Writing about Apple has long been one of my dream gigs. When I was thinking about leaving my old career in IT and web development circa 2004, I made a list of jobs I’d love to have—no matter how outrageous or unlikely. Film director, writer for The Daily Show, and perpetual game show guest were all on that list—and so was writing for Macworld. I even emailed editor-in-chief Jason Snell out of the blue to ask how one gets started in that field. He was kind and took the time to reply thoughtfully, and I totally did not follow his advice.
In 2006, having plunged into unemployment, I got the opportunity to turn that dream into a real-life paying job. After cornering Jason at Macworld Expo, I eventually convinced him to hire me to write for the MacUser blog, and within eighteen months, I started as full-time editor at Macworld. For someone who’d graduated with a degree in English only a few years before, and had basically no training in journalism, it seemed like the best con ever pulled. (Somewhere I’ve still got screenshots of the first time my name showed up on the Macworld homepage.)
For the last eight years, I’ve devoted most of my waking moments to following Apple coverage. To say that I’ve loved every moment would be an overstatement: like any job, there are plenty of ups and downs; for every triumph, there was an opportunity to learn from mistakes. But I had the privilege of working alongside folks who I’d been a fan of from afar—Jason, Chris Breen, Dan Frakes, Jim Dalrymple, Peter Cohen, Rob Griffiths—folks who worked just as hard, even if their names didn’t always come to the forefront—Scholle Sawyer-McFarland, Philip Michaels, Dan Miller, Jon Seff, Jackie Dove, Jim Galbraith—and folks who I met along the way—Roman Loyola, Serenity Caldwell, Lex Friedman—as well as more freelance contributors than I can name. (Not to mention being the editor of the Macalope—whoever he is—which, among other things, gave me an opportunity to talk to Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry!)
In my tenure at Macworld, I’ve had a lot of different responsibilities, from writing breaking news to working with freelancers, putting together reviews of iOS, recording podcasts, and, of course, covering Apple live events, like the one earlier this week. Some of these challenges were more satisfying than others, but all of them were, in the end, part of a job that was—if I can veer into the schmaltzy for a moment—a dream come true.
That said, I’ve also spent plenty of time in the last few years dealing with feeling burned out and overwhelmed, especially as our editorial staff dwindled. That’s perhaps been the biggest challenge I’ve faced to date, and it’s a quiet and troubling one that so many folks encounter and don’t know how to talk about, me included.
So while leaving Macworld definitely falls into “challenge” category, it’s hard not to feel a certain amount of weight lifted from my shoulders. There’s opportunity here, too. A chance to get back to what I’ve always loved the most: making things. Anybody who’s followed me for any length of time on Twitter knows that I’ve been hammering away on novels for years now, and I’m looking forward to being able to devote to those projects the time they deserve.
Like the endings of all my favorite stories, this one is bittersweet. It means saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, and stepping away from something to which I’ve given years of my life. But it also means a chance to pare away the things that often take the most out of us. That said, it’s hard to imagine being absent from the Apple and technology scene for too long; it’s too much a part of me.
But anyway, here we go: Part III, Chapter 1, Scene 1. Etienne Volk reminded me of a line from one of my favorite movies, Lawrence of Arabia, and I can think of no place that it applies more than here: “For some men, nothing is written unless they write it.”
Here’s to writing the future.