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Losing it

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Platyrhynchos, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Platyrhynchos

    Platyrhynchos Active Member

    ... or hitting the wall.

    I'm reasonably sure I have nothing left in me. I looked at stuff I wrote a mere five years ago and thought, "Damn, you were good." Now, my gamers and columns suck. Pretty much suck yak rectum. I still have it when it comes to writing features, and I don't know why. Of course, five years ago I wasn't saddled with all the other crap I have to do now, so maybe that's part of it.

    Still can't explain why I can crank out incredibly good features, but my gamers and columns are pieces o' feces.

    Seriously looking toward maybe getting out of this and going for the 40-hour per week regular person job. Before I do, however, I would like input from those of you who have lost it and have hit the wall, and what you did to get it back. This would help me determine if I could possibly get it back.

    Thoughts or ideas?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    What would Chief Joseph have done?
  3. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Take a look at those features... what makes them so good?

    From that, what can you use in your gamers? I'm guessing there are more things than you realize.
  4. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Platy, that's the exact reason I asked the powers that be to move me elsewhere in the company to focus on other aspects of the biz (photography, design, etc.). I've covered so many games -- hundreds, thousands -- since starting this biz in '89, and trying to come up with something new every time has taken its toll.

    The company has obliged my request. I'm starting elsewhere in the company in a week or two. I cannot tell you how much of a stress-relief it is to know that my game-coverage days are going to be over soon.

    So I guess my suggestion is to talk to your powers that be and see if you can't do something different for your paper/company.
  5. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    This is the key.

    People put effort into the things they enjoy. When people have many hats to wear, tire of repetitive or mundane things, or are disrespected by managment, they may get the job done but the heart isn't in it.

    I'll bet you enjoy the features because it gives you a chance to connect in some way to a story or source, dig a little bit and find something new. Then you can dive into a well of creativity that makes the story sing.

    It may be time to move to a different part of the paper or get out completely, at least for a while.
  6. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    For what it's worth, you just made my day with the phrase "pieces 'o feces."

    I never heard that phrase. I like it.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    A friend asked me a week ago if I had peaked as a writer... After a few seconds of thought I told him that I thought I had.

    I think that's the case with a lot of people who have been doing this for over a decade... You get better and better and better and then you plateau and cruise... It's certainly not the case for everybody...
  8. Dollarhite

    Dollarhite New Member

    Gotta agree with Mizzou. We ALL hit a wall. Athletes, writers, porn stars. Happens to the best of us. Just look at Ron Jeremy! :eek:
  9. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I have been suffering from the same ailment. There was a time when I'd spend hours perfecting a feature story. Now, I'm content to hack out something in 45 minutes, do a spell-check and send it off.

    I think it's partly the result of laziness. I've become a minimalist, doing only enough to get by. The problem is that nobody calls me on it. If they did, perhaps it would light a fire. But nobody seems to care whether I write a gut-wrenching feature or a piece of fluff.

    Also, when you're overworked, there's a tendency to pound out an assignment as quickly as possible and then move to the next one. That's become the norm in this business as people are being asked to do more with less.

    A lot of people, myself included, enter this business with grand plans to be the best writer that ever existed. Then we learn that there are hundreds and hundreds of men and women just like us. They have similar talent and produce high-quality stories. It can zap your self-esteem.
  10. MCbamr

    MCbamr Member

    I was a far better writer in college than I am now. The reason is that I left college and went directly into SID work, where there is so much less writing to do. If you don't use it, you lose it. It has taken me a while to get it back, and I'm still not happy with my work, but I'm finally to the point where I can see significant progress since my return to real writing.
    The problem now, and this could be your problem, is that the internet responsibilities take so much time and effort. That takes away from writing.
  11. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    Everyone hits the wall at one time or another. Those who get past it are the ones who'll continue to improve. Find a way to get the spark back. There's plenty of excuses for hitting the wall ... other job responsibilities, now I have a wife and kids and five years ago I didn't. Try to find a way past it. You do good features; bring that same desire and enthusiasm to other areas. I'm trying not to preach, just explain what I did when I hit the wall a few years back. I found new ways to challenge myself and the results really re-charged my battery and re-adjusted my attitude. It's been great since.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'd rather not look at Ron Jeremy, thank you.
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