Deadlines..

A columnist is always under a deadline.  The column is always scheduled for some time in the future and readers will be waiting for that date with anticipation.

When you write a column you won't please everybody, nor will you please many at all in the grand scheme of things.  You will however slowly collect a small following of people who for whatever reason look forward to your periodic prose.

I've watched Stick put out his columns for close to a decade now.. rarely missing a week or taking a holiday.  At times I've admired the actual weekly, at times I've found interest in a certain link or story, but I've always been impressed with and admired his dedication.  Very much.

It's rare a columnist publishes weekly without breaks.  Most have regular blocks of weeks off which are filled with past columns or even a guest columnist.  Each column takes a different amount of work, but doing that work over and over with such regularity requires dedication.. and earns my respect.

When you feel like writing, 5000-10,000 words can be spit out in a few hours and it hardly feels like work.  At times like these it's mostly pure recreation, something you'd do for fun whether anyone reads it or not.  But when you're life is otherwise occupied and you don't really 'feel' like writing, yet the deadline is approaching.. that's work.  Doing this over and over again, week after week, that's dedication.  It's also a work ethic, an indicator of responsibility and a measure of the man.

The proverbial deadline hangs over a columnists head competing for his thoughts, beckoning from a distance, always present and never relenting.  At times it feels like a great weight, and other times like you're privileged.  It's at it's absolute best when you've just seen something, been part of a unique experience, or discovered something that you can't wait to share.  This is the feeling you hope will come every week, but in truth it comes less than you'd like.

Writing a column becomes part if not most of your lifestyle.  You're always on the lookout for fresh and interesting material, notebook always at the ready.  Not an hour goes by without at least a few thoughts about the next deadline.  It's always about the deadline..

The first week of April will make the 9th full year Stick has been publishing his weekly.  The first year he published he put out 39 weeklies, but started in April.  From there it's just grown.  More weeklies, more topics, always trying to 'fit' better with the readers needs.

This amount of work deserves respect, it deserves compensation, and it deserves understanding.  These three I would never deny him.  And we haven't even talked about the good his column has done for many readers, nor the money it's saved through sage advice.  Perhaps it's even prevented a few broken lives.

I've gotta go.. the deadline looms..