Working for a newspaper is not exactly what I thought it was going to be when I applied. I honestly thought it was going to be a lot of really hard work, in-depth interviewing and constant, hard work and writing. What I’ve found instead is that there is a lot of dead time to do a weird, wooly and wild variety of different types of writing.

Not that I’m complaining. My past as a freelance writer left me very little time to do any creative writing of my own. All my creativity went into crafting words, sentences, paragraphs and entire articles around topics that I either a) didn’t care about in the slightest or b) actively found annoying. There was rarely any separation between these two categories: sometimes I hated a topic I didn’t care about. Sometimes I didn’t care about a topic I hated. It was a rather odd dichotomy, I admit.

Dichotomy epitomized.

The main problem with my freelance jobs was that it was all self directed and self edited leaving to a lot of sloppy writing about things I don’t care about in the slightest. As a sports writer, I’m careful enough to write about things I don’t care about in a well researched, carefully structured manner that makes it seem like I really do care about how hard another guy punches another guy. It’s been a true test of my writing skills and I’ve welcomed it.

Another big difference is the amount of writing I have to do as a sports writer. I may spend a few hours researching an article (i.e. attending a sporting event) and then spend half an hour to an hour carefully writing a solid piece that stands at no more than 700 words. Usually much under that many words. At my busiest, I was writing more like 2,000 words a day on things like garbage pails and dog beds.

It’s a big bed. That dog’s sleep on. That’s about it.
Photo courtesy of Big Dog

I’m sure it sounds hilarious and hilariously easy to write descriptions of dog beds, and it is, but try writing fifteen different descriptions of dog beds that basically vary only by color. And having a client internet scream at you because you didn’t follow the format they wanted but did not specific. I’m not going to turn this into a “DAMN THE CLIENT!” rant because that’s intellectually lazy and one-sided. But man, fuck those guys.

So now I do very little writing for work but get paid as a reporter. I like that. It’s a steady wage and not dependent on how much pure garbage I spew as a writer. It gives me time to update three different blogs (two of them twice a day) and to continue work on my epic sexual deviancy novel which is at about 100 pages in the last couple of months. Going slower than I’d hoped but faster than I dared dream.

I do miss the day so waking up at 12 and sitting in my underwear and making 90 to 120 dollars a day. But you know what? No I don’t!