Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Down two jobs

In the past couple of weeks I've relinquished two jobs. One I informed that I wouldn't be writing for them anymore; another let me know today that for financial reasons I wouldn't be needed anymore.

It was very hard to let the first go; the second came just a few hours after I thought about quitting that one too.

Both jobs are an hour and a half away, and that was a big part of the reason I needed to give them up.

The first job was with a newspaper; it was my first freelance position and I had been writing for them for four years. I wrote a human interest piece every single week for them for the first two years. We moved then to a city an hour and a half away (before I only lived 25 minutes away) but I figured I could make it work. I thought that I would see how things went and if it got too difficult because of the distance I would quit.

It was difficult at first because of the distance and the time needed to adjust to move, and I struggled that first summer after we moved. Finally I got things ironed out and was once again able to keep up with the weekly assignments. Another big kink in my work schedule came in April of last year, when my son was born. I found it terribly difficult to produce a weekly piece, and asked to write every other week. This, too, proved to be too much for me and a few months ago I met with the editor and was reluctantly given permission to write a monthly feature.

Right around the first of this year it finally dawned on me (like someone slapped me and brought me to my senses all of a sudden) that this arrangement was simply not working for me anymore. I had told myself before the move that if it wasn't making sense anymore that I would stop writing for them. It was long past not making any sense anymore. I had pieces lined up for January and February, so after completing the story for February, I let the editor know that I needed to stop writing for them because the distance had become too much of a problem.

The second job I had only been doing a little better than a year. I produced a quarterly newsletter for a nonprofit organization. Interestingly enough, I became acquainted with this organization because of writing a story about them for the newspaper I just mentioned. At that time we briefly discussed the possibility of me taking on their newsletter but neither they nor I pursued it. Then one day out of the blue, after we had moved, I got a call from the director asking if I was still interested. I responded that I was, and we met and got all the details worked out.

For the past few months it has not been easy to contact them or communicate with them; this is probably due in part to some changes in staff, a change in location, and some issues with the Internet. I was just thinking last night that this might be a good time to part ways, and then this morning I got an email from them. I was sort of relieved because it kept me from having to undergo another months-long internal struggle.

That leaves me with three jobs — two other newspaper jobs and another newsletter assignment. One of the newspaper jobs is monthly; the other is whenever I decide to write and the newsletter job is quarterly. Having fewer jobs will mean, I hope, more time to write for the newspaper that allows me to write as much or as little as I like.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Helping mom work

My children frequently accompany me on work trips, but one we took in February was special because I was asked to take some photos of them to accompany my story.

We were touring the White House in Miniature display at the William Jefferson Clinton Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. I photographed them looking at the display and wrote a story about a child's viewpoint of the display.

Here is a scan of the story and photograph. You can get a better look at it by going to the
STAND News website and choosing the option of reading the March issue.

The girls were in the paper once before; that was a fluke. We were touring the Ozark Folk Center near Mountain View, Arkansas. We were there doing a story on another person, but I photographed them with a lady who makes old-fashioned dolls. I ended up writing a story about this lady for the Three Rivers Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and they used pictures of the girls watching her make their dolls to go with it.