This is what my success looks like nowadays

It's been seven days since I wrote a story, thanks to a last-minute decision to take my kid to the beach for the first time in her life during the holiday. I'm still smiling over the look of utter joy as she pranced in the water, kicking at the waves as they crashed into her small frame. I want to laugh out loud as I think about how she lost not one but two toy shovels, and then subsequently took to throwing her last one into the water just so she (that is, I) could chase it as the water moved it up and down the shore. 

But it's been seven days since I wrote a story, which means it's been seven days since I did "work" to get paid. I guess the short getaway did me good because I'm actually not freaking out too much about that. The work will come.

100 Words: The horror of 'tender age shelters'

Welcome to my 100 Words series, in which I'll share some commentary in, you guessed it, 100 words or less.

Here are some words that never should be stringed together: "tender age shelters." And yet, the country has at least three of them in Texas for housing migrant children ages five and under who were forcibly taken from their families seeking asylum in the U.S. “Toddlers are being detained,” one advocate said.

I have a lot of feelings about this latest report because I’m a mom. But sadness isn’t enough to compel action. Let me leave you with this: The nonprofit operating some of these child shelters will get more than $458 million this year from the Trump administration.

100 Words: The desperation of migrant children

 Welcome to my 100 Words series, in which I'll share some commentary in, you guessed it, 100 words or less.

Most of the news cycle today was dominated by the newly enforced “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has ripped migrant children away from their families. It’s heartbreaking and outrageous. One article in particular was powerful: Propublica obtained an audio recording from inside a detention facility, revealing the “desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children separated from their parents” last week.

I won’t listen to the clip; my heart can’t take it. It broke me when my two-year-old daughter used to wail big sloppy sobs whenever she lost sight of me. I can’t imagine the trauma these small humans are enduring—needlessly.

100 Words: The Parkland school security officer is trash

Welcome to my 100 Words series, in which I'll share some commentary in, you guessed it, 100 words or less.

This is infuriating. Yesterday, the Sun-Sentinel reported that the security officer who neglected to protect students during a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February was lightly disciplined last year for allegedly sexually harassing two female students, including Meadow Pollack, a victim in the massacre.

"What's killing me,” her father told Buzzfeed News, “is that he should have been terminated and he wasn't and he was at that gate.”

This is the world we live in: When the #metoo movement and the public health crisis of gun violence collide in the most heartbreaking way. Andrew Medina is trash.

100 Words: A peek inside an immigration facility holding kids

Welcome to the first edition of my 100 Words series, in which I'll share some commentary in, you guessed it, 100 words or less.

This morning I read a Twitter thread from MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff, who toured a Texas shelter for detained child migrants yesterday. Nearly 1,500 boys between the ages of 10 and 17 are housed here. “No cells and no cages, and they get to go to classes about American history and watch Moana, but they’re in custody,” Soboroff tweeted.

The thread makes me think about my boyfriend’s son: He turns 11 tomorrow. He didn’t get to choose his parents, who are both Americans. An outcome based purely on chance gave him the opportunity to take freedom completely for granted.  

A writer's life is often lonely. Thank goodness I have a Melissa.

No one tells you how lonely it can get working for yourself. Depending on whether or not I have any phone interviews scheduled, some days I don't speak to an actual adult until 8:30 at night when my guy gets home from work. (I don't count saying "hi" and "bye" to my daughter's daycare teachers.) 

That's why today I want to celebrate my former colleague Melissa Oyler.

How researching Al Gore's past sexual misconduct allegations helped motivate me to do some kick-ass writing this year

To be a freelance writer—to work for yourself and call the shots and figure out how to make enough money to put food on the table and keep your baby diapered up—you’ve got to be a really motivated person. You’ve got to have goals, and you’ve got to want to fight to make them. But this first month of this new, beautiful year, I didn’t have it in me.

How I manage all my freelance assignments and, well, life

The first step to being a successful writer is investing in a solid coffeemaker. Me? I have a Ninja Coffee Bar. I discovered it on a late-night infomercial during the early weeks of momhood, when I was delirious from being forced to join #teamnosleep. 

In recent months, I’ve come to realize how important this coffeemaker is to my writing career. Thanks to this machine, I can write anywhere from four to six stories a week — stories I’