The Daily Juggle
The Daily Juggle
Why the unknown can be rewarding
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When I was a journalist on a daily newspaper 25 years ago I loved the thrill of chasing down a deadline. The editors would come out of morning conference and if one of them had an idea for a women's feature they would assign it to me. The story would need to be filed in three hours. Adrenalin would kick in.
My task as the writer of women's features was to fill the greater part of a tabloid page. That meant research and interviews. And then I had to write it up. It's amazing how fear of a deadline can motivate you. I never once experienced writer's block - there simply wasn't time - but there were days when I got there with only minutes to spare. On those days I envied the opinion writers who I assumed could just bang out a thought and be done with it. Back in the day I believed the Miranda Devines of the world had a cushy existence.
But since the Daily Juggle has been my daily deadline, I have developed a great deal of respect for anyone who can produce a column each day. At least a story has an angle and natural structure to it. It's clear who needs to be interviewed and the facts and figures that need to be found. But when the story is your opinion or experience it can be a much bigger ask day in, day out, unless you harbor extreme opinions or like to be naturally provocative. Sensationalism isn't my thing.
So there are evenings when I spend a lot of time staring at a blank iPad screen. My mind wanders and before I realise it I'm staring at my twitter feed. That's not entirely a bad thing when you're seeking inspiration. Twitter, more than Facebook or LinkedIn, offers me a quick snapshot of the watercooler talking points for the next day. Perfect for a daily columnist. But tonight of all nights, after a ridiculously busy day that sucked all ideas from me (hopefully only temporarily but you never know), twitter was more chat than debate.
Faced with the prospect of a no Daily Juggle day I remembered what I used to do as a teenager when I couldn't think of the answer in an English exam. I would just start writing and hope that eventually something would come to me. I actually did this during my HSC English exam 29 years ago and it worked. Part of the way through the opening paragraph my brain kicked into gear and I managed to produce a pretty decent response to a tricky question.
And so here I am 400 words into a Seinfeld-style Daily Juggle and I feel as though I finally have something to share. A post about filling a page with words that started nowhere but will eventually have meaning is an analogy for a potentially rewarding career plan.
The idea is really about keeping things moving forward even when you're not certain where it will end.
- Step outside your comfort zone and take a risk.
- Don't wait for a fully formulated plan before taking that first step.
- Say yes to roles you haven't done before and push yourself
- Believe you can do it
Is your personal story a thrilling journey with a few surprises along the way? Share with us.