It’s awards season again.
We’re culling through our work for the past year, trying to pick pieces we think were good, that judges somewhere will like. And it’s entirely a guessing game.
I run a search for my name, and find a couple stories I forgot about. One or two I think are really good; I think they deserve an award. A couple I just tossed in for good measure. I’ve never been able to guess well what journalism judges like, but the more I put in the better chance I have.
That’s what I hope, at least.
Starting in February, I’ve got story after story about legal fights involving renovation projects at one of my school districts. I remember how every Friday, it seemed, something new turned up and I’d be scrambling all afternoon, hoping not to have to work late into the weekend.
I can’t think of a way to enter those stories. There are too many, they’re too complicated. I let them go, but an editor differs. We’ll break them up into two entries for continuing coverage. It’s a novel enough situation that we covered well. It needs represented.
And so the process goes, trying to pick the best out of a year of work. It’s both depressing (don’t I have more really great pieces to show for a year of work?) and encouraging. There are a lot of entries showing my name when I run the search. Stories lost in the repetition stand out, mundane pieces I entirely forgot about that really aren’t that bad, now that I read them again.
It’s a frustrating process, too, because it’s hard to guess what the judges will like. And I really need an award this year.
I’m the one who writes for a living, who claims to do this writing thing well enough to ask for a paycheck based on it. But he’s the one bringing home first place prizes for his work, with actual dollar figures attached.
Not that I’m competing or anything, but bragging rights would be nice.