Some people scream when they walk into my office and see my desk. Others faint, and I think there have been one or two who I had to quickly put a nitroglycerin tablet under their tongues before their hearts gave out. It’s not a sight for a person with the psychotic need to maintain order and have an abundance of clear spaces. No, those people should just speak to me through the closed door and not venture inside.
There are days when I try to get all the paperwork and files organized, but it’s like trying to organize sand. I finally give up, stack it into a respectable heap and charge mountain climbers to scale it. Not to brag, but it is now considered to be one of the peaks in the Western Hemisphere that has swallowed a few mountaineers. At the rate it’s growing, it’ll soon be considered a mountain range. I wonder if I’ll get to name it.
A friend recently posted on Facebook that a cluttered desk is the sign of a creative mind. I don’t know about that. Considering I’m the person who, not too long ago, punched my PIN into the microwave instead of the minutes, I’d say the inside of my head, if that’s where the mind resides, hosts nonstop fireworks, a few hurricanes, a nightclub where Cher’s music is on repeat and an airport during Christmas when a snowstorm has shut down all flights. Oh my gosh, that was a long sentence to write. I need to catch my breath. Let’s lean against Mount Philyra and rest. I decided to name the mountain after the Greek goddess of paper because, you know, it’s made of paper.
So now that you’ve seen my desk, I want to explain why it really looks like this. At any given time, I’m juggling about five or more tasks. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely world when you can’t afford to hire a staff, leaving you to do it all. Recently, a brilliant young woman came along and has been helping me. She’s a godsend. She designs beautiful ads and assures me my desk is proof of my creative genius. Bless her heart. She can say it with a straight face, but I know she’s thinking, “Oh my gosh. Did that stack of papers just move?” Maybe. Who knows what’s under it. Is anyone missing a child?
It’s nice to believe a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind, but I think, in my case, it’s simply the result of being too tired to sort things and put them away. Seriously. My days begin early and end late. It’s 11:58 p.m. as I write this, and I still have about an hour’s worth of work to do. I’ll go home, visit with the dogs and discuss their day with them. We’ll sit outside for awhile in the cool night and look at the stars. I can’t sit out there long because I’m up around 6 a.m. to do it all over again.
That schedule has taken its toll, and I recently opened an email and saw proof of it. A subscriber told me she wanted to cancel her subscription because the website hasn’t been updated, and she has to go to the Journal’s Facebook page to see what’s going on. It’s true I haven’t covered news as I should during the last couple of months, and even though I know readers have to notice, I tried to squeak by. But then I got the wake up call from the subscriber who is absolutely right. I have been doing a poor job of reporting the news in the way that made the Journal popular and quickly established it as the dominant source of news in the community. Sorry, News Press. We can compare numbers if you like.
I want to apologize to that subscriber and to all the others who have paid money to get news. You deserve to get your money’s worth, and so do the advertisers. I’ve told publishers of other papers I haven’t had to go out and sell one ad, that they’ve all come to me, and they’re shocked. They’re struggling to fill their print papers with a minimum amount of ads, and I’m behind in building the ones I have. I have to admit that during the last two months, I’ve jeopardized that blessing, but as of today, I’ll correct it. Being tired isn’t an excuse. If that’s the case, then I should just quit, and I’m not going to do that.
So it’s now 12:09 a.m., and I’ve taken a screen shot to show I’m not kidding. This is my day. This is my world. But this is what it takes to be No. 1 and to stay No. 1. You have to sacrifice to reach your goals. You have to work hard. The last couple of months I took the easy way out and covered events that didn’t require a lot of writing or research. When you read a good news story of about 500 or more words, you’re reading a piece that might have taken four hours to put together. The digging for facts, interviews — sometimes with people who don’t want you to have the facts — and then arranging it so it reads easily. If you think it’s easy, try it. Sure, a reporter can regurgitate the minutes of a meeting, but that’s not reporting. Let me tell you why I know I have been slipping. In the beginning of the Journal’s existence and until recently, people contacted me pretty much daily to ask if I could look into something. That hasn’t happened in the last couple of months. People have stopped believing I can or will do it. I have to think, “What the heck have I done?”
It’s time to get back to work and quit making excuses about how tired I am or how much I have to do. When you buy a dozen eggs, you expect to get 12 good eggs. Not 10 and not 11. Twelve. So when someone subscribes, they expect to get their money’s worth, and they should expect it. I want to assure you, I’ll be on it tomorrow. Well, not exactly tomorrow. In about six hours.
Please accept my apology for slacking. It will be corrected, and I hope y’all will again contact me because you believe the Journal will investigate and won’t be afraid to report the findings. I’m actually excited to get back to what the Journal was created to do: report the news and be the forum where the community gathers to get the news and share it.
I sincerely apologize to the reader who did me the favor of calling me out. You don’t realize it, but you probably saved the Journal. I owe you. I owe you huge. Thank you.