Because of who I am and my upbringing, it is a struggle for me trying to balance my writing, especially when it comes to topics. I don’t want them all to be political and actually prefer the role of encourager. But my journalistic instincts react to the political things which are happening in our world. I’m not worried about what people think of my politics, because I’m entitled to my opinion, just like we all are, in spite of some people not thinking that is the case.
My daily schedule used to be getting up and immediately spending time in God’s word, reading a devotional and prayer. Then I would turn on the TV to a news channel. It became very frustrating as on some channels, I knew what they were saying was not true because I had researched. Or I recognized they were trying to spin things a certain way. So I’d search for another channel. It became impossible to find unbiased news and it was making me frustrated. A lot of things reported were for, lack of a better word, idiotic.
But the ink in my blood and journalistic background, makes me crave news. Watching the news in the morning, however, was stealing my peace. I started noticing that on the way to work, I was stewing about something I saw on the news. Arriving at work, my attitude was not what I wanted it to be and I determined to not watch the news in the mornings anymore but still wanted to get the news.
Therefore, I had to start researching to find trusted news sources. It was a long, tedious process. Finding a source, then reading some things from them and then actually researching them as much as possible. There were some who disguised themselves as news sources, that aren’t really and you have to filter through those. I have found several and now my mornings are once again peaceful. I have changed from news in the morning though and wait until the afternoon or evening, just in case there is something that threatens my peace. I’m determined not to let it though.
I am in the process of getting a book together on previous columns, not just mine but from other folks as well, and I have never reran a column ever. I have written on the same subject more than once but never used the same column about it. It’s not that I haven’t felt burn-out because I have and there have been days I didn’t really feel like writing about anything. Some days, I would stare at the blank computer for an hour before I started typing. I just have always felt like rerunning a column would be doing a disservice to my readers. I know lots of columnists who do rerun them and that’s their decision, I just can’t do it.
During my 40 plus years, I have written at least 2500 columns. That number made me pause. Of course, I can’t get them all in one book, I’m just picking and choosing and that has turned out to be harder than I imagined. Publishing a book in the first place is not as easy as some folks would have you to believe. At least, it hasn’t been for me.
When my mother-in-law was alive before her son died, she would make me a scrapbook of my columns every year which meant the world to me. Those stopped in 2004 so the last 14 years are archived at various places. I did start a blog in 2014 which I can go into the archives and copy. But the years prior I have to retype them from the newspaper copy. I’ve actually enjoyed it though, reminiscing through those columns. Especially the ones talking about different people and people on my staff at the time. I used to write about people in my columns more and am thinking about getting back to doing that.
When the kids were little or while they were still at home, they were fair game for column material. But there were people in the communities who I wrote about as well.
I have met some really wonderful people over the years. In various places, the newspaper editor was put on a pedestal and people were always bringing you things like cakes or flowers or coming into your office just to chat or say hello. There’s not much of that anymore and I kind of miss it because it helped keep you connected. I never got used to being put on a pedestal or really understood that aspect but people coming in to talk was something I really enjoyed. No one ever stayed too long that it kept you from getting your job done.
So many things have changed over the years, especially people. We need to get back to being more compassionate, kinder and interacting with people. Several columns from various years talked about a person who had been kind or had done something for someone else in the community, or for me here and there.
People actually really helped people when they needed it, many times without evIf you have personal interaction with people, you know when something is needed or something isn’t quite right with people.
One day last week, I had a couple of appointments and had several errands to run. It seemed everywhere I went people would start up a conversation with me. One lady and I even began talking at the gas pump. It was great and I thoroughly enjoyed it. No one stopped to look at their phones or check messages, we just had real conversations. I actually think some people crave having conversations with people face to face. I know I do.
We need to spend more time having those conversations and less time on the phone and texting. It’s just not the same. I’m going to try and start up more conversations with the people I see out places. Maybe it will reverse the current trend. Won’t you join me? ©2019
VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org