Last fall I started writing for our local weekly newspaper, and this May I took over as its editor. As part of my role, I write 3-4 news articles per week with all that that entails, as well as edit other’s articles, select appropriate press releases, photography, and approve layout. It has been a steep, steep learning curve but I absolutely love it.
My husband travels for work, sometimes as much as 3 out of 4 weeks every month, and we have two boys ages 9 and 14. We also live in a very rural area and have some household chores that make running the house a little more time-intensive than it was when we lived in a suburb. Extensive gardens, wood heat, etc.
Because I’m mostly single-parenting, it’s important to me to find a way to keep my job to school hours as much as possible. In theory, this is a part-time job, but I’ve only been a journalist for about 6 minutes. And it’s not only for the kids’ sake – I want to have time to do other, more grounding activities like tend my gardens, or read, or actually do my SCS homework. 🙂
I’ve tried calendaring my newspaper work to the minute like this: 15 minutes to upload pics and caption, 1.5 hours to listen to meeting recording and transcribe, 45 minutes to write, 15 minutes to proof, etc.
Sometimes this works, but more often than not something presents itself in the process that makes it take more time. I might realize that there’s a stat I need, or another person I need to interview, and then it’s all blown out of the water. If it’s not that, it’s a kid emergency like someone home sick, or attempted fratricide that needs my intervention. I do try to keep the phrase “B- work” in my mind to counteract perfectionistic impulses.
I’m really feeling the stress of this, it’s backing up in my body as near-endless heartburn and though I have no choice but to be productive – I’m on a weekly deadline – I feel like I’m doing it wrong, like I’m creating more drag than I have to on my way to getting this and my other responsibilities completed.
To be sure, it’s all easier when my husband is at home. My body relaxes just to have that support. But these are the facts of our situation right now, and so I want to learn to craft my days in these circumstances.
What do you see? What am I missing?
Sarah Craighead Dedmon