’s what I wrote since Wednesday.