Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #467: Expectation

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A Twentysomething’s Expectations, a Thirtysomething’s Reality

She’d thought she’d be married by 22;
she married at 31,
when a baby made her much more willing to take that leap.

She’d thought she’d have at least 3 kids;
she has one (so far),
sweeter than she could’ve ever imagined.

She’d thought she would’ve published her book by now;
only her short pieces have been published (and by other people),
which was even better.

She’d thought she would’ve finished school long before;
she is only a third of the way there because she liked it so much,
she wants to learn more.

She thought she would’ve been working as an editor by now,
but rather, she is writing and doing things she doesn’t know how to do
and is still learning to do.

Her expectations hadn’t been greater than her reality,
for what was real and not imagined
was better than any dream.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-467

 

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The Ten O’Clock Scholar

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She was Sarah Lea Richards,
the wife of Brian,
the mom of Hannah,
the daughter of Phil & Betty–
an accidental scholar,
a poet who read novels,
a poet who wrote short stories.

She was the blogger,
the humorist,
the bookmaker,
the pink-collar worker
in crimped hair & red lipstick–
a hot mess sometimes,
but never a cold dish.

She was a punster
who loved the Oxford comma,
the em dash,
& sometimes semicolons;
she was a wordsmith
who hated adverbs &
needless words,
but loved words like topsy-turvy &
helter-skelter–
just because they made her smile.

She was a mathematician when she had to be,
who, if ever in Rome,
would write in Roman numerals.
She was a poor person’s philosopher,
an even poorer person’s astronomer,
& the kind of statistician one would get
if they were being served by a public defender.

She was one of Jamey’s angels
who had yet to earn her wings.
She was the newspaper jefe,
whose sense of humor
sometimes rankled her adviser.

She was the Writing Lab tutor,
who knew that subjects & verbs
had disagreements,
but what about?
She was the boomerang child of Building 4,
the work-study gal
who made good.

She was a reliable narrator only
when on the beat,
but in the realm of fiction,
she was as unreliable as they came.

She was the family historian & documentarian,
for as everyone was the hero of their own story,
they were characters in hers.

She read people like books,
judging them not by their cover,
but by their content.

She was a woman of liberal arts &
conservative values.

She was a Health Info Tech major,
who saw it as a means to an end–
an end which would come in words,
rather than the alphanumerics
that comprised medical codes.

But such an endeavor,
so against her sense & sensibilities,
had not all been a waste,
for it had led her to here,
which would get her there–
even if there was still here.

The Year in Review: 2018

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Twenty-eighteen was the best of years and the worst of years.

This year was my first Christmas without my mom.  I think of all the conversations that we never had about all the good things that were happening in my life, all the stories of mine she had yet to read, all the books and meals and time with Hannah we had yet to share, all the Christmas shows we had yet to binge-watch together (like the “Bob’s Jelly Doughnut” episode of “Wings”)…

But I know she was there–I just wish I could see her being there.

*

This December, I graduated with my A.A. and my A.S. and got a full-time job I enjoy at the college just before graduation–a job where my creativity is not only appreciated but encouraged.

The A.A. was what I wanted, the A.S., what I felt I was supposed to want.  I will go for my Bachelor’s in Business (with a concentration in Graphic Design) in the fall at the college that has been like my second home (as well as my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at The University of West Florida when I can swing it).

It was my work on The Corsair designing recruitment ads, as well as making Shutterfly books for Christmas gifts, that led me to seeking a degree in the graphic arts.  (Besides, I can also use whatever I learn to make this blog better.)

My “passion for the college” was what got me the job (my supervisor actually said I had this thing called a “skill set”–something no one has ever said to me before), and it did not go unnoticed by me when I went in for my first day of work and saw a few or more copies of the newspaper scattered, opened to my farewell letter: http://ecorsair.com/letter-from-the-editor-in-chief/

How easy it is to have passion for something that has given me so much:  friendships, scholarships, a quality education, and numerous opportunities to become a better writer (and not always with a grade attached).

I put everything I have into everything I do.  There’s a quote by Mark Cuban I came across once–“Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you”–and maybe that’s why I am the way I am.  I almost lost nearly everything or had it taken away, and the thought of that happening again terrifies me so much, I am hyper-vigilant about being the absolute best at everything I do (except for maybe astronomy or statistics), but it’s also more than that:  I care.

