Editor’s Advice: The Pacific Index EIC passes news torch

Shelby Cokeley, Editor-in-Chief

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What’s one more blinking cursor, for old time sake?

I’ve written nearly 70 stories for The Pacific Index during my three years on staff and it never gets easier. I wrote just a single opinion piece for the newspaper as a staff member before somehow getting roped into an early editorial position in the section.

Blame a severe lack of staff and journalism majors, the weighty capstone project that captured the attention of the old co-editor, or my own blind ambition to be the next — albeit real — Rory Gilmore, but I went along with it. I co-edited the opinion section for a year, news for a semester and then it was just little ol’ me; a solo editor-in-chief.

And yet, when people ask me about the Index I usually don’t know what to say. Any one of my fellow Media Arts students could tell you just how demanding our “resume builders” can be. They could tell you about how we live down in the Walter Basement. They could tell you about the disgusting amounts of caffeine we drink to stay awake and meet an important deadline. And, if they’re one of the lucky ones, they could tell you about Dave Cassidy’s infamous friendship bread and how it was basically the only thing Index editors actually ate on layout nights before his retirement.

Sometimes we cry over headline mistakes; sometimes we rejoice in seeing an old couple read our paper together. It’s truly a toss-up from issue to issue.  

So, because relishing in one last moment of editor-in-chief glory obviously sounded appealing to me, I’ve decided to face that annoying blinking cursor once more to type up one “last” story. To say what exactly? Well, follow my lead on this: take care of yourself before you take care of your work.

Burnout can be completely debilitating; life’s special way of making you feel like your creative work will never be good enough. When burnout hits, accept it and check back in with yourself. Practice your version of self-care. Take a walk. Eat some pizza. Call your mom. Just do what you need to do to feel like yourself again before trying to push yourself any further.

I’ve been “on deadline” for three years and I can say from experience, if you don’t respect your body and mind, your work will only suffer. Forget the “tortured artist” bit and take care of yourself — your mental and physical health, your emotional self and those around you — before life on a constant deadline catches up to you.

And ultimately, hold with you the peace of mind that as a creative — someone who dedicates themselves to their life’s passion and attempts to make their dreams reality — you are doing “good enough” by doing anything at all. Work to live and f*ck the blinking cursor.

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