It’s About Damn Time

154 days.

That’s how long it’s been since I last posted. Disgraceful, really, but when I fill you in, perhaps you’ll forgive my tardiness.

You see, last time I posted, I announced that I’d been hired at a television station! Exciting news, to be sure. But that Entailed a lot of extra work. Until that time, I’d never had a job that required working eight hours a day. That was unheard of! Working odd jobs here and there, in restaurants, gigs to pay the bills… but I’d have weeks where I only worked two or three days, with four or five days off! Those weren’t too frequent, but having at least three days a week off was normal.

"... maybe someday if I'm a good writer, I'll be portrayed in a romantic comedy next to Owen Wilson."
“… maybe someday if I’m a good writer, I’ll be portrayed in a romantic comedy next to Owen Wilson.”

I went from that, to working eight hours a day, and odd hours too. News stations work in two shifts: morning, and night. The morning shift runs from an ungodly 3:00 A.M., to between 10:00 and noon. Those are about the worst hours I can personally imagine. The actual working of them may not be too terrible, but going to bed at 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon. Unconscionable. Especially with a significant other.

The other shift runs to the much more reasonable 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon, to 11:30 at night when the station closes. I mean, it never really closes, there’s always someone at the helm, manning the conn so to speak. But the writers go home, and so do all the producers and regular staff.

I was fortunate enough to land on the afternoon crew, so my rotation is a comfortable evening shift that lets me sleep in to 10:00 or 11, or really whenever I want, even if I do feel like a bag of crap waking up that late.

So I got to be a news writer! Technically I was labeled a “P.A.”, or “Production Assistant”. That means I just helped put the shows together, and was basically on the bottom rung of everyone’s ladder. But it was a big step up from saying, “Yes sir, I’ll bring you more Hollandaise sauce,” and “no mam, we don’t actually accept expired coupons, would you like to speak to my manager?”

A noble soul can only bear so much of that.

Not to say I was better than anyone else, but it does wear on a body when you work with people who have no greater ambition than to do exactly what they’re doing right now, working tables, and talking grandly about the things they’re going to do someday, or the ships that sailed by when they weren’t looking, when I’m planning a glowing marquee with the title of my novel featured next to evening showtimes and ticket prices.

In any case, that was all well and good, but the problem was that I was still only part time. This left me scrounging for other opportunities to pay the bills. I ended up taking another restaurant job to get by, but I’d had a taste of freedom at that point, and working at another restaurant was more than I was willing to stomach. I quit, with no idea how I was going to make things work, other than the firm conviction that I was through working as a server.

"The Hills Like White Marmots"
“The Hills Like White Marmots”

Persistence and luck paid off, however, and at the end of December an opening appeared for an assignment editor. For those of you who don’t know, an assignment editor is someone who works the assignment desk in a news station. That means listening to police scanners, checking fire department dispatch posts on the website, and checking local bulletins for breaking news around the city. It’s not an easy job, and it’s not one I wanted, but full time is full time. I grabbed it with some resignation, feeling certain I’d never get off the desk once I took it.

However, not one day after I took the job, another vacancy appeared and I leapt at the opportunity. I was back in my boss’s office the next day, after sending him an e-mail the night before, and I think we both knew I wasn’t walking out of there without that job. That was about a month ago, and as you might have guessed, I got the job. I’m now senior writer at the news station, and I couldn’t honestly be happier. It’s a lot more hours, but it’s incredibly gratifying and fun. I get to go to work everyday knowing I’m writing the news, I’m on the inside, and that feels good.

Now, a position like this is just a stepping stone in this industry. No one stays a writer very long, and there are different avenues in front of me depending on which road I’d like to go down. Honestly, I’m really putting my money behind my book taking off, and now that I’ve got my job situation sorted, I want to rededicate myself to making that happen. The Amazon “Breakthrough Novel Award” is coming up on the 14th of February, and you better believe I’m submitting.

I’ve also recently begun recording my novel. We have a sound booth at the station, and so I go in and close the door and hit the mic and it’s actually quite fun. It takes a good amount of time to read each chapter, and I’ve only got two so far, but I think they sound pretty professional, if I do say so myself. If you’d like to listen on them, you can click right here and they’re both on my YouTube page.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ll start posting on here more regularly again now that I’ve got my feet under me, and hopefully before long all this will take off, and I’ll be on my way to that golden marquee.

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