Still idling…

I have had NO desire to work on Charley lately, in case you haven’t noticed. Every time I think about it I groan inwardly and return to my books. (And those awesome Epic Rap Battles of History vids on YouTube.)

I don’t know whether to take an official vacation, or to grit my teeth and start daily updates again, hell or high water.

Years ago one of you warned me against burnout: “You are battling the tide here and you are doing it alone.” Certainly it feels like it now. There’s so much WORK. And there’s no option to quit. Partly because there’s no one to take my place. But mostly because, if I do, it’ll be just one more thing I’ve failed at.

God, I’m tired.

Life’s longest journey begins with a single step and all that. Carry on.

Got another ET entry: Otto Lueth, a sixteen-year-old boy hung in 1890 for the murder of a seven-year-old girl.

17 thoughts on “Still idling…

  1. Marilyn Rogers August 29, 2012 / 12:50 pm

    Take a break, but please don’t quit! If there is any way a humble volunteer can help lighten your load, I’d gladly help you out. I hope you truly realize how important you are to a lot of people. And if you ever need to vent to a total stranger, I’m just an e-mail away!!

  2. Regina baugh August 29, 2012 / 7:19 pm

    You have done a great job, you deserve a vacation.

  3. Tara August 29, 2012 / 9:00 pm

    You totally deserve a vacation. In the meantime, I’m sure you could find plenty of other people to help (like me!) lighten your load like Marilyn suggested. Feel free to let me know if there’s anything I can ever do to help.

  4. Leslie Shaw Ewald August 29, 2012 / 9:09 pm

    It’s really important that you take care of yourself, Meaghan. *preacherly tone* Please try not to define your life in terms of failures. You are a great person, you’ve accomplished so much and you are just beginning your life. Don’t be so hard on yourself.*end of preacherly tone*

  5. Steve August 29, 2012 / 10:04 pm

    Quit whining and get to work

  6. Michele August 29, 2012 / 10:26 pm

    I can imagine it could become easy to burn out in your situation. I know that you have a lot of complex organizational systems in place, so maybe you could recruit several volunteers to each take a small job from you for a short time, such as guest blogging, research, database maintenance, update writing, etc etc.
    I would be happy to help with blogging or update writing. I am a journalism student and could use the experience 🙂

    • Meaghan August 30, 2012 / 5:51 pm

      I appreciate the offer and I’ll keep it in mind.

      My (thus far) refusal of such offers is partly due to pride and partly because I’m unsure of my ability to delegate tasks. I’m a very passive person and I also worry I wouldn’t be able to tell someone if they don’t do the job right.

      I have, however, figured out a “job interview” of sorts for people who offer to write cases for me, if I ever take them up on it: do a Charley Project write-up of a well-profiled case I haven’t touched yet, make it thorough and factually correct, and make the style sound like mine. I think that’s a good way to see whether they are suitable.

      • Michele August 31, 2012 / 5:51 pm

        That’s a good interview 🙂
        you get my email when I post a comment, so if you decide you would like me to try out, just let me know

  7. Andrea August 30, 2012 / 12:35 am

    I know it’d be hard, but is there any possible way to get someone to help you? Do you know anyone who would be interested and capable of working on updates and such? It’s such a hard job to manage alone.

    • Meaghan August 30, 2012 / 12:37 am

      I’m not lacking for offers (as seen above, for example). It’s mostly my own stupid pride standing in the way.

  8. Justin August 30, 2012 / 12:48 am

    Meaghan, how exactly are you failing here? There will ALWAYS be more MP to profile. Always. You could work 16 hours a day here and not catch up. This isn’t new information to you. You KNOW this. You are holding yourself to an impossible standard, then beating yourself up when you can’t meet it. If I was doing your job, there would be days when the thought of missing persons would make me want to hurl.

