I’ve come to the very difficult conclusion that I need to set this blog down for a while. I have made the very exciting decision to pursue writing as a full time career. I don’t know what this will look like yet. My goal is to do freelance work for major online publications and maybe land myself a staff writing position in the future. I am also exploring more traditional journalism opportunities like working in a local newsroom for a bit. Really, I’m in the earliest stages of this transition and I’m open to whatever comes along and seems right.
I’ve already found out how time consuming it is to establish myself as a freelance writer. I’m a regular contributor on Blasting News, I’ve taken another ghostwriting assignment, and I’m in talks to work on a couple more pieces. In addition to that, I try to spend at least an hour every day writing pitches, sending pitches, and scouting new places to send pitches. As I commit to this as a more full time thing in the fall, the time spent in these activities will only increase.
As much as I have wanted to keep this blog going, I am finding it really difficult to commit to writing for this instead of writing for gigs that will establish me as a published writer. I’m also struggling to find the time to do additional writing when I’m already doing a full time job outside of writing.
In the fall I will either take an in office full time writing job, or I will cut down to part time at a second job and focus on writing full time. If I’m able to cut down to part time somewhere and focus more on my writing as a whole it’s possible that I’ll find the time to pick this up again. I hope that I do because some of my favorite writing has been done for this site.
I want to thank you all so much for reading this blog over the past year. I’m sad to leave it, but I’m excited to move forward in my career as a writer. Please check out my Facebook page, which I regularly update with the articles I’m publishing elsewhere on the web. I am so honored that anyone reads anything I write and it all started with you, here. I’m forever grateful.
Less than one hour of reading. That’s how long it took me to realize I’ve been responding to the tragedies of last week all wrong. I’ve been doing everything that people have expressed not to do. I’ve been making it about me. I’ve been making it about my feelings. I’ve been talking more than I’ve been listening. I’ve been spouting off my opinion without being sure of what I’m saying or whether what I’m saying is helpful. I’ve been assuming that my voice is more important than others because I’m a writer and I’ve been assuming that my voice is the one that will lead to change. I’ve been doing this all wrong.
I won’t take anything back because it’s all part of the process of confronting my privilege and learning. I will change though. It’s time to do a lot of learning. Before I ever thought I could start a blog on feminism I read a ton of books about feminist theory. I should have done a lot more reading before I posted about this too. So I’m going to educate myself before I speak.
This doesn’t mean my support or anyone else’s isn’t helpful, but I can be helpful in other ways. I can share articles by other people who know more. I can go to rallies. I can support my local NAACP chapter. I can listen to what others have to share. But I am going to refrain from sharing my opinions on Black Lives Matter until I know more. It’s my responsibility to educate myself and it’s yours to educate you.
Because I believe news coverage is important, I will continue to cover the events for blasting news, but only based on facts and research, not my opinions.
I have a lot of work to do.
I have spent a long time not talking about Black Lives Matter. I have spent years in silence while black men and women were killed by police officers. This is largely because I have been privileged and complacent. When Ferguson happened I was a busy college student and I just didn’t bother to do much digging, even though I was in a contemporary media class that gave me ample opportunity. When Sandra Bland and Freddy Gray died at the hands of police I read the headlines and thought, “that’s really fucked up and really sad.” I considered going to a Black Lives Matter protest in my town, but I had plans that night. I watched these events unfold and I thought to myself how unfortunate it all was, but I did nothing. I said nothing. Now, as a writer, I am ashamed that I didn’t read the news coverage. I’m ashamed that I didn’t educate myself on the true state of race relations in this country. I’m ashamed that I didn’t say something.
Another truth is I never felt I had any place saying anything. Every time I heard about another person of color being murdered I thought, “Am I allowed to talk about this since I’m white?” I thought, “I don’t know what these communities are experiencing so I shouldn’t mouth off without knowing what I’m talking about.” I thought, “I’m not educated enough to be having these conversations, so I should just shut up and let the more educated people have these discussions.” These may seem like stupid thoughts. The obvious answer the whole time has been to educate myself and speak out in an intelligent manner. That’s where fear and complacency come in. I fear that my whiteness precludes me from the conversation. I am afraid that I will say something stupid and people will think I am am stupid and hate me. I am afraid I will offend people and people won’t like me. I let my fear drive my complacency and I say nothing. I become complicit by being silent.
No more. When Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were murdered by police I spoke out. I spoke out late, but I collected the news coverage and wrote my own article for Blasting News. I took to Twitter and Facebook and started to voice my feelings and opinions. I didn’t try to pass them off as anything more than my own thoughts and feelings, but I decided it was time to have a voice. I want to be clear that this does not make me special. I do not deserve praise for adding my voice to the thousands that have already spoken much more articulately than me. I do not deserve a cookie or brownie points for making some status updates or writing an article. I am only doing what thousands of braver people have already done.
A lot of people are late to the conversation about Black Lives Matter and the racism that is pervasive in this country and especially in our policing systems. A lot of us have been complacent for a long time. I apologize for that complacency and I want to know what I can do to enact actual change, beyond typing words on a screen. I am completely aware that I am still ignorant to a lot of the race relations theory and a lot of the rhetoric. I am not yet qualified to make the arguments that others can and have.
What I’m asking for is time and help to get up to speed. I have seen many people who have been involved in these movements for a long time questioning people who are jumping on the bandwagon now, as well they should. We all should have been with this from the start, but we weren’t. The point is we’re here now and we want to help. We want to make change. Please, please help us get up to speed.