I don’t half-ass things (though the amateur lexicographer in me wonders if the opposite would be “whole-ass”?).  I don’t even read my own work once it’s been published–I just sort of glance over it, afraid I will find a mistake, only to obsess over it. 

*

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I accepted an invitation to a church where we could have a fresh start. There was a woman pastor–something that used to seem strange to me, but not anymore.

That is not a change in values but in perception.

*

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I prefer to look back and note my accomplishments); however, I’m always making To-Do Lists (as well as goal lists, be they weekly, monthly, or lifetime) because if I didn’t, I’d simply forget it all.

Because this year has been crazy, and I’ve been spending so much time finishing college while applying for jobs and trying to make a living, I haven’t been taking care of myself or spending as much time with my family as I should.  I’ve still done a lot of writing, but more for this blog and the newspaper than submitting to magazines.

It’s time to read more, sleep more, and even play more (like with dumbbells, if not barbells).  Managing my stress is going to be a large part of my New Year’s health goals, for once I do that, my mind will be clearer to focus on other areas of wellness.  

I drained my batteries dry this past year but was able to sally forth because the light at the end of the tunnel just kept getting bigger.  I feel like I have passed through to the other side, only to find that there are more tunnels.  My community college experience opened those doors; that’s why I never saw them before.

But for now, I am content to just stand in the light.

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Writing prompt:  The art of the autobio

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I haven’t posted a writing prompt in quite some time, and as I was going through all my old Facebook page posts to schedule this summer’s Weekly Writing Workshops, I remembered I wrote this autobiography in verse form a couple of years ago while I was taking our local Poet Laureate’s Poetry class at my alma mater.

Let me just say a few things about that class:  It helped me explore different ways of poeming (I fell in love with the pantoum), which was like discovering a whole new palette of colors.  I also learned that you really get to know people not just by reading their poetry, but by listening to them read it; they will reveal more about themselves in one poem than they will in a whole semester of conversations.  What’s more, taking a college level poetry course deepened my appreciation for works not my own.

This writing prompt is on making an “autobio list” (i.e. a list poem about you), which is a great form of freewriting, for you will find that as you recall one memory, another will be jarred loose, and memories will be tumbling over each other so fast, you will be scrabbling to get them down before they fall through the wrinkles of your brain.

“Slow-Speaking Lady” was originally going to be a Shutterfly book, but really, it was more of a writing exercise, modeled after Anne Waldman’s Fast Speaking Woman–one of the required texts in my poetry class.  Anne’s “break” stanza (i.e. the centered stanzas that break up the litanies) was “water that cleans/waters that run/flowers that clean as I go.” Do I get it? No, and I probably never will, but I am learning to appreciate things I don’t understand.  I already like that “Dominique” song by that French nun, and I don’t understand a word of it–I just like the way it sounds.

Without Waldman’s influence, I would’ve never written something like this, so she helped me think not so much out of the box, but to step out of the box completely.

That said, this is the kind of poetry that is better read aloud, as it is more like a chant.  It wasn’t until I watched Anne’s performance of her piece that I got more out of Fast Speaking Woman.  “Slow-Speaking Lady” would make a great YouTube video, but I’m not ready to put myself out there like that just yet.

So this prompt is to just write down everything that you are and categorize accordingly.  I guarantee that if you write one of these every seven years, they will be very different.  

Free your mind!

