I woke up at 5:30 this morning. Normally, this physically demanding event, at such an ungodly hour, would automatically induce a bad mood and cause me to bury my face deep in my pillow in a futile attempt to return to slumber (or in my case, near unconsciousness). Not today.
It was the excitement of the day ahead that had made me rise with such a start, although I realised it was too early to be getting ready to head off the 60-odd miles to CAR’s offices down the A1. Eventually, restlessness got the better of me and before my alarm would have gone off, I was in the bathroom starting my daily routine. And no, before you ask, that doesn’t involve moisturiser.
Not learning my lesson from yesterday, I managed to arrive just after 8:00am, although today, once I’d signed in, I was able to go straight up to the third floor where CAR, and a plethora of other titles you’ll see spread across news stands up and down the land, are based.
Once I’d logged on (foolishly at first wondering why my regular work login details weren’t working) and opened up a ridiculously large number of tabs in the browser to monitor the day’s unfolding automotive news and motorsport stories, I set about Job #1 – producing that morning’s News Watch update. CAR’s managing editor, Greg Fountain, arrived at this point too, so I had someone to ask if I needed any pointers.
By the time Tim Pollard arrived, News Watch was done and awaiting his sharp editing eye before publication, so I set myself on with writing a version of my recent Kia Sportage road test, but more in the style to which CAR’s readers have become accustomed.
Browsing through stories written by CAR’s regular staff of professional writers in such close quarters was an eye opener. The articles were all so neatly compact yet still told the reader everything they needed to know. My rambling tendency to use 100 words when 10 will do (as regular readers already know), was all the more conspicuous to me.
I worked on that review solidly, aided by Carly Escritt from Kia’s PR department providing some pertinent statistics for inclusion just as I needed them, honing, polishing, refining, tweaking, meddling and then honing some more, until I thought it was worthy enough to appear alongside the other reviews.
Funny how that confidence immediately ebbed away when Tim said he’d come over and have a read through – suddenly it felt like the lamest excuse of an article I’d ever cobbled together as he walked around to my workstation.
But that confidence returned almost immediately as he read through it and complimented me about how it ‘worked’. For Formula 1 aficionados who remember Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s quote following his debut win for Williams-Renault at San Marino in 1997, it was an ‘oil on my soul’ moment. I’ve still no idea exactly what he meant by it, but it felt appropriate – if a tad grandiose. Anyway, the upshot is, I’ve now two more reviews on other cars before the end of Thursday, as ongoing jobs.
Phil McNamara introduced himself late this morning (he wasn’t in the office yesterday). Phil’s CAR Magazine’s editor and was a pleasure to talk to as I explained with as much brevity as I could (I don’t verbally converse compactly either) about my 18 month journey to where I am now and where I hoped to be over the coming months and years.
Also introducing himself was Neil Campbell, who many of you may know on Twitter as @covcarhack. Neil’s a senior writer on Bauer sister title Practical Classics – and although it was only a brief hello, what a nice guy he comes across as.
The afternoon was spent doing the kind of job that I know others find boring but I love, because it allows me to pore over endless detail and update things as required. In a nutshell, I was auditing a series of images on the website to check they were as current as they possibly could be, with a view to start amending those that weren’t over the next couple of days. This is where being an anoraky car geek really helps. The audit took the best part of three hours, but if I was tasked with the same job for something else that I didn’t have a passion for, like motorbikes, it’d have taken even longer, double and treble checking what I was doing. Being a car bore does have its advantages, it seems.
Tuesday’s sum up? Well, I’m not going to be pretentious to say I felt as though I was part of the team, but having my work validated and commented upon positively is working wonders for my confidence, and hopefully my writing too. I’ll let you be the judge of the latter.
CAR Magazine logo © Bauer Media, all other images © Keith WR Jones 2011