Producing hard news was always easier than producing a feature where you can, if you are not careful, follow your clever and artful prose up your own backside. Sometime, you just have too much time to think about what you write.
Many years ago, I worked for one editor who would give me precise dimensions of the story he wanted. No matter what the story was, it had to fit his layout.
“I want a 14 word intro followed by 12 pars,” he would say.
To be honest, I didn't think much of him as an editor but it focussed the mind wonderfully.
When I went into the Examiner office every day to write this column, I would arrive without a clue about subject matter. I just knew that by noon, I had to submit 1,000 words and I did.
Ask any journalist and I'll bet they tell you the same. Pressure produces good work. Most of the time.
Now I work from home. I try to keep to a routine of 2,000 words a day when writing a manuscript. But writing my newspaper column is different and its difficult to set deadlines when my office is down the corridor from my bedroom. It's not the same, but I still tend to leave it until the last minute before actually deciding what doing the work. And if I find myself short of subject matter and time is running out, I can always write about deadlines.