Slow-Speaking Lady

I’m a diamond lady, but a flawed lady.
I’m a ruby lady, a ruby-slippered lady.
I’m a sapphire sea lady, an emerald coast lady.
I’m a pearl with cameos lady, a blue moon lady.
I’m a rose gold lady, a silver lady, but not a gold-&-silver lady.
I’m non-pierced, non-tattooed lady.
I’m a soft-hearted lady, but not a bleeding-heart lady.
I’m a hard-headed lady, but not a soft-boiled lady.
I’m a red shoe lady, a flip-flop & bikini top lady.
I’m a glossy red-lipsticked lady, a freckled-face lady.
I’m a barefaced & barelegged lady.
I’m a brunette in a redheaded body kind of lady.
I’m a lady on a mission, but not a missionary lady.
I’m a spiritual lady, but not a churchgoing lady.
I’m a lady with many questions, a lady who questions God.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a wifely lady, a motherly lady.
I’m a wannabe breast-feeding lady.
I’m a lady with a seedy Mormon past, a fruitful post-Mormon present lady.
I’m a minimalist lady, a mindfulness lady.
I’m a retro lady, a vintage lady, a modern lady.
I’m a board game lady, a head games lady.
I’m a gift-bag giving lady, a wrapping-paper receiving lady.
I’m a porcelain doll, but unbreakable.
I’m a gift card lady, not a greeting card lady.
I’m a French twist-braid-pastry lady.
I’m a cooking with electric lady, not a cooking with gas lady.
I’m a nut-loving, dark chocolate noshing lady.
I’m a truffle-making lady, not a Christmas cookie baking lady.
I’m a lady of many tastes, a lady of good taste.
I’m a Southern lady, a lady who loves everything fried.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a Scots-Irish lady, a Black Irish lady, a Northern Irish lady.
I’m a white lady, but not a colorless lady.
I’m a fast-typing lady, a slow-writing lady.
I’m an introverted lady in person, an extroverted lady on paper.
I’m a left-brained lady, a right-brained lady.
I’m a right-handed lady trying to be a left-handed lady.
I’m a typesetting, if not a trendsetting lady.
I’m a lady with a past, a lady with a future.
I’m an in-the-moment lady, a lady who daydreams.
I’m a have-it-all lady, not a do-it-all lady.
I’m an event lady, not a party lady.
I’m a creative mess lady, a clutter-free lady.
I’m a modest lady, a wandering eye lady.
I’m a fallen lady, a lady who’s been lifted.
I’m a cameo lady, a lady with the face of a cameo.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a clothes lady, I’m a naked lady.
I’m a cold-natured lady with bare shoulders, a hot-natured lady with a sweater.
I’m a satin-edge blanket lady, a cotton sheet lady, a matching pillowcase lady.
I’m a paisley pattern on my bed, not on my person lady.
I’m a controlled water lady, not an uncontrolled water lady.
I’m a mechanically-disinclined lady, an artistically-inclined lady.
I’m an acoustic guitar lady, a folk-song loving lady.
I’m a country music loving lady, a lady who doesn’t say y’all.
I’m a printed book reading lady, an online research scanning lady.
I’m an Instagramming lady, a telegramming lady.
I’m a grammarian lady, a Shakespeare-making-up-words lady.
I’m a dictionary lady, a thesaurus lady.
I’m a bleeding through the page, gel pen lady.
I’m a serious in-person lady, a comedienne on paper lady.
I’m a lady who takes her work seriously,
but a lady who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a beignets on Christmas morning lady.
I’m a cake lady, a frosting-hating lady.
I’m an al fresco dining lady, a “Wheel of Fortune” watching lady.
I’m a picnicking in the park, a barbecuing on the beach lady.
I’m a mixed drink lady, a mix-&-match lady.
I’m a plaid lady, a polka-dotted lady.
I’m a thigh-high, not a waist-high lady.
I’m an open-question lady, with a mind at half-mast.
I’m a conservative lady mind-wise, a liberal lady heart-wise.
I’m a Bible-reading out loud lady, a praying to myself lady.
I’m a Christian-y arts lady, an artsy Christian lady.
I’m a play-by-the-rules in life lady, a breaking the rules in print lady.
I’m a spiritual lady, not a religious lady.
I’m a Jesus-loving, God-fearing lady.
I’m a lady with issues, a lady with values.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a twilight lady, a lavender & periwinkle lady.
I’m a nurturing lady, a nature-loving lady.
I’m a day-outdoors lady, a night-indoors lady.
I’m a slow-running lady, a fast-walking lady.
I’m a firefly lady, a lightning bug lady, a barefoot lady.
I’m a fire lady, an ice lady, a sun lady, a moon lady.
I’m a rising lady, I’m a setting lady.
I’m the lady in red
I’m a champagne-drunk lady, a soda-sober lady.
I’m a couponing lady, an extravagant lady.
I’m a soft fabric lady, a durable goods lady.
I’m a button-loving lady, a zipper-hating lady.
I’m a twenty-seven-toothed lady.
I’m a long-haired lady, a shaved lady.
I’m a glass lady, a clay lady, a wooden lady, a woman of steel.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a Roman numeral clock type of lady.
I’m a shabby chic lady, a distressed lady.
I’m a candle-burning, lamp lighting lady.
I’m a letter-writing lady, a cursive-writing lady.
I’m a film noir lady, a Technicolor lady.
I’m a memory-making, memory recording lady.
I’m an Arial lady, never a Times New Roman lady.
I’m a nostalgic lady—for times gone by, for times that never were.
I’m a lady who loves Comic Sans for children’s books.
I’m a children’s poetry lady, an adult-story lady.
I’m a fighting-with-words the other doesn’t know lady.
I’m a deconstructed lady, a reconstructed lady.
I’m a compassionate lady, a passionate lady.
I’m an enchanting lady, a disenchanted lady.
I’m a lady inside one man’s head.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m an introverted lady.
I’m a type A lady, a type B lady.
I’m a wandering lady, a stay-at-home lady.
I’m a fast-eating, slow-food lady.
I’m a fact-finding lady, a making-it-up-as-I-go lady.
I’m a breakfast for dinner lady, a dinner for breakfast lady.
I’m a bread & butter lady, a toast & jam lady.
I’m a lady who doesn’t procrastinate.
I’m a crayon lady, not a colored pencil lady.
I’m a get-it-done-before-I-forget lady.
I’m a day-dreaming lady, a night-fantasizing lady.
I’m a bra-hating lady.
I’m plain lady, a fancy lady.
I’m a black lace lady, a pink satin lady.
I’m a crafty lady, but not a lady of the craft.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck,
on myself.

