There's a lull that occurs when I finish an issue. It's a strange feeling, you've got the nerves. Was it good enough? Did any mistakes make it through? Will I be able to
get it mailed on time? What else could go wrong? (I don't ask that last one anymore, it's just asking for trouble)
You've got the satisfaction of hustling hard enough to make all of your deadlines. Nowadays I have to finish an issue in roughly 23 days. In that time, I have to gather
content, sell ads, find new subscribers, mail out the last issue, design sections, add pages, do layout, write articles and of course, be a Dad and husband. On the days I
can afford to take off I travel to DC for foster care related hearings or whatever events are within driving distance.
You would think there would be no time to be lazy or procrastinate. That's where you'd be wrong.
The other feeling I get at the end of each issue is exhaustion. Not fall on the floor, I'm too tired to stand exhaustion. More like, I don't want to think anymore,
The one aspect of the magazine that I didn't account for is how all consuming it can be. All day long I'm bombarded with foster care information. From the success
stories and authors working hard to make a name for themselves. To the sad stories about the kids in the system I have chosen to cover. There are outside projects,
which are all foster care related. There's the interaction with people I have met in the last two years, all who have something to do with foster care as well.
I guess what I'm saying is, there's a whole lot of foster care happening around me these days. A LOT.
And that poses a strange problem. While I do need a day or two to rest after an issue , my life just won't allow that. Imagine, you've got your sweatpants on, bag of
chips on your lap, ready for a few hours of mindless television when your phone rings. It's Derek Clark. He's got an idea. If you've spoken to Derek or read last issue's
cover story, you know talking to Derek Clark is like drinking a 2 liter of Jolt!
So there goes TV for the day. I'm on my computer again, working my tail off.
New scenario. You're having a lazy Saturday evening. My wife works on weekend nights, so it's just the kids and I. I take a break from playing with them to check
email and make sure all is well in my social media world, when I see that Danielle Gletow of One Simple Wish got Hasbro to donate to toys for her road trip granting
foster kids' wishes. And Danny Mendoza is handing out laptops and sweetcases like they're candy. Now I have to work because other folks are working. (At this point,
my kids get it, they're at an age where they're getting too cool for Dad anyway)
So there's no downtime. But that's okay. I'm chasing a dream here.
But the risk of slowing down is real. I'm one new video game or TV show away from falling behind at any given moment. I am not really known for my discipline but
for the last two years I have buckled down to churn out twenty four issues. Twenty four issues, I am proud to say, that have each gotten better.
I feel design-wise, I have hit a really good rhythm. Business-wise I am improving as well. I've learned the value of advertisers as it relates to taking some of the strain
off of my personal finances. I'm learning to deal with the recognition, compliments and nice things have to say about the work I'm doing. I'm improving at problem
solving on top of all of this. There have been a lot of bumps on the road to starting the 3rd year of the magazine. The disappearance (destruction) of two laptops, my
subscription list, my archive once and a broken press at my printhouse. The perspective that keeps me sane is knowing that what kids in care are going through right
now is far worse than a customer wondering where there issue is (though that keeps me up at night too) or not being able to find a story I wanted to run. I still
remember my time in care, you never forget, because I remember that experience I am driven to work harder.
I'll get some rest when the magazine is big enough to support a staff. I'll take two days off a month when that happens. I promise.
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Former Foster Kid