What working for a newspaper does to you
It has been over a year since I started editing stories for this newspaper. The job itself is not particularly complex: there are just a few things I need to keep in mind. A shoulder is not something people lean (or cry) on. And datelines have nothing to do with dates.
We use British spellings. It’s ‘realised’, not ‘realized’. I must use ‘that’ sparingly. I have to economise on words, as we believe that saying something succinctly is more effective than a verbose treatise that winds and unwinds its way to senselessness.
I sometimes fish for catchphrases.
I have been made to realise that space is precious. I have learnt to conserve. I have learnt to cast away needless details and learnt to stick to facts. I have whittled and cut, pared and abbreviated. I have learned to allocate space to what is important, and take from what is redundant. I picture news in columns and word counts.
I like to believe that I play a demigod, giving shape to raw history as it is recorded on our pages.
My work defines me. It has begun permeating my personal space. I am (modestly) skilled in the art of editing, so I have adapted by whittling away on the needless specifics of everyday life.
I work asynchronously with the rest of the world, so my social/leisure time has definite temporal dimensions. I have realised that I have too many friends. I cannot possibly entertain them all. I have started by cutting some out. I have a lot of ‘somebodys I used to know’ in my phonebook. I think that that is quite needless. I will edit it down to 100 people come Sunday.
I have realised I can no longer make time for that TV show I watch just because my girlfriend makes me. I have edited that out of my life. I started by sacrificing Saturday night get-togethers (they are too recurrent a feature in the Sisyphean nightmare that is my life), but have recently realised that weddings should go too. I visit funerals sparingly, because everyone dies eventually.
I have limited myself to two lede happenings a day. One is work; the other is keeping a spatiotemporally strained relationship working.
All the rest gets relegated to the margins of my existence.
Read more by Zain here.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.