I’m a bargain hunting lady, a seashell gathering lady.
I’m a winter clothes loving lady, a summer weather loving lady.
I’m a less is more lady, a more is more lady.
I’m an upcyling, if not a recycling lady.
I’m a primetime watching lady, not a daytime watching lady.
I’m a no-sew, no-bake lady.
I’m an ABBA lady, a Tom T. Hall lady.
I’m a Lady Stetson.
I’m a watermelon-scented loving lady, a watermelon-hating lady.
I’m a baking soda bath lady.
I’m a hair-drying hating, sundried loving lady.
I’m a crimped hair lady, a foam curler lady.
I’m a beach-here lady, a mountains-there lady.
I’m a Shakespeare appreciation lady, but not a Shakespeare-loving lady.
I’m a lady who loves to live, but not live to record.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a Scrabble lady, not a Sudoku lady.
I’m a levity lady, not a gravity lady.
I’m a rhyming for kids lady, a non-rhyming for adults lady.
I’m a vegetable lady, not a fruit lady.
I’m an any flavor potato lady, but not a sweet potato lady.
I’m a browsing in the bookstore lady, not a Kindle scrolling lady.
I’m a self-help lady.
I’m a Capri-loving lady who doesn’t wear Capris.
I’m a sock eschewing lady.
I’m a timeless lady, an untimely lady.
I’m a plain paper lady, not a coloring book lady.
I’m a dollhouse lady, a paper doll lady.
I’m a wood burning, rather than a woodworking lady.
I’m a character-driven lady, not a plot-driven lady.
I’m a lady who prefers summer days over holidays.

Over & over,
I hit the reset button,
but it freezes,
& I am stuck,
stuck,
stuck
on myself.

I’m a thirtysomething lady, feeling a twentysomething girly.
I’m an “I Love Lucy” lady.
I’m a fried chicken on Wedgwood blue china lady.
I’m a windchimes lady, a lullaby-loving lady.
I’m an interviewing lady, no a “woman on the street” lady.
I’m a human-interest lady, not a hard news lady.
I’m a Princess Kate, Grace Kelly, Melania Trump, & Jackie Kennedy fashion lady.
I’m a poet, I’m a poetess, whatever gets me noticed.
I’m a just-so story lady, a shaggy God story lady.
I’m a glossy paper lady, a ripped edge lady.
I’m a dust-jacket removing lady.
I’m a been-there, let’s-do-it-again lady.
I’m a get-in-my-zone lady, a stepping outside my comfort zone lady.
I’m a lady with a double life—a life outside the pages, a life inside.
I’m a lady who loves, a lady in love.

I am, in all my forms, a lady.

