My writing habit is so fragile it can be derailed by the slightest change – headline news on the television, a phone call. I might not make a good on-the-spot reporter. A news reporter must be able to produce in any situations, under any circumstance.

Which brings me to my point.

Early in his career, a novel writing instructor, Gains Smith, had worked as an on-the-street reporter for a large Maryland newspaper. Late one night his editor sent to cover the acceptance speech of the Maryland Governor-elect.

It was late. The supporters were joyous and noisy. Upon his arrival, Gains found the crowd already assembled at the podium. He had no choice but to get as close as possible and hold his tape recorder above their heads.

The hour was late, very late, when he returned to his flat. After pulling his Royal portable from its case he inserted a sheet of paper and then turned on the tape machine. Instead of the Governor-elect’s voice he had only the shouts and whistles of the supporters.

His only option was to call a friend, a roommate from journalism school, even though he was employed by a competitor. They met at a truck stop for coffee at three o’clock in the morning for the favor.

Gain’s editor never knew how close he came to not having a story.