April 18 1912
Heretofore I have been regarding my newspaper work more or less as a steppingstone to something else. I have considered it preparation for my real lifework of writing truly important novels. Now I am wondering if I have not made a mistake. Nothing could be more important than being a really competent newspaper executive. It is the daily press, after all, which influences public thoughts. A paper like the Tribune, for instance, with nearly 200,000 circulation may be read by half a million people daily. How many novelists can hope for an audience like that?
Besides, the newspaperman is dealing with living things, with reality. And the novelist usually is dealing with mere fragments of his imagination and not burning questions of the day.
Someday in the distant future I shall write a book or several books. But now I shall devote my energies to making myself the best possible newspaperman. I shall endeavor to be the best telegraph editor the Tribune ever had. I shall set my immediate goal at the news editor's desk. Then I shall hope to become managing editor and finally publisher.
High newspaper executives make fine money. I know I have it in me to become a high executive. I shall be able to save a good deal of money, live comfortably, give Byron a good college education. Then, by investing my savings judiciously in first mortgages and gilt-edge securities, I shall be able to retire when I am in my early fifties and devote myself to literature.