As I mentioned, I’ve been toiling away at work on a piece based on this blog.
I can’t help but notice I’m prone to be a little verbose.
Maybe I should have used fewer words to get my points across. That would have made my life easier now!
The piece for The Oklahoman is a major challenge. I’m taking five of the most intense, confusing, strange and wonderful months of my life and trying to boil it down to a story that can be consumed by the masses in one sitting. One sitting that isn’t boring. My bla bla bla can’t weigh down the story. What is the story? What do I leave in? What do I leave out? What is the essence of each post? Does it show change? Move something forward chronologically? If not, to the cutting room floor those words go.
Besides the writing there is much to consider. Five teams of people — my editors, layout for print, our copy desk, video/audio folks and the digital desk — will be working with me at some point on my project. There are deadlines within deadlines. On the blog, I tell my story in words, but also pictures, video and sound. Well that needs to be preened and picked over and placed somewhere for these other teams of people to use. Getting the right elements into the right hands–on the double– is up to me. If I fail to meet even one deadline then I fail to give someone the tools this person needs to do a bang-up job.
I can’t help but notice I’m an anal- retentive control freak regarding this story.
Tiffany, friend, capable woman, ran for my work’s aptly named “In the lede” team for Eli in the Color Me Rad CF fundraiser last weekend. She’s on our digital desk and is helping to oversee this story’s online presentation and social media promotion.
She sat down with me and said we can do a lot to make it appealing online- a timeline integrated with audio, video and pictures, and even stuff like a rattle, baby blocks.
I cut her off at baby blocks.
“Oh hell to the no keep the cutesy shit out of this story presentation. I started writing because I thought my son might die. I keep writing because he has a deadly disease. Yes, fine, my own words can get a little bouncy and I admit to being kind of like a 16 year old drawing hearts and stars all over a notebook as I get lost in my own head. Except I’m old. My notebook has been replaced with a lap top and an iPhone and the story is my kid’s life with a chronic disease – but really, his life, our lives. No cutesy shit.”
I work so well together with others.
Tiffany got my verbal memo and we worked out a schedule and a plan for moving forward. I like working with her, let it be known!
It’s cool to bring other people in on this deal to do things I just couldn’t accomplish on my own. Tiffany wields our social media and online tools and she’s good at it. She’s 10 years younger than me. I’m going to try hard not to hover, however, this one’s personal and I’m going to be rather involved. You’ve been warned, poor co-worker! I’ll buy you a beer later…
I’m on a deadline. Tuesday.
I’m about 90 percent finished on words …I’m still panicking here. This is overwhelming. Deadlines, deadlines, those deadlines.
I was talking about all of this with my editor a few days ago.
The whole thing overwhelmed me, I said. I was getting bogged down in detail. This was really hard.
“That’s why not just anyone can do our job,” she said.
“Seriously,” I answered. “Citizen journalism my ass.”
She suggested I cut it off at May 5, Eli’s 5-month birthday.
That suggestion really helped.
It was what I needed to keep going.
The thing is 190 inches as it stands. That’s newspaper talk for really @#$%#$^% long.
Unless it reads fast.
Then it’s just the length it needs to be.
I don’t know.
I need another set of eyes.
I’m going to shape this beast up and then we’re going to bang it around come Monday.
My story needs presented in a way that won’t scare readers away with big boring blocks of gray. It needs to be inviting and cohesive across multiple platforms. It’s good to work with capable people. I’m excited to see what we can come up with ,together. This public debut makes me nervous. It’s my story’s quinceanera. We’re growing up, entering the official media world. Where’s my ball gown.
Well I’m getting wordy again.
Better cut myself off before I get out of hand.