After class on on Tuesday, I had an epiphany.
We had each submitted a delayed lede for a story covering Terry Hazen’s talk about bioremediation in the Gulf of Mexico. In class, Ken projected them all on the board, and critiques them one by one. I has struggled with my lede for a simple reason: it was the worst lede ever. I kept trying to rewrite it, tweak it, reverse it, sharpen it, squeeze it, something. But it started stupid and stayed that way.
In class, I noticed that no one else approached the lede the same way I did. I had a choice of 10 completely different ledes up there on the board. I could pick my favorite and reject the rest. How I wished I could have done that for the assignment!
So, for our next assignment, I did. Ten was ambitious, so I decided on three. I came up with three completely different ideas for my lede, and turned my favorite one into an actual sentence. Now I know it’s not the worst lede ever because I’ve got two worse ones right in front of me. It may not be great, but, baby steps. I suddenly had control of the lede instead of the other way around.
So now, for ever more (or till I find a better strategy), I shall think of three ledes for every one I have to write.