Work Week, 4th week of July 2019

These guys come to the park every Saturday to take their model boats out on the pond.

Last month, a reporter from the New York Times called. He’s doing a book on college affordability and wanted to pick my brain about one of my articles. It was a great chat and at the end of it, he asked to be put on my newsletter distribution list.

Newsletter? I have a blog and an active presence on four social media platforms. Now, I need to produce a newsletter, too? Sigh. How does anybody find the time to get any paid work accomplished, if we spend all our time creating free content to promote our paid work?

Well, it’s the way of the world. I’ve been thinking about how to do it, so it doesn’t cripple me and helps promote my f@cking brand.

I’m too old for this brand stuff. You can’t be an influencer if your neck sags below your chin. That thought set me into a tailspin last night. But let’s not talk about that. Let’s just say that whiskey was involved.

There was some buzz last week about Graydon Carter‘s new newsletter. Since I don’t have a staff of 30, I’m not going to do anything like that. Do you subscribe to any newsletters? Anything I should check out?

One of the things that I want to do on this blog and on the newsletter is give a little more info about my work week. Well, 90 percent of my work week is boring as hell — read tweet, answer tweet, write a paragraph, find a snack, question my life choices, write another paragraph, read a tweet from a person who causes me to feel deep envy and resentment, eat chocolate, send the six hundredth email to the secretary of a superintendent of a large school district to set up an interview, and so on. You don’t want to hear about that.

But 10 percent of my work week is super interesting. I talk to smart, energetic people who really care about kids and want to make the world a better place. They’re charismatic and charming. It’s truly amazing that I get paid to talk to these individuals. I try to convey all this awesomeness in my articles, but I never can do it justice in part because of space limitations. Maybe I will give more of the backstory of my articles in the newsletter.

Even though I’m not working on reporting gigs this summer, I am doing some prep work for articles in September. This week, I talked with a professor, who specializes in trauma experienced by immigrant children, and a president of a community college, who is setting up a new jobs program for students who are falling through the cracks.

Another fun task that I do from time to time is help out fellow writers. This week, I read a draft of a book and gave input. It was a good read, and led to a whiskey-fueled debate with Steve last night.

As I mentioned, I’m taking a break from reported pieces for the summer and writing personal and opinion pieces about parenting and education. I wrote a personal essay about a terrible experience that we had on the flight home from Europe earlier this month. I slowly edited and tightened the piece throughout the week and sent it to editors on Thursday.

Huffington Post bought it in seven minutes, which is a personal record. The editor and I took care of business — contract, bio, picture, edits, title, essay image — in record time. It’s coming out on Monday at 9am.

Things don’t usually happen this quickly. Two finished articles of mine are on deck for publication I hope sometime this summer . I do enjoy speed. Sometimes when there’s been too long of a gap between reporting and publication, I forget what I was talking about and lose the passion for the topic.

But it’s a Saturday and I really shouldn’t be sitting at the computer. When Steve gets back from the barber shop with Ian, I think I’m going to take the boys for a hike. I need to sweat out last night’s toxins.

Enjoy your weekend!

5 thoughts on “Work Week, 4th week of July 2019

  1. Congrats on the new article.

    The personal branding stuff is what I’ve been hearing since graduate school and I never was young enough for it. Professionally, I’m barely visible on the internet, less visible than I was in 1999. My name is common enough that other people cloud the search results.


    1. I share a name with the guy who lead Google to its IPO as Chief Information Officer. I am so buried on the internet.


  2. Laura shows up very nicely in my google search. I think that kind of thing is going to matter in the future. One story coming out of the college admissions scandal was the hiring of specialists to scrub the internet so that your kids internet profile looks clean, the way you want.

    I don’t know what people with really common names held by famous people can do. Or just really common names. I have three women with the same [first & last] name in my FB feed (which does not have a lot of people). It can be mind-bending, occasionally to understand why the one is posting about something.

    As with much in the modern age, both an opportunity and a burden.


  3. I’ll probably offend a lot of young, delicate souls… but basically it’s a trend of millennials who are too busy or can’t be bothered to go click on a blog-website. Like all of the rest of social media and their notifications, they now also need their “news” sent to them by way of an electronic newsletter.

    I can’t be bothered. I’m quite happy having your site bookmarked and checking it when I have the time and energy to absorb all you’ve written. I loathe, hate, despise the fact that every site, app, restaurant, bar, etc seems to want to force feed you with info via notifications, TVs on the wall, even the freakin’ gas station now has screens with all sorts of ads and mini news clips. I feel inundated.

    Stop already.

    Please don’t feel the urgency to create more stuff, unless of course, you feel you need the followers or revenue. I’m quite happy to meet you halfway: you write. I’ll come over here and read.


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