Just listened to a Talkshop podcast featuring Richard Russo. He talked about getting lost in the complexity of a novel, and how to get through that but just doing something. Even if you don’t understand how everything fits together, he said, just start working on the pieces that you understand. I think that is how it has been for me working on this story (the one from the postal bin.) It is the most information I’ve ever worked with for a news story and I was definitely lost in it all. But today, I forced myself to go through the whole piece, from beginning to end, through all the placeholders and messy sections where I’d just thrown in block quotes that I was trying to get into some kind of order, with a one-grade-finer comb. It is 17 pages. Not a news story. But it is closer. It felt good to get that much work done.
Interestingly, on this podcast, Russo was asked “how often do you get to an impasse like that and your helped by your agent or your editor or another reader or your wife?” Almost never, was his immediate answer. I was feeling that today, that really I should not go meet with my news manager yet or have a conversation with my (incredibly helpful) coworker. What needed to happen is that I needed to just keep working and it would become clearer. I have two more work days, and all weekend if I’m insane. I hope to use the weekend to just step away, I may realize something about it during that time. So I should sleep.