Tag Archives: freelancing

We’re a Visual People

Images make the magazine. I get it. But the thing I hate about getting hired as an image collector (which is actually more like a bounty hunter, but reads “project coordinator”on my resume) is that it’s somehow my problem that things are off-schedule or not good enough.

Um, helloooooo? I’m not the photographer. I am also not the designer, his or her assistant, the PR companies, or a little elf who hops into computers and fucks with dpi. I can’t fix everything. I don’t even work in the building. Jeessus.


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We’re not in the 515 anymore, Toto

Being home has sucked all the drive out of me. Working on my freelance stories (I have three out right now) is impossible. Part of this is because the house is an absolute disaster and I always prefer cleaning and organizing to any kind of important work. The other problem is that I’m trying to work in my giant queen bed–a place where I would much rather be reading, sleeping, or watching the insane amount of Netflix that I’ve consumed since moving back to SUX.

I had dreams of waking up today and  teaching productivity a thing or two. I was going to plug in, earbud up, and tickle the laptop keys–in unison with the tunes on Pandora’s Frank Sinatra radio (a writer’s block favorite of mine)–as long as it’d take me to accomplish a solid chunk of work. Or, at least, make some headway on the work and manage a decent blog update.

This was, until, I realized the city is nothing like Des Moines and I can’t show up at the local library or coffee shop and have that burst of inspiration. Hell, I can’t even really show up at a local shop  at all, because they’re small and don’t have the room for an all-afternoon patron.

Instead, I’m switching between the dining room table and the sun-drenched deck, totally distracted by things like my nonexistent tan, the dead mouse in the laundry room, and the 500 Barnes & Noble boxes I’m anxiously waiting to show up at my front door.

Even at home, though, I can’t shake my alliteration-loving writing style. “With a satin nickel finish, it can be a fun and functional centerpiece or simply a stylish storage solution.” God I hope that gets published.

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Come to Jesus Meetin’

A little over a year ago, I was too new to be effected by all the publishing industry layoffs. About the only feeling I had were the creeps when I went to the floor that housed CH. It was more like a disaster area than an empty floor in a publishing house. Literally, areas were zoned off and left in shambles, notes with “Don’t touch this” and “Don’t take” or even “Stay out” were strewn across office chairs, cabinets and cubicles. It was really, really eerie.

Today there were more layoffs. I don’t know how many, but I do know that it meant more this time around. Three people connected with the magazine I freelance for were let go. Please understand: the magazine I write for is mainly produced by three in-house employees: one designer and two editors. The rest is freelancers and other in-house employees who are indirectly involved. Now, only one of those three people were laid off, but that’s still one-third of my magazine. The other two worked with our magazine, and many others.

I know these people. They aren’t just names in an email sent out by the CEO, they aren’t even people I awkwardly run into when I’m getting my yogurt from the fridge. These are people I’ve directly worked with. Facebook friends. Just really good people.

I know, I’m lucky. I can’t really be injured by layoffs (unless it meant shuttering our magazine). But it’s a scary, scary world. And it’s unsettling to know there’s destruction in the cubicle next to you.

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Jaded Journalist

“…the uninspired writing of a jaded journalist…”

That’s what the widget thesaurus has to say about the term jaded. How funny. It’s like they knew I would decide to post about my journalistic frustrations (while at work) and I would want a different word for jaded because sometimes–just sometimes–I get sick of alliteration. But oh no, my friend, you’ve convinced me. Jaded it is.

Despite spending part of Tuesday’s lunch at Goodson’s ranting about the amazing tendency of copy editors to over-edit, I forgot how much it sucks to have your own writing changed. In an upcoming issue, I have one legitimate story that’s not based on how much you can say about a product in 20 words or less. This story was changed so much (the only things left standing are the quotes) that I don’t think my name should be on it. It’s not bad writing. But it sucks and it makes me question why I’m even doing it… because the changes have been bad before. And surely will again.

Fuck you SJMC writing classes: a magazine’s tone is created entirely by its copy editors, not by this ‘writing with a voice’ bullshit.

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Weather Girl

I didn’t sleep last night. I’m sick. I ruined a newer than new pair of shoes this morning because I didn’t realize they were real leather. Or that it was raining. And it all started when I forgot my work badge and spilled Cheerios all over my car yesterday morning. Then my allergies kicked me out of the coffee shop that afternoon, sending me to the mall where I spent money that I didn’t (completely) need to spend. Then it was smooth sailing (included in that time: last night’s post) until I found myself taking a late night shower because I couldn’t focus with all the fun-having resonating in the next room. Perk: you can’t hear other people when you are in the shower. Extra perk: they can’t hear you.

Oh, and because of the water works and the lack of sleep, I feel like I was out drinking last night. Without any of the benefits of actually having been out.

I know I’m being whiny. And I know why (hello, friend). But honestly?
When it rains, it pours.

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I’ve Got Soul

I listened to non-stop soul/r&b stations on Pandora for a week while I did the baby names project. Alicia Keys, John Legend, Baby Face, Robin Thicke, Ne-Yo, Raphael Saadiq, Usher, John Mayer, Marvin Gaye… Listening to too much of that stuff is dangerous. It pretty much left me wanting to be in a relationship, or be heartbroken about one, or be getting back together with one, or not in one at all but having a sexy forbidden affair. Yikes. Thankfully I finished the project and returned to my apartment where my itunes computer (yes, I have two, one with itunes and one with Pandora) is not so sexually charged.

But listening to all that music and spending 22 days in Legend Lyric Land pointed out a tragic flaw in my character: I am never exactly ready when a guy does something “right.” Now, I’m not saying that it so rarely happens and guys never know what’s going on. Not at all true. But for all my hating on romance and happy endings and all things love, I always swoon when a guy does something I like. For instance, I find kisses on the forehead or top of the head to be the sexiest things ever. I’m always harboring an inward starry-eyed grin whenever a guy does that–even if it happened every day I would react that way. But that along with so many other things, like a guy saying he misses you just when you needed to hear it most, are the kinds of actions that I’m never ready for and I’ll always let my guard down. And if I’m not careful, that will come back to hurt me.

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I’m blaming soul music for my sappy weakness. I’m also blaming it for this ad that appeared on my Facebook:

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A Good Laugh

Despite my poor attitude these last couple days, the world is a funny place. Working today, I discovered a couple people must be having a good laugh somewhere out there, too. I took screen shots from our website:

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