September 27, 2003

The Cash Flow Woes

Got some sweet juicy clients
know they got plenty of green
looks like I won't see my part
'til my kid turns 16.

I got the cash flow woes,
oh baby feels like a gray, gray day
got the cash flow woes
when them clients gonna pay?

mmmm love letter came in the mail
just yesterday noon
say the electric man comin'
to turn my lights of soon.

I got the cash flow woes
oh baby feels like a gray gray day
got the cash flow woes
when them clients gonna pay?

You know you poor (po), baby
When you 'fraid to answer the door (do), baby
The man come to get your Ford (Fo), baby
And give it a tow, baby.
Nothin you can do but cry, baby
And wave goodbye, baby
You get your shotgun and try, baby
But you better better better aim it high, high, high.

I got the cash flow woes
oh baby feels like a gray gray day
got the cash flow woes
when them clients gonna pay?

You know they like what I do
Say my words cut through the haze
But when I ask for my taste
They keep tellin' me THIRTY more days.

I got the cash flow woes
oh baby feels like a gray gray day
got the cash flow woes
when them clients gonna pay?

Now our sweet brown-eyed baby
turns six oh six next week
what little monney we had
the tooth fairy gave for her teeth.

I got the cash flow woes
oh baby feels like a gray gray day
got the cash flow woes
when them clients gonna pay?

Breaking Up (with a client) Is Hard to Do?

I've never been very good at saying goodbye. But maybe I should. At a minimum, I need to set up some ground rules I can live with. I need the work, yes. I need the money, yes. But do I need the upset stomach? Am I not too old to be "yelled at?"


I can't help thinking that if I were a man, I'd be handling this better. I don't think I'd be letting myself get bullied into a situation I just don't want. Plenty of women have a right to jump in here and say, it's not a man or woman thing, it's a Jeneane thing. Maybe so. Maybe not. There are blurred edges. I know that.

I'm used to all kinds of clients and client types. I've always been a darling among clients. Even the toughest clients have always trusted me and shown me respect* because I kill myself to get the job done and deliver results, fast. (Better known as mistake exhibit A). And I usually don't mind when they don't treat me with respect. As long as they don't block the road to me getting my job done. And as long as they pay me well.

Maybe it's about setting boundaries, limits on my time and availability, putting some framework around the services I offer, maybe even first define them to MYSELF.

I've failed at putting processes and structure in place within my own business, because I've been running so fast to get and complete projects. That part is my fault. I'm running amuck treating every project like a meaningful but improvisational conversation rather than a structured engagement. When someone asks what exactly I do, although I do it every day, I'm still not sure how to answer it. When someone asks what value I bring, it's easier to show them than to explain it.

I think I need a business web site. To do some messaging and marketing for myself. The cobbler's children and all....

I think that would help me structure myself, define myself. And may even save or improve the relationship with the client that today I wish I didn't have.

I'm moving so fast to stay ahead of the wind.

It's time to slow down.

To take a look at what I want to do when I grow up.

Thank you for letting me turn a post that was going to be a rant into a possible solution. Ain't blogging cool that way?

*except for those within the 666 corporation

September 25, 2003

No, really. BigPR is fine. Pulse good. Blood Pressure Good.... Uh, wait a sec.... Code Blue!

And in today's news: Ketchum Roots Torn from City in Merger.

I swear, I didn't know a thing. Honest. Call it intuition.

{sniff. sniff. she sheds a tear.}

"There will still be an office in Pittsburgh, but as part of the move to be more efficient, the agency is laying off six employees, bringing total employment to an estimated 20."

Film at 11.

David, did you remember the wheat bread?

It isn't exactly newsworthy what happened to me in Publix last week. But in the context of blogging, it was, well, one of those moments that makes you wonder, "What's going on here?"

I dragged my tired behind through the store, no list, a bottle of soda here, some Lunchables there, an uninspired grab for yogurt here, an obligatory package of toilet paper there. When I was done I had 60 percent of what I thought I might have come to the grocery store to get. I was more anxious to finish than to contemplate what we were actually "out of" at home.

That's me, that's you. We always pick the slowest line. But the cashiers at Publix are friendly. I wasn't that friendly when I worked the register at K-Mart in my late teens. But these kids seem to enjoy their jobs. And that makes the slow line bearable.

When I finished checking out, I pushed my cart ahead and turned back to get the receipt I almost forgot. That's when I saw him.

"It's David Weinberger!" my central nervous system said. Before I knew what was happening, the smile was painted on my face and I had inhaled, ready to come out with a loud, "DAVID!"

