I borrow this phrase from my boss who used it to describe his return to day-to-day newspaper routine after seven years of absence.
I have recently taken on new assignment at the office aside from my usual load of editing the op-ed page, writing editorials four out of seven days a week, and writing my Sunday and Monday columns.
Since The Standard moved to Makati last month, I have also been closing the provincial page.
What does it mean to close? It means being the person who decides what goes into page A7,editing/ rewriting the three stories that go there, writing headlines using certain established guidelines, choosing the photos and writing the captions for these.
(My favorite part is writing captions. But that's not all this post is about.)
All these are done after closing four pages of opinion, and most days writing, as well.
Nearly a month since beginning this new routine, I find that I am still adjusting, with a lot more room to improve the next day. It's not really on the work itself but my approach to it, and keeping myself from feeling exhausted when the last page is done at around nine each evening.
At least I get to be so tired that I get a complete seven-hour sleep every night. It's summer vacation, after all, and I don't have to be up so early to see the kids off.
I am challenged by all this. I look forward to the day that choosing stories is not accompanied by the fear of not picking the more relevant ones. When rewriting them is not with worry that I am not writing fairly enough. When headlines are accurate in form and content. When I can be extremely confident again even as I am aware we must not take anything for granted, not even if we have been doing the same thing over and over again.
In fact, this is why I agreed to take on this extra load. I'd like to feel challenged, inadequate, insecure. I'd like to move out of my comfort zone and see what new things I can do. That's how we grow.
So work with me. In a few weeks, I will work up the discipline to get more done in less time, while making good on other, non-Standard commitments and socializing just a bit more, now that I'm physically present every day again.
We'll get there.We'll be on cruising speed in no time.