What do I need to work on?

Over this past semester, I have really changed my writing in both the way that I write and how much I write. I would give Nick and even before that with Walsh 1000+ word stories. Granted, my leads always sucked and still do, my stories really stunk. I had no direction with them. They were too long and had meaningless information. They were just bad.

Nick took me aside, either week two or week three, and told me straight out that I needed to change the way I was writing and really think about what I needed to say and what I shouldn’t. I took it to heart. I love criticism and I have no problem with making changes, so that’s what I did. I stopped transcribing every interview that I did, but kept recording every interview. I now take more notes than I did before and write down timestamps so that I know where the good quotes are.

That small change alone transformed my writing to a nice, concise steady stream that I continued throughout the rest of the semester. I found the point/message in the story and was able to focus on it, instead of just giving as much information as possible. I know that change really helped the paper because we were able to have two to three stories instead of one 1,400 word behemoth taking up all of the space. From those changes, I was also able to ask my assistant news editors for the same work that I was doing.

I really think having Nick not be an actual journalism major really helped me and him get on the same page. We both think differently and write differently. He didn’t want to run a story just because it happened. Nick wanted stories that were for students. At first, I was writing stories for faculty and I didn’t even think twice about it. I was able to focus my writing and give Nick stories that he wanted and that I was proud of.

One thing that I have struggled with is leads. I have never had a good lead. Not at the CT Mirror, nor the Journal Inquirer. Even when I was writing columns, my leads sucked. I will be the first to tell you they do. I can give you the second sentence and the rest of the story, but not a solid lead. Just doesn’t hit me or click in my head. It’s probably the one aspect of my writing that I have never had a strong hold on. Sometimes, I will have a good lead, but, again, most of the time they sucked.

I changed the way I was writing, but I wasn’t proofreading like I should have been. I can edit other people’s stories, but I can’t edit my own. It doesn’t make sense to me. That’s something I really need to do. I really need to just read my stories out loud and edit them that way. That is such an easy fix, but I don’t do it.

Another thing I need to work on is being confident in my writing. I know what I am doing, but I second guess myself a lot. I know my stories are good, not perfect, but I need to realize that.

I know there is more that I need to work on, but I can’t think of any more things.

-Jon

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One Response to What do I need to work on?

  1. Pingback: Lead Writing Woes « Just Starting Out

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