Opinion: A day in the life of a CEHSNews opinion writer

Jacob Harpring, Writer

Welcome to a very special edition of “A Day in the Life”. It’s special primarily because it’s not following anyone you know or care about and it’s not just a day. Oh no, this is an entire process that can take weeks. This is the process that an opinion writer for cehsnews.com goes through to create the mildly amusing ramblings that adorn our beloved website. Specifically, this how I write a column.

Writers tend to have such a glamorous aura about them. Writers appear to live in a world of open mindedness, freedom and inspiration. But not all writing is glamorous or romantic. In fact, not very much of it is at all. Not all writers move to Tangier only to be heard from again by the occasional draft to show up at a publisher’s doorstep in the night. And unlike Ian Fleming, I don’t have an oceanfront bungalow in Jamaica where I can sit for hours gazing into the azure waters for inspiration and translate it into a beautifully crafted, thrilling spy novel with a typewriter and a Turkish cigarette. No, instead I have a place in a shabby little corner of the newspaper room next to the guy who designs the make-up ads for the Oracle. Not the most evocative space in the world, but through perseverance and determination, this has become the crucible of all my writing.

To first write a story, one needs an idea. But what idea will make a good story? What will the readers care about? Sometimes I walk through the school to find inspiration… and a vending machine because trying to hide snacks in my crummy little corner from the journalists is like trying to hide a smashed fender from a teenager’s parents. Occasionally, the inspiration comes down upon me like a ray of golden sun-or the water that occasionally spews from the ceiling in the stairwell, but sometimes the inspiration doesn’t come, and that’s when I like to tell myself that true creativity can’t be rushed.

When walking around doesn’t work, I act like I’m busy. And I am so good at pretending to be busy sometimes I fool myself. Really, it’s usually when I’m avoiding work that an idea strikes. Then, suddenly as a thought comes from the back of my mind, my train of thought becomes derailed. At that point I think,”Wait, why don’t I just write about what I do in here?”

After a fair bout of procrasti- developing the idea, those first words finally hit the paper. Riding a wave of success, I clock out for the day.

The next day arises with infinite possibilities. So I watch some cat videos on the internet.

It’s usually about the third or fourth day after declaring my brilliant new column that the editors reluctantly meander over to the corner of unproductivity to check in. After making promises about deadlines that will go less fulfilled than those of a presidential candidate, I am left alone with my thoughts and the internet.

The next day I decide to continue writing. But instead I try to get thumbtacks stuck in the ceiling.

Then I get to where I can’t think of anything to say, so I don’t. I know that’s not interesting to read but it’s the truth and I’m told journalism is all about truth.

The next day is equally as fruitless, but I try to compensate by watching some videos of guys riding motorcycles through Wales who usually end up crashing.

By this time the journalists are all turning in their drafts for editing for the print issue but because I’m special, no one bothers to prod me for a rough draft. Which is lucky because I don’t have it yet.

About 75 percent of the content is written in one glorious day. After that however, I hit the wall and struggle to find those last words.

With the last quarter or so of the paper remaining, the trail goes cold. The once radiant light bulb above my head has been dimming until the filament becomes a waning amber glow inevitably being consumed by darkness. But then,there is a spark as the guy who designs the make-up ads pulls out a bag of our favorite crunchy snack and the bulb starts to flicker. As the bag is torn open and as the glorious aroma of saturated fats and sodium floats throughout the corner, the bulb shines like a second sun.

So there. That is the process, the challenge and the satisfaction at the end of the line knowing that I created a quality- no actually it’s knowing I don’t have to do anything for the next week. It’s not easy being a writer but if you’re up to the challenge, please contact us actually, at cehsews.com and apply for my job because I’m sick of this.

At least you now understand why it takes so long before I get a new article out.