My community college journey

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         It has been a long four years—only because so much has happened in those years.
         I was almost thirty-three when I enrolled at the local community college—all set to get my degree in Health Information Technology to become a medical biller and coder; I was trying to be something I wasn’t, or rather, something I didn’t want to be.  The classes were excruciatingly boring (some people got all jazzed looking up medical codes, saying it was like solving a puzzle—I prefer jigsaw or mysteries), but all the while, I was taking other classes that interested me more (I needed something to keep my sanity), working towards getting my A.A., but not really realizing it until I found out that I had quite a few credits to go towards it.
         I will always have my A.S. degree as a backup (though I will still have to get my certification), but right now, I’m in that place called Contentment—a place I haven’t been for a very long time.
         Originally, I had ignored the email that was calling for students to apply for the Editor-in-Chief position for The Corsair (the college’s student-run newspaper); I didn’t want the job because I knew I wasn’t a leader (but neither am I a follower—I just like to lead myself).  I only wanted to worry about making my own deadlines, not getting others to make theirs; if someone wasn’t self-motivated, it wasn’t just their problem, but it became mine, too.
         However, I accepted the position because I saw it as a way to give back to the college that had helped me so much with scholarships and not only appreciated but celebrated my writing skills.
         I am very proud of the work I did, and, I hope, inspired others to do.  I learned a lot about myself—like that I have what it takes to become a great graphic designer.  (I just need the training.)
         Through creating Shutterfly books of my writing for friends and family and designing recruitment ads for the newspaper, I’ve become more aware of how words and pictures can complement one another.  I have the creativity and imagination, if not yet the talent or skill to choose graphic design as my vocation.
         My writing dream is to be either a nationally syndicated humor columnist or a regular contributor for The Saturday Evening Post.  I think both are a possibility within a decade. For example, my Capra-esque short story, “The Post-It Poet,” won Honorable Mention in this year’s The Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Short Story contest.  (I won the same honor a few years ago.)
         “Poet” is about a thirty-something woman who goes back to community college to “figure it all out.”  (Guess where I got that idea.) It’s also about how poetry can change the world (and did), including her own.
         Writing sure changed mine.
         My work as EIC for the paper helped me get a career service position at the college.  If there was one thing I tried to drill in to my staff, it was that the work they did on The Corsair mattered, that a missed deadline was a missed opportunity.
         So, I’m glad I did accept the position, but I’m equally glad to be moving on to other kinds of writing (thank you letters, press releases, et cetera).  I not only was the EIC for the fall semester, but I also kept up the website and Facebook page, as well as take pictures and write stories, in addition to conducting meetings and work days and writing and answering the endless emails and texts.  I even experimented a bit with video, as well as post archived material on the Facebook page (the latter to fill in the gaps between issues, as our paper is a monthly).
         Since free college is included in my new job, I will go for my Bachelor’s in graphic design next fall.  I will learn how to draw and take pictures—two things I don’t know how to do very well; whatever I learn, I will be able to use for this blog.
         The last eighteen months of my college journey were extremely hard.  It seemed like the world was throwing everything it could at me to get me to quit, but it was against my nature to give up.
         As November was coming to a close, I was wondering what was going to happen to us, as three of my four jobs were going away for the holiday, one of them permanently.  Tutoring labs don’t need to be open when kids are out of school, and you have to be at least a part-time student to be EIC.
         But then, one night, as I was driving home from my second home on campus, “Silent Night” played on the radio, and I knew that whatever happened, we would be okay.
         Then, perhaps not even a week later, I got the call, then the interview, then the job.
         And it was more than all right.
         Our college’s motto is:  Go here. Get there; for me, it’s Go here.  Stay here.
         Now it’s time for a semester-long spring break and a semester-long summer vacation.  I’ve been running on adrenaline for too long; I’ve tried to do everything at 100% when my batteries were at 10.  There were few nights when I came home to a sleeping child, which made me sad; there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your child through the glass of the front door, jumping up and down because she knows you’re home.  I’d be so spent that even when I was home, my body was exhausted and my mind was adrift.
         I so look forward to graduation tomorrow.  Even though someone who was with me on my journey at the beginning won’t be with me in the same way at the end of it, I think she has the best free ticket in the house.
         I’ve often thought I could’ve done all this years ago, but I wouldn’t have met the people I’ve met—might not have experienced the things I have—so I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #21. Theme: Protest

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The Accidental Environmentalist