Now you should know, I've "known" David as a blogger for what, two years or so? I read Cluetrain and generally travel in the same blog circles as David. But I've never actually met the man. Never seen him in three dimensions. Only two.

And yet, for those couple of seconds, this poor fellow I stood beaming at WAS David Weinberger to me. So many introductions ran through my head: "David--It's ME, Jeneane!" "David, you shop here?" "Hey, Joho, HO HO HO!"

Then I remembered, in that gnawing physical world disconnect, that David doesn't live in Atlanta. I think he lives in Boston. Or near there. No, David wouldn't be shopping at my Publix. No, this wasn't David Weinberger. No, this isn't the land of blogs. No this is the real world. No. No. No. Behave yourself.

What a let down. To have thought I bumped into a real live blogger, by accident, a celebrity of sorts, in my very own Publix. Only to find out it was a man, like any other, trying to get his bread and milk on his way home from work.

Soon though.

Soon it might be that we're grocery shopping with more bloggers than we are non-bloggers. In our lifetime, I bet. We'll be standing in line at our local Blockbuster and recognize someone we only know textually. Or pixelly. And it will be like that.

It will be one of those moments that make your synapses fire, that bring you such joy, a re-uniting with an old friend, like that day last week when I saw David at Publix.

September 24, 2003


I'm bumping the last post into second position so Halley can read it in something other than 9 point Times New Roman, or whatever this horrid font size is. I think she still has one eye to go.

So, the question got popped today

Yes. That one: "What are you--a freelance writer, a PR person..." I could almost hear a silent "Or what?" at the end of the sentence.

Oh boy. I decided to answer it, since I've been getting the question for a couple of months now. But it wasn't an easy answer, and it took me a really long and winding email to explain it to the person asking, not to mention myself.

So much for my elevator statement.

Messaging Department, take a note.

I mean, in the traditional corporate career, you either write contributed articles and case studies and press kits and the like, or you write journalistically. You pick. One's a sleezy profession, one's honorable. One people run from, the other they like to rub elbows with.

Here, look at my poetry. We write kind of similar stuff, don't you think?

Well, no. I mean, not really. But okay. I like it when people like me. That works. So sure.

No one ever says, Oooooooh! Did you write that contributed article on Data Warehousing in DM Review last month? Was that your story on the customer information architecture by that CEO in Healthcare Informatics? {swoon}

No. That activity is not becoming for a writer. It simply pays the bills.


For my entire career, it's been a cut and dry answer for me. At Kodak it was technical writing; at STI, marketing and PR writing, at Crescent the same, at Ketchum more of the same times 20.

Even the stuff I wrote under my own name over those years, some that paid pretty well, was somehow separate from how I made my living. You know, my CAREER.

How I made my living was PR and Marketing writing.

But how I make my living now is not that simple. Because, if you've been following along with the home game, you know I got laidoff--or should I say I declined their offer to stay--by the Passion and Precision in Communication folks in April.

So, today I do everything.

Whatever interests me and pays, I do it.

And that isn't what most people do.

You're agency or you're corporate.

You're a PR person or you're a writer.

Always sides. Always dividing lines. Always a way to separate voice from itself.

So today, I find myself doing both kinds of writing within a business landscape that has been oiled and tuned for decades to see the dividing line, the hierarchy, the bottom feeders of PR versus the editorial elite.

And I don't fit either mold. Or I fit both. I'm in Media Map as a weblog journalist. Soon I'll be in Media Map as a freelance writer. I also use Media Map for one of my clients, the only one currently for whom I do PR.

What do you make of that? What does that make me?

Yesterday, when this very issue started swirling around my head, I decided that the identity crisis I'm going through is less about ME and more about a subtle change that's taking place around VOICE. Voice with a capital V. Thanks to blogging.

The way I see it today is that the imaginary lines that have for so long separated and silenced human beings as Voices are in place largely because the human voice doesn't fit within the business model, preferences, or pet peeves of big media NOR does it fit the business models, preferences, and brown nosing of BigPR. Not to mention corporations in general, AKA: the client.

Thanks to the Net and most especially blogging, the human voice is beginning, ever so subtly, to rise to the top. To become media. Voice as media resonataing with message. It doesn't matter the outlet, the voice is becoming the place of broadcast wattage. What that means is that I don't care whether I read it in CIO magazine under Halley Suitt's name, or whether Halley Suitt writes it under Jack Bennett's (who? i dunno--it's just a name) name, or if she writes it for Penthouse. You can't deny her voice. I'll know it's her. Even when it's not her. You see?

