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Joel’s Journal - Entry #84 - 23/1/2017

Do you ever think you can get a wheel spinning so fast that it just never stops?

I always think about my brain like that when I’m in the middle of a heated work session.

Today was almost 12 straight hours of writing, and the product was nearly 11 stories that are set for this week’s or next week’s paper. I try not to let these days come around too often, as I try do my best spread out my writing throughout the week in order to avoid such a situation, but last week, with budgets and everything else going on, I just had zero time to do anything extra.

So, all of that fell today, and pouring my coffee this morning before heading out the door, I was kind of dreading the day ahead. I always try and change my mood though. I tell myself I’m doing something I love, and it may be a shit-ton of work, but just think about the end result, think about the bylines and think about how you’ll feel when it’s done.

I tell myself all of this in the brief few steps beneath the morning sunshine as I walk across the stone pathway from my house’s side door to my car. From the street, I can hear the crossing guard’s whistle as she aids the kids across the road to the elementary school on the other side. It’s a sound I hear from bed sometimes on those days when I get to sleep in.

When I arrive at the office it’s about 8:30 and I’m the first one there. I take off my coat and switch on the heater as I wake up my computer and start checking my emails. With that done, I open my laptop and start transcribing my interviews from the week before. This is a pretty mundane process and involves listening to multitude of interviews I did the week before with councillors or the mayor or whoever and writing out what they said in order to quote them in the paper. These interviews are usually done in person or over the phone. I have an attachment to my office phone that allows me to connect my voice recorder directly into the line and record all of my conversations.

Anyways, that took about an hour and half, and with that all done I plugged my headphones into my iPhone, pressed play on a playlist and got to work.

There was a pretty extensive list of stories I needed to get through including a series from the budget meetings last week, a follow-up on the packed meeting I wrote about previously, along with other city news and my sports content.

So, I was able to get about four of them done before I left the office to meet M for lunch. We met at the Pita Deli again (it’s now a new Monday tradition) and it was just what I needed. It had been a couple days since I’ve seen her and when she stepped out of the car, her hair blowing in the wind, and she smiled at me, a warmth filled my chest. It’s like the feeling you get when you soak into a warm bath or wrap yourself in a thick blanket. I kissed her and wrapped my arms around her before going to get our food.

It was a quick hour, but a break that was much needed from the computer screen. And if you couldn’t tell from my words, it was good to see her, even for a short period of time. She was working later that night so I knew that was it for the day.

I barely noticed as the afternoon sun slowly faded from the street outside my office window.  I continued to crank out the stories. When 5 p.m. rolled around my editor left, I snagged by leftover pita from the fridge and kept going. It was nearly 7:30 by the time I got home. When hopped down the steps into the dark parking lot behind the office, my Golf was the lone car sitting beneath the overhead lights. 

I tossed my bag down by my desk, snagged a couple of sugar cookies from the massive tin my mom made me for my birthday (it was one of the main things I asked for), and flopped onto the couch to catch the news.

I was beat, but my brain was whirling. I checked Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Email. I just couldn’t stop. I watched Jeopardy to see if that would come me down and that only got my brain working faster.

After about an hour I got up from the couch to clean the kitchen a bit when my phone buzzed from my pocket. I smiled wide as I looked at the screen. M had gotten off work early and was heading to the pub for a beer if I wanted to meet her there.

I said I did, quickly washed the dishes and ran out the door.

We watched the end of the Leaf game, well, I did, I don’t think M cared too much, we each had a beer and shared a spinach dip, chatting about our days, silly social media things, and planning out the rest of the week before Montreal on Thursday.

Driving home, I realized my brain had slowly started to ease itself back to a normal pace. When it really get’s going it’s like a constant vibration inside my skull, and thankfully it had begun to fade away.

With that said, today was one of the best days I’ve had in the last couple weeks. The only word I can use to describe it is fulfilled, totally fulfilled.

Or in other words, I crushed it. Take that Monday.

Tomorrow, let’s do it all over again, and make sure whatever you’re doing something you love and doing it well.

Thanks for reading,