Last night was the final lecture in a required, semester-long series on the magazine world. (We heard from the editor-in-chief of Elle.)
The night before was the last classroom meeting of my News Editing class. (Next week we have a 6-hour field trip to the New York Times, which will be a fantastic way to end the course.)
I have just three more real deadlines in the next 11 days.
It is this winding down, this loosening of the vise, that has allowed some of my recent interludes.
This weekend I will have another. Zach and I are heading upstate tonight, mostly so we can pick out countertops—one of the last big things we need to do for the kitchen (or for the whole house, really). I'll be working most of the time, and Zach will be wielding power tools a whole lot, but it will be really nice to have a change of scenery for a couple of days. Who knows—we might even give the DVD player a workout. I haven't seen a movie in months.
All of this easing up, which started about six weeks ago, has siphoned off not only a huge amount of stress but also a concomitant degree of motivation.
I spent all this time working on my master's project and should really be hustling right now to try to get it published, but I just haven't been able to do it. And I'm now spending all this time on a second big story, but not enough as I should be to really make it shine. It, too, will soon go in the ready-to-pitch pile. And by "pitch" I mean "try to sell to a publication," not "toss out with the trash."
I fear that my ready-to-pitch pile may soon rival my newspaper pile.
OK, not really.
But you get my point.
Partly it's because I have so little experience with pitching that it just seems like another mountain to climb, right when all I really want to do is hang out at base camp for a while.
And partly it's because even if I do sell one—or even both—of these stories, I know I will have to do a substantial amount of re-reporting and rewriting.
And despite the length of this particular post, right now I feel like I've only got the stamina to tackle the first draft of a haiku.
Because you know what?
Long-form writing is an endurance sport.
And I am woefully out of shape.