Sometimes... life is better in black and white

Tuesday, February 3

A New Mission

I know I know – it’s been months since I’ve updated this blog. Here’s the thing. This is the first blog I’ve ever had and when I created it I had no idea the power of social networking. I hadn’t yet joined twitter and other than MySpace, which I only knew about through my children, I wasn’t familiar with any other blogging site. In fact, I really created this page as just a, “well I’ll blog if I have time,” kind of thing without any forethought into what it could mean for both myself and others.

Since then however, I have learned a lot and am now a proud member of Twitter, Blogger, Facebook and several other social networking sites. This includes MySpace, which I swore at one time I would never join since I thought anyone my age who had a MySpace really needed to get a life.  Yeah sorry about that.

So, here it is a few months since I’ve blogged last and I have finally, after all this time, managed to get comfortable with the online social world. And those feelings of awkwardness I once felt? Those passed a while ago.

In the last months while getting acquainted with the social side of the Internet I have been thinking about what it is I really want to do with this blog and I’ve made a few decisions.

I want this site to serve several purposes – and I may change this in the future as I learn more but for now, these are my plans.

I would like my blog to serve as a resource to journalists whether they are freelance reporters or working in the field full-time. Also, as this blog is called Bottles and Bylines I think it would seem fitting for it to be a site for mothers who are juggling families while working in the chaotic and insane media to come to and receive some support knowing others are in their same situation. Maybe they’ll even find some suggestions here that might help to make life run a little smoother.

Finally, I would like my blog to be a site of commentary and analysis of the media. As most know my politics are conservative however, as a journalist I have to make sure to always provide fair and balanced reporting.

It seems however, many people believe most of the press is biased and have even become spokespeople for our politicians. Some have even gone as far as to accuse us of hiding the truth and covering up facts and information from the public.

Whether that’s true or not I’m not offering any opinion at this point. What I would like to do however, is take a close look at the media in large and start discussing what’s really happening. Have they lost their ability to be fair and balanced? Is it their job to be objective and how realistic is that – they are human after all? Did they help to get President Obama elected and are they catering to his whims in assisting him to get “his” message out rather than hold him accountable to the people?

These are just some of the issues I’d like to analyze. And in doing so hopefully offer my readers an insight to the press they may not have while at the same time helping us, the media, to start looking at ourselves and asking whether or not we are doing are jobs. Finally, I would like to provide my readers with a historical view of the press.  

That all said, I don’t know how many of my goals for this site I’m going to be able to accomplish but at least I have something in mind which is more than I did when I started. So let’s get going and hopefully together we can make this an awesome blog where people will want to come.

Tomorrow . . . I will be blogging about the Washington Press and how many people are saying they are acting as the PR agents to President Obama.

Monday, June 30

New Commitments

I have really been lacking motivation lately and I'm not sure what's going on. I just haven't felt like doing any writing except of course on Twitter. I just want to sleep. I told myself I would update my blog at least once a week and I haven't even done that.

Here's the thing a few weeks ago I had a little financial setback when one of the magazines I write for hired a full-time editor and bottle washer. The reason I say that is, the publisher has decided this "editor" is going to basically write the entire magazine by herself, except for once in a great while when I guess they need some additional help at which time they will bring me and the other writers in to accommodate their crisis. The decision to do this was made to save money and while it may help their budget it does nothing for mine.

Anyway, after that happened I decided rather than to let myself get down I would instead see it as an opportunity to expand my business and do some things I've wanted to do for awhile and haven't had the time. So my husband and I spent some time talking about what direction I saw my writing business going and where I could see myself in another year. The conversation was really great and helped to give me some clarity and perspective. I walked away that night feeling positive but. . .

Then nothing . . .

I want to say that maybe I'm afraid or it's depression but I don't really feel like it's either. I don't know why I haven't worked at anything.

I was excited about everything that night and I don't know why I haven't followed up with anything but since my apathy has not been great for the checking account I've decided I have got to change what's happening here. So. . . what I'm going to do is set three goals a day and accomplish them no matter what. Then once I complete those goals I can write more if I so choose but if I don't at least I will have done something every day. That's more than I can say now.

I've done this method before when I've been in a slump and it's helped me so I'm hopeful it will do the same this time around. I also need to take up a little bit of exercise to get those natural endorphins going -- even if it's just getting up every morning and going for a walk. We have a walking trail just a little ways from our home that I've been dieing to go on and take some photos so I guess I'll make that a part of my daily routine as well.

I'll report back in a week, if not sooner on how things are going. Wish me luck?

Sunday, June 1

I'm making progress

Okay, I managed to leave a couple of comments on web sites today, updated my twitter, sent some emails and took the time to actually post another blog the day after I wrote the last one. Yeah!

It may not be much but it's proof to me I can actually break out of my cyber shell. One particular email I sent today was to C. Hope Clark, the owner of Hope is absolutely an awesome writer and really works hard to provide quality leads for writers on contests and markets.

