I just got off the phone with Kerri Miller of Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning show. Now and then, Miller follows up with authors previously featured on the program, to hear how the book changed their lives, research updates, what's up next--that sort of thing. I mention this only because yesterday I too was doing some follow-up.

The upside to writing about a variety of topics is that it caters nicely to ADHD. The downside, I think, is a sort of drive-by-shooting effect, or maybe the more apt and less violent metaphor is the one night stand. That is, you intensely study a topic, interview the right people, and work your tail off crafting and polishing the article. And then snap. It's over. You're on to the next thing.

For smaller assignments it's not a big deal. But with bigger subjects, be it oil and gas drilling in far-eastern Russia, the economics of environmental conservation, or the Department of Energy's favorite nuclear reservation, there's so much more to be written. Yet because the article I've been assigned to write for whatever publication has been printed, I find it difficult to justify futher time investment pitching new angles on the same subject because they can be tough to find and even tougher to sell editors on, as compared to a fresh topic altogether.

All of that is to say that yesterday at Stanford, I appreciated the chance to touch base with Gretchen Daily, the key source for a piece I recently wrote for West, the Sunday magazine for the L.A. Times. There was still a transaction to be sure: I'm listening for new story possibilities and she's trying to deliver them. Nevertheless, we also debriefed about the overall reaction to the first story, the editing process, what's up next--that sort of thing.
AuthorDavid Wolman