I have always loved something about every job I've ever had. When I was an Army scout platoon sergeant it was sneaking a patrol right up to an old stone border marker at 2 in the morning and startling a squad of East German solders on the other side out of their pants. As the new, young editor-in-chief of the largest weekly community newspaper in San Diego County, it was seeing a huge readership surge as a result of a 4-month effort by 18 team members to completely revamp a publication that had been stagnating for more than a decade.
When I was the editor of Rescue Magazine, it was turning on the radio to listen to the start of the World Series and hearing it had been postponed by a major earthquake, and then immediately throwing all of my camera gear and backpacking equipment into the back of my truck and driving all night to San Francisco, where I spent the next four days in that truck reporting live from the emergency response scenes around the Bay Area. As the executive director of an environmental organization, it was going out to one of our habitat restoration sites like the one pictured at the top of this page after a long day in the office to behold the fruits of all that *!#@%!! regulatory paperwork I had my nose buried in all day.
No job is perfect, so we look for these moments, or projects, or we make them happen. Nowadays my favorite things to do at work are writing and ghostwriting, photography, editorial management, graphic design, and working with teams of excited people. That's my wish list. I try to find work that includes as many of those things as possible. And preferably, all of them at once.
Impossible you say? Improbable for sure, but the project below is one of those rarities.
Below are example pages and spreads from the latest issue of Orange County Coastkeeper Magazine: a high-quality, 72-page publication highlighting the accomplishments, philosophy and future direction of sustainability for this respected environmental organization. Orange County Coastkeeper protects water quality throughout the Santa Ana River Watershed of Southern California and the coast of Orange County, and now even in the Coachella Valley. There is a link to a full PDF of the magazine at the end of this post if you're interested in seeing it all.
Through my business, Winning Words, I was asked to be the executive editor and creative director for the issue, roles I had played on the previous issue. On this one I performed a majority of the writing, all interviewing, all editorial coordination with management and the team, and I provided much of the photography. I designed it, laid it out in InDesign, and did all of the pre-press work. Much traveling and hiking were also involved.
When you start getting in a funk and your work is getting you down, think of how you can change what you do to get a half hour of something on that wish list of yours back into your day. That is what I am doing with this blog. When you have succeeded, work on squeezing another half hour in. It can be done, whether you work for someone else or you are your own boss. Try it, and I guarantee that pretty soon, you will be be a much happier camper.
To download the entire publication in PDF format, click here (7.7 MB)
Keep in mind that this was laid out as a printed magazine so a few of the article opening spreads have lettering spaced to provide for the inside gutter.
Lee Reeder is a ghostwriter, writer, editorial project manager, photographer and graphic designer with decades of experience. He has also served as a non-profit and for-profit leader and manager.
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