Mrs. Gladys Georgana Green lived in the poor house—
just under the poverty line.
She wore her shoes till they lost their soles,
her hand-me-down clothes till they became careworn,
after which she would tear them into strips
for the rag rugs that scattered her floors.
Her margarine tubs were repurposed as Tupperware
and often filled with potato cookies at Christmastime
for the less-fortunate children.
All her furniture had come to her secondhand,
sometimes even thirdhand,
and she was grateful to get it from those who had
cared for their property so well.
Her electronics were outdated,
and her desktop computer was a dinosaur near extinction,
but they worked well enough to suit her needs.
She was not a minimalist by choice—
she’d never been privileged enough to make that choice,
for it had always been made for her.
Yet this frugal way of living had become a part of her,
for she saw the wisdom in making things last.

On Thanksgiving Day,
when she was minding her own damn business,
enjoying her weekly indulgence of Salisbury steak,
and her holiday slice of pumpkin pie that had her name on it
(in whipped cream, no less),
some whippersnapper in a Greenpeace shirt
started filming this “cow killer”
with his brand-new iPhone.

Being more going-of-age than coming-of-age,
she’d had enough of these people and their hypocritical crapola,
and so, with a spry little sprint,
she confronted this little mockumentary maker,
this propagandist punk,
and rammed her paper straw where it never meant to go.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-21

10 Things I’ve Learned (so far) as Editor-in-Chief of the Student Newspaper

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1. We like to write about untrue things, in the truest of ways. Our college has over 26,000 students and there are only 29 journalism majors. That’s less than one percent. I’m thinking the percentage majoring in English is much higher. (I’ve only met English majors on the newspaper staff, never journalism ones.) Perhaps this is because there is more of a focus on academic writing (a term I use loosely) in high schools, rather than what I call “career writing,” which I label journalistic or technical.

2. Don’t wait till you have the perfect-looking brochure to sell ads. If all you have is a flier that is decent and accurate, go sell ‘em. More ads=more pizza. (At least for us.)

3. Keeping meeting notes isn’t necessary, but meetings can be. I prefer to contact people individually, only sending the occasional general email. I’ve also embraced texting.

4. Not everything is a story. Sometimes it’s just a picture (and doesn’t that equal 1000 words?).

5. Certain features, like recipes and reviews, can serve as online content, where there is endless virtual real estate. (However, they still need to be written well.) My rule is that if you can find it on Google, it doesn’t belong in the print edition. Student names, student faces—that’s what needs to be in the newspaper. It’s like this: One student’s opinion of a video game < coverage of a campus event.

6. Always bring an audio recorder. I used the audio recording app on my cell phone and it worked fantastic. (You don’t have to look all Lois Lane with a complicated audio recorder that you have to take the SD card out and all that). With my phone, I press two buttons and can play the audio back immediately. I got many more quotes (and accurate, at that) using this device. However, I still scribbled on pen and paper as backup, just in case of technical difficulty.

7. When conducting a poll or survey, it’s a good idea to arrange a time with the teacher before their class (at least 15 minutes) to see if you can survey their students, because disturbing people in the library when they’re trying to study or stopping them on the green on their way to class might piss them off. Also, bring plenty of pencils. Make it as easy for them as possible. I was able to get over 30 in one day. One thing I did make sure of though, was that the class was diverse enough in what they were majoring in, because you don’t just want a bunch of people majoring in the same thing commenting on something—you want a cross-section of the campus.

8. Targeted recruitment for guest posting opportunities will get you more nibbles. (Still waiting for a bite.) Extending an invitation to “guest post” will keep people from thinking they have to make a commitment to produce more than one piece. Somehow, I don’t think it’s my job as Editor-in-Chief to recruit people, but what kind of world would we live in if everyone had the attitude that they wouldn’t do any more than what their job required?

9. Captions are easier than you think. It’s basically a summary of the picture in two sentences. Never say “poses for a picture.” No shit he (or she) is posing for a picture. Tell the story behind the picture (but in less than 1000 words, which means if the caption is 20 words, the picture should be worth about 980). This is proof that math is still important in journalism. Even though I wasn’t the editor at the time, when I told someone in the Math Lab that I worked for the student newspaper, they recalled a pie chart that was over 108%, which they laughed about for days.

10. The student newspaper means it is run by students, not faculty, and this is why:  http://principalsguide.org/the-first-amendment-and-student-media