Give me a Suitt, hold the mayo, extra ketchup.

It's like that. It's a Kleenex thing.

Our day is here. We used to have to bury our voices in business. But that's changing. Even if it's changing because the loudest and most obnoxious among us are being cast out.

GOOD! That's GOOD!

If we are doing nothing else here, we are honing our ears for honesty.

Bloggers know when something sounds dishonest--it doesn't hold our interest for long. We know when someone is telling us something from the gut, something they believe in. We are captivated. It doesn't matter if they're telling us about running out of paper towels and having nothing left to blow their noses in, or if they're telling us the GMAC mini van they bought already sucks wastewater, it is the VOICE----the heart, the soul----of the writer we're tuning into here.

And you once you've tuned into that, you can't tune out just because business wants you to.

You can't turn off genuine voice--you want more and more and more of it, because it makes you feel alive. You hear the heartbeat within it. You know someone's in there.

Tap a vein, I'm comin' in.

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes. The "What am I" question.

I think, from here forward, my answer will be: A blogger.

This other stuff I do, it's just markin' time.

Can I hear an Amen?

Let Us Take Stock

You writers know how it is. You work on a project. You're close. It's almost done. Everyone's happy. You're ecstatic because if you have to write one more word, even if it's only a five or six letter word, you think your knees will give out. You have no words left. Your brain has been sucked dry. Someone asks you your name, you say, "Ummm?"

Right, but it's almost done, so your brain cells start to regenerate--out of habit more than anything else.

And with the new brain cells, the old ones receed. Any knowledge you had on what you were writing about begins to fade. Soon it will all be gone. When you read the result in a week or two or three, it will all be brand new, as if you'd never seen it before in your life.

You'll think, wow, did I write that? Sometimes when you ask yourself that question, it's because the writing sounds so good. And sometimes it's because it sucks so bad. But either way, you dance about on light feet that day because the project is officially done.

Well, mine's not.

I thought we were close. You know how that is. Ooooo. So close you can taste it, and then a hump in the process, and more interviews, and more re-writes, and that's just the way it goes.

But you can't help it. You dig deep for the inspiration to keep pumping the words out. You're so desperate you dig into your cliche basket with renewed vigor. Anything. Anything. Have to keep pushing. Must get it done. Leverage Leverage Leverage.








I have created this day the writer's serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the edits I must change, the courage not to change the sentences that make sense, and the wisdom to know the difference.

SO in honor of where I am today, I've decided to take stock. Certainly, there are many worse things than a project that won't end. Certainly, there are many worse professions in life than those that keep you stuck to the couch, arms stretched forward, perched over these black keys like EltonFuckingJohn.


Now for two categories designed to help make me thankful for the day...


Walking 8 miles to the store. But not better than walking 2 miles to the store.

An all-day workshop on anything.

Not smoking

Waiting in line at Motor Vehicles

A yearly OBGYN appointment


Laying flat on the floor, face down, being whipped six to eight times on the back with a [[name your implement]]. I would not rather be whipped more than eight times. And I would rather nails not be used.

A dental cleaning

1-hour traffic jam, but not 3 hour traffic jam


A fall on grass, but not on concrete

Whole-house vacuuming.

That should give you an idea of how my day's going so far. So, how's your day going?


no time to play. thinking I was done with this recent big push on web copy was, well, wishful at best. I'm back to the grind this week. No time to ponder the better side of life among the blogs.

In real world news, our Jenna turns six on Tuesday. In the last week and a half, she's lost TWO bottom teeth. Truly looking like a six year old now. amazing. what happens. time. it goes. and goes. and then we're done I guess.

more soon. stay upbeat.

September 21, 2003


that was a sigh of relief.

I've not been here as much as I would like since Jenna wound up in the hospital because work picked up to a feverish pitch (get it--hospital/feverish?) right before she went in, and I've been racing ever since.

To everyone I haven't emailed back: I'm sorry
To everyone I haven't done what I promised I'd do: I'm sorry
To everyone I've done something to lately I shouldn't have: I'm sorry
To Jenna and George: I'm sorry.

Chalk it up to the limitations of human frailty. Over the last ten days I've dumped 65 pages of copy out of my head for a client. That's a lot of copy, even when you write fast and while you're sleeping. It's been a year since I've had to crunch like that, so I'm here to say the worst of it is done, for now, and I hope I can come out and play next week on my blog!!

You all have the day off tomorrow, 'cause I say so.

And that's WITH pay.