    For the last time, this is not all or nothing. You are not going to wipe out the backlog at one sitting, or two, or ten. There will always be a backlog and it will always be huge because state databases and NamUs have increased profiling their missing persons on the internet many times over in the past few years. Just look at Missouri Highway Patrol website for missing persons, which I don’t even existed a couple of years ago now has over 600 persons and adding more all the time.

    From past conversations, I don’t think you want to delegate your work out to volunteers. You like the complete control over your output. If you are not going to accept their help, then you need to pace yourself and FORGET ABOUT CATCHING UP TO THE BACKLOG. You don’t have a quota here. People come to your website because of your quality and in-depth work you put out on your profiles. We don’t need 20-30 updates and new profiles at a time. I’ve said it once before: Quality, not quantity.

    I’ve lost track of the number of blog entries you’ve posted about your being overwhelmed and behind and apologizing over your lack of updates. If you want to take a break, do it. Your site, your rules. If you want to take a hiatus from this site for a couple of months because you are burning out, do it. Because if you don’t start finding enjoyment in your site again instead of it being a stone around your neck, you are going to pull a Jennifer Marra and hand it off to someone who will in all likelihood NEVER put in the quality work you do and like a once great restaurant that changed management, will eventually close it’s doors.

    • Meaghan August 30, 2012 / 12:55 am

      I know. I know. I actually talk about this in therapy a lot. Not the site per se, but the fact that I expect too much of myself and then get overwhelmed and, oft as not, wind up doing absolutely nothing because I’m paralyzed with the fear that I won’t get it done right or won’t do enough of it.

      With Charley the trick seems to be not to stop for long enough to fall into danger of become paralyzed. You know, like climbing a tall ladder while making sure not to look down.

      I’ll get through this as I have before. I managed to keep updating through the Great Headache Crisis after all.

  9. Mary Beth August 30, 2012 / 9:21 am

    I’ve posted on this blog a couple of times, but not for over a year. Just wanted to throw in my two cents. I actually wanted to give a good recommendation to Marilyn Rogers. I came here last night and saw that she had offered to help. We have communicated about several missing person cases. She has an excellent background and is very good at doing research. I haven’t communicated with Marilyn for a while, but when I saw her name here I had to give her a big thumbs up! I can only imagine how overwhelming it is to keep up a website like this. You’ve done a great job with this on your own, Meaghan. But if do consider getting help, Marilyn would be an ideal person to consider.

  10. meyahna August 30, 2012 / 5:28 pm

    I don’t know it happened to me and taking vacations just made me have more articles to go through and post. So I just ended by deleting the whole and then I was no longer tired. But in your situation you can’t do that lol. I also decided to focus on older cases and it helped me a lot. Maybe you could start by working only on cases older than three years (the rest are more numerous and have more updates but still have fair publicity already). And once you’re done, work on the rest. You could also hire someone as temporary help to format pages leaving the circumstances blank (that would already save you a lot of time but leave you the principal part of the page).

    • Meaghan August 30, 2012 / 5:38 pm

      “I don’t know it happened to me and taking vacations just made me have more articles to go through and post.”

      Yeah, me too. Every time I take some time off, when it’s over I wind up working twice as hard trying to pick up where I left off.

      Alas, I have no money to hire anyone. Besides, I’ve done some informal calculations and I don’t think a template will save me that much time. The real time-consumer is the extensive research and then writing I do — which is something I can’t skip out on, since it’s the very purpose of Charley and the thing that sets it apart from other MP sites.

  11. meyahna August 31, 2012 / 5:37 pm

    I meant hire someone for free. But yes then maybe try to focus on older cases for example prior to 2010. Just tell yourself what I tell myself: “I can’t do all all alone” the work you try to do is quite subhuman. Don’t blame yourself if you can’t. What you have achieved so far is already incredible. You have the right to have your own life and not spend your days updating Charley. If you add less cases it will make you less work and will let you free time to just breathe.

  12. meyahna August 31, 2012 / 5:41 pm

    oops superhuman I meant lol, forgive my English

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