I've wanted to email her for a long time just to thank her for the time she puts into her work for others but haven't had the courage. Today I did it. So maybe it's not the president but I'll get there. The president will probably be easier however, since I don't really care what he thinks. Anyway, it was a big leap for me in the way of getting over my fears.

I remember the first time I had to interview somebody for a newspaper story. I was a staff reporter for the college newspaper. I loved writing but was absolutely scared to death to ask anyone questions, which obviously you have to do when you're a reporter.

I was covering a story on the nuclear Downwinders in Utah who had just lost their court battle and were holding a candlelight vigil on campus. I couldn't bring myself to talk to them so the photographer who was with me jumped in and started the interview. That probably would have marked the beginning and ending of my journalism pursuits if it hadn't been for him.

While that was a long time ago I can still remember it like yesterday. The story I did on that event ended up in the congressional records as the Downwinders entered it as part of their testimony to congress. They chose my story over others that had been written on the same event because they felt it presented the most fair and balanced report about the Downwinders.

Now years later -- I don't think there's much that scares me when it comes to reporting. I've interviewed people from Vice President Dick Cheney to the homeless man on the street and I've loved every minute of it. Although I have to admit there are those times when I've done an investigative story and I know it's going to make people mad that I feel a little tied up in knots right before the story hits the stands and I get that first hate mail.

One of the ways I get through those moments is to say things like,"It's not my job to make people like me. I'm not in the customer service business or I'm not running a popularity contest or I'm not running a political campaign where I have to care whether the masses are pleased with me it's my job to cover the political campaign and make sure the masses know the truth." When I remind myself of this it seems to help keep my perspective on what it is I do.

Saturday, May 31

Strange as it is I feel weird blogging

Okay I've decided the blog world is just really strange to me and I feel awkward here. I also feel insecure socially networking with people in cyber-space. I don't know why but it's almost like back in high school and I'm the pimple-face kid who likes a boy yet can't bring myself to talk to him in fear he won't like me back.

I'm not normally insecure. Nor am I one to hesitate introducing myself to others especially if it means I might make a new friend. I love people. But here in this world called the Internet, I regress to my teenage self fearful of rejection. So, consequently that's why I don't blog more. Well, let me rephrase that. I write a lot of blogs but rather than push publish when I finish -- I hit the delete button sending my work to the garbage can.

So I've resolved to change this by pushing myself to reach out. So what if I'm rejected? Been there -- done that and lived through it. I can do it again.

My new goal is to start responding to my email groups instead of lurking and blog at least twice a week. I also joined twitter and signed myself up to follow more than 200 people. Why? Because it's fun and I figure I can meet some people that way. Maybe with my new found aspirations I can get out of my shell and start becoming a member of this world, as I am the one away from my computer.

Sunday, May 11

A Tribute to My Children on Mother's Day!

It's the end of the day and after writing and conducting interviews for more than eight hours, I finally hang up the phone and shut down the computer. It's time to retire for the night.

But. . . as I look around me I'm reminded I have yet another job to attend to. My shift ended at one job but now I have yet another I need to go to. And by the looks of it, I should have probably clocked in for duty hours ago.

The kitchen sink is stacked with dishes and the counters look my children have been fingerpainting with peanut butter and jelly. Not to mention the Top Ramen that stains the counter -- how I hate that food. But. . . when it's my children's favorite dish the option of never buying it again would only bring loud protests. So I just need to grin and take it.

I've already spent an hour cleaning and picking up the kitchen, living room and hallway upstairs. I wander downstairs thinking I can finally relax maybe even watch a little TV. Nope! Downstairs
literally looks like someone threw a party and forgot to clean up after everyone disappeared.

This is the only job in my life I've had that doesn't offer me 15-minute breaks, lunch hours, insurance benefits, vacations, sick leave or even kudos. I don't even get any financial payment. My job here never ends. Regardless of how many hours I put in I still have more. The tasks are endless and so are the hours. And there isn't much appreciation or gratitude either especially, from my teenage daughters over the age of 15.

This job doesn't allow me a lot of interaction with other adults either. In fact generally all of my conversations center around teenage dramas, Barney the purple dinosaur, Tomagotchis and sibling issues.

It's now 1 in the morning and finally after cleaning up peanut butter and jelly, bread crumbs, dishes, clothes, toys and whatever else I have a chance to relax. But as I pass my children's rooms and peak in on them I see my three-year-old son peacefully laying in his bed asleep. It's the only time of the day he isn't going. I think about his smiles, his laughter, his kisses and his "I love yous," and I smile myself at the thought of how much I love him. I pass my other son's room and he too is sound asleep. Like his brother he brings a smile to my face as I think about his laugh and his nonstop questions about how the world works.

Then there's my girls. I look in on them and this time a teardrop falls. It's not a tear of sadness but of gratitude. And all of a sudden in that moment as my feelings overwhelm me I realize, this job is really the one that brings the most joy and happiness. The job of being a mother.