The past two weeks have been chock-full of lessons.
The first was a lesson in time management. Last week, I ended up with eight assignments for the Town-Crier, six with bylines. The first was a photography assignment at Whole Foods in Wellington on Saturday, June 13. The event was an arts and crafts project where children made Father’s Day cards by marbling paper with shaving cream. I ran around writing down every child’s name and age, then realized later that I didn’t need their ages. My editor actually scolded me for including ages in cutlines. That was my lesson on knowing how much I need to do before I go into an assignment so that I don’t kill myself for nothing.
The second was another photography assignment later that same Saturday at Palm Beach International Raceway. I stood in the hot sun for two hours with nary a race to be seen. The cars were late getting on to the track, and it was pushing 110 degrees. I, being the brain surgeon I am, was dressed in jeans and a polo shirt in an attempt to look semi-professional. I sweltered, and that was my lesson in properly thinking through my attire.
The third assignment was on Monday morning at Wycliffe Golf and Country Club. The USGA was holding a junior girls’ qualifier that I was assigned to photograph. I got to the location and was offered a driver and golf cart to take me out to the sixteenth and seventeenth holes. I took three shots and realized that there was something wrong with my camera. Luckily I live 10 minutes from Wycliffe. The driver of the golf cart was gracious enough to drive me to my car. I sped home, diagnosed the issue and hurried back. That was my lesson in testing my equipment before heading out on assignment.
Three of the other assignment were basic enough to the point where I was not very involved with them. One was a meeting of the Acreage Landowners Association, where I was instructed to write a wrap-up of the event. That was my lesson in plundering articles from the past that relate to mine.
Two of the assignments were opinion pieces. One was about fireworks. I busted my hump putting together safety tips and information about Fourth of July events in the western communities. Apparently it sucked. The Executive Editor went through and changed everything. I was disappointed, but that was my lesson in writing down instructions and paying more attention. That was also a lesson in keeping my mouth shut. The second opinion piece was a topic that I suggested: Father’s Day. I think I wrote a pretty good one there. The article was pointed, and I wasn’t just spewing out facts the way I tried to with the fireworks bit. The difference, I believe, was that the fireworks opinion wasn’t mine, but the Father’s Day one was. That was my lesson in putting my heart into everything I write and finding an angle I’m happy with.
Right now, I’m trying to write an article about the school grades that were released last week. Three high schools in the western communities dropped a grade level, although one maintained the same number of points from last year. I’ve been trying to contact the principals of these three schools for two days, but they will not call me back. I finally decided to ambush them this afternoon. One scheduled a meeting for me early tomorrow morning, and I left messages with the other two. This has been my lesson in patience and persistence. I’m not going to stop until I speak to all three of the principals tomorrow morning.