By: Elaine Wang
I first learned of EWC’s existence in early June when my mom asked me if I was interested. Not really knowing what to expect, I hesitantly agreed. This will be fun, I thought.
The first day of writing may as well win the “Elaine’s Most Unstable Day of the Year” award, if there were one. Waves of exhilaration and anxiety pounded my poor heart, and in turn I could feel my heart crash against my ribcage.
First I painfully realized the muscle between my ears somehow turned unresponsive when presented with the task of writing a hard news article. So then I went onto the program’s website and watched and re-watched Jane go through the steps one by one. After spending an hour staring blankly at the screen, I randomly chose a headline and opened a Google Doc to start writing. The 5 W’s and quotes only took me about 20 minutes or so – which in my opinion is a great first time – the hard part was the notes. I read the article ten times over and could only manage to write three. It was only after my mom’s help that I wrote another two.
Then the next problem arose: the computer I was using did not have Microsoft Word installed on it. My dad thought he could cheat the “save as Microsoft Word” requirement by simply saving the document as “.word”. And that worked – for that singular requirement. My mom then proceeded to point out the fact that I would not be able to see or edit my editor’s suggestions, because, again, I did not have Microsoft Word. So finally, Dad installed Word.
I finally submitted the article to my editor. I had a mini-celebration, because it took me four and a half hours to write, which meant nonstop typing whilst intently staring at the computer, as well as pulling out five fists of hair. And then came the fun part: waiting for feedback. I hurriedly checked my computer every few minutes the rest of the night, and the morning of the next day that was the first thing I did.
The rest of the day I eagerly waited in anticipation, only to be greeted with no change every time I looked through my inbox. Just like that, another day passed without even a word from my editor. I was starting to doubt he even saw my piece (no offense, George) – even my younger sister’s editor had given her feedback. The following day I was really starting to think my editor had a concussion and forgot he had articles to edit. It was only in the evening that – after my mom checked her email – I found out the blue “First Draft” icon had changed to red. I was so ecstatic I literally stopped eating dinner and ran to my computer to check. To be honest, I accepted all the comments without even reading them out of pure ecstasy. When I read the small blurb of compliments and suggestions at the end George wrote, my heart nearly burst with pride. That night, I went to bed feeling very accomplished.
The following days went by quickly as I slowly got into the routine, and writing news articles became easier. Unlike the first day, it took considerably less time for George (my editor) to send out feedback, I felt like a professional writer when I looked at the 400-word long piece I had typed out in three hours, and I no longer just blindly accepted all George’s suggestions.
Every day flew by quicker than the previous, and soon weeks were going by in a blur. On Monday of the last week of writing, I thought, Well, this is it, I won’t have to write anymore after this, but somehow I felt kind of annoyed at that. Then, while writing the article of the day, I suddenly remembered the thought I had when my mom first introduced me to the program: This will be fun. I pondered over it for a while – I learned a lot, I practiced my writing skills, I improved my grasp of journalistic conventions, but… did I have fun? And for some reason, that really bothered me. I thought about it every day: I was tired after every day, my eyes were sore from staring at the screen for so long, and it didn’t feel like I was improving– so did I really have fun?
Then I thought about the first time George gave me feedback, the first time, no, every time an article of mine was published, the feeling I felt when I finished writing yet another piece; and I asked myself again: “Did I have fun?”
And my answer to that would be: Yes, yes with a capital Y.
Note to George: Thanks for putting up with me and my works this (nearly) entire summer break! You were a really great editor – I heard from my mom some others were not as responsible or willing to give feedback as you. I hope you have a great rest of your summer, and hope I get you as my editor again next year!