It can get lonely. I have been a foreign correspondent for 12 years now, typically working alone, whether from a home office or on the road. I am used to sending out emails and making phone calls that don’t get answered. Or just get rejected. That’s part of the job: persistence/patience/more persistence. And in some way it prepares you for this, the thick skin you’ve grown, the knowledge that it is nothing personal and that eventually there will be a payoff. There always has been. But, this is different. There is no editor watching your back, newspaper or magazine paying your bills. More important, though, is that now you don’t quite know what it is you are after. Bearing down for an exclusive interview or begging to get access to this or that restricted place is a process that is straightforward, time-tested, and once the door is open, you know your clock is punched, your creds reinforced. Indeed, in this moment, the implosion of the very entire industry that has created this formula–and provided you work–makes this solo adventure even more daunting.
It’s later than it was last night, and you are trying to cobble together your thoughts as the week is set to begin. You feel you are no closer than you were last week. Yet, somehow, there always seems to be at least one tiny flicker. Tonight it is the green Check in the Skype box of the one other person who, at least for this moment, is as immersed in the thing as you. She is digging for new type face, tinkering with the first skeleton draft of the prototype of the home page. It will sustain me for more than she knows. The beginning of this kind of experience (which for me now has been underway for more than 6 months) is a series of new beginnings. Of constantly and cleverly and hungrily averting the arrival of the end. But when the night grows this late, that flicker of camaraderie is everything.