Another Tuesday down. It is my most exhausting day of the week. Monday comes in a close second. For the newspapers I do most of my writing for, Tuesday night is the drop-dead deadline. The “official” deadline is Monday, but there is still time to make adjustments and get in breaking news all the way up to Tuesday night - about right now, as a matter of fact. This week was a full one with one rather lengthy feature story and another rather involved news story mixed in with the run-of-the-mill stuff.
Wednesday is my day to decompress and my editors’ day to scramble. They have to assemble their respective papers as both go to print Wednesday night for delivery Thursday morning… very early Thursday morning. Twice a month, I have to go well beyond deadline because the Colfax City Council meeting is held on the second and forth Tuesday nights and often doesn’t finish until close to midnight. Then I write, filing my story in the wee hours before my editor comes in on Wednesday morning. Thankfully, that was last week - and next week.
On Thursday the routine starts anew: What stories I will get; what’s going on in the upcoming week; and always being prepared to pounce on anything that might break are all within my purview. Usually it slowly gets more and more frenetic as the next Monday approaches… and this week’s city council meeting guarantees yet another late Tuesday night. And I’m loving every minute of it. The cool part is the excitement of this career is only beginning to touch my life. Compared to where it could (and probably will) go, I have only scratched the surface.
At this level, the money is not an issue. I mean that literally - it’s barely enough to survive on. I am not, however, complaining. First, I know this is a temporary situation. The money will get better and although I don’t necessarily expect to strike it rich, I haven’t ruled it out either. I do know that I will get by with everything I need and then some. The bigger payoff is already happening. I love my job. It’s all the things I hate… pressure, deadlines, expectations, consistency, perseverance, dedication and most of all… it’s work. And yet I love it.
It could be because, despite all the external forces pushing on me, it still has a large degree of independence and perhaps even more importantly, it allows me to produce a product that is uniquely mine. Many other people can do my job and even write my stories, but they won’t be my stories. Same message, true, but the uniquely individual delivery - my style - is mine and mine alone, good bad or otherwise. Of course, writing freelance I am decidedly self-employed, but even when I was on the payroll, the individualistic nature of the job gives it the flavor of self-employment. It is the sort independence that can’t be replicated by big money or a corner office.
I thrive on the excitement of not knowing what’s around the next corner. I enjoy the late hours. I thrills me to no end that I rarely have to get out of bed before 9 a.m. A dream job to be sure. Even if a story dictated much earlier hours (more than a few have), I’m up for it and don’t have any problem snapping to attention at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. or… perish the thought… earlier! And when breaking news calls me away from dinner or a date - I’m there without a second thought. It’s more than a job, it’s my life.