Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Up to date - phew!

For the first time in goodness knows how long, the news thingy I edit is up to date. A story came in last night about an event on Monday and I posted it immediately. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be on top of this: it is now just 23 days until I hand it over and it has been troubling me greatly that I want to leave it in good shape for my successors and that I have not been sure whether I can manage that.

When I came to the job in 2003 it had already been vacant for a while, and not that much of a handover took place. No blame attaches here: it's just one of those things. Additionally, a new web page format had come in during the interregnum and I had to convert the pages to that before I could even start - which was an interesting "in at the deep end" experience. I am determined that the people who take this over will get it as a going concern and will understand exactly what they need to do.

At the moment, with stories up to date, the day-to-day maintenance should not be too demanding. Sure, some new stories will trickle in but with luck I can keep current on them. A few stories are stalled: their status in my database varies from "new" through "live but quiet" to "dormant, maybe dead"! But they are all marked with the important "BITC" for "Ball in Their Court", which is just fine. They may start moving again if their submitters get a new burst of energy, or may not: it is up to them, and I am not chasing work right now. In addition, one part-cooked story is in a bit of a mess and needs rescuing. But this is all quite doable without serious risk of a nervous breakdown.

So, with the routine stuff pretty much under control I can now turn my mind to writing some notes and procedures for my successors. I am trying to be clear that all I am describing is how I do it at present: I am making no claim that this is the right way to do it, or that they should mimic it, or anything. As long as I have helped them to understand the process and how things flow, by seeing the steps that I take, then it doesn't trouble me at all how they then choose to do it. I just want to know that I have done what I can to reveal the stages that must be done to get the stories onto the web and (in most cases) into print. They can then take as much or as little as they like from what I do and approach it however suits them.

So, I think I am in for a busy few weeks. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel and I suddenly feel very much more hopeful about this than I have been doing. Sooner or later I will revisit those blog entries about what I was planning to do with my life, inside and outside the Guild, once I have some time back. Of course those pages are in some ways perhaps a bit of a joke, but they are also terribly important to me and remind me that one day I will actually feel, I hope, a bit different when I come home from work and look at my email.

Don't get me wrong. I have really really loved doing the news editing job. It has benefited me in countless ways and I have friendships from it that will last very much longer than my byline on a page. It's just that it's time to move on a little, and to think about rebuilding bits of my life into a slightly different shape, and I am looking forward to that. I am not yet demob-happy, but in a week or three I just may be!


Kat said...

Are you retiring? Or getting a new jorb?

Strawberryyog said...

Well ... I am leaving the voluntary job as the trumpet news editor, and I am not planning on taking up any other voluntary role for the foreseeable future. On the other hand I do still have a (very) full-time, paid job in an unrelated area so I can't really say I'm retiring!

Kat said...

Ah, I didn't know it was a voluntary jorb. Good work! Especially when you post my articles. :) Hopefully your successor is just as nice. *wrings hands with worry*

Strawberryyog said...

Thanks Kat, and please don't worry, the people taking over are very nice. I'm doing a story soon(ish) on the succession.