Monday, October 31, 2005

Calexico, Iron & Wine, Texas Book Festival, and the end of my newspaper writing

Last Friday saw the publication of my last two articles for The Daily Texan, at least for a while. One is a preview for the Calexio and Iron & Wine show that happened at Stubb's last night. The other is a preview for the Texas Book Festival that was held this past weekend.

The amount and difficulty of my schoolwork, my responsibilites in the student organizations of which I'm a member, my other job (officiating volleyball games), and a serious lack of sleep are all contributing factors in my decision to drastically reduce my writing for the paper. All of these are more important than writing for the paper. Yes, even volleyball.

Volleyball pays $9.50/hour to do a relatively easy job. And sometimes a team doesn't show up, meaning I'm getting paid for just showing up in uniform.

Writing for the paper pays $8/week with the expectation that I will average one article or a couple reviews a week. An article takes about six hours to complete when you figure in research, conducting and transcribing interviews, and the teeth-gnashing process of writing it. Reviews aren't as labor intensive, but I still have to read the book or listen to the CD multiple times before I write about it, so six hours is a minimum. Even adding in the fact that I get into the show for free and keep the book or CD, I'm not even making minimum wage.

On second thought, it's wrong to compare the two solely on economic grounds. Getting to talk to bands and writers I like is really frickin' cool. Also, going through the process of writing - as frustrating as it can be - makes my future writing better (at least I hope so). Those benefits can't be quantified.

Still, schoolwork and sleep are much more important in the long- and short-term, respectively. And I didn't even get to go to the Calexico and Iron & Wine show because of school and sleep deprivation. I went to the Texas Book Festival, but didn't have time to finish a wrap-up article about it (sorry Texan editors) for the same reasons. Sigh. Some day I'll finish and post the Lemony Snicket interview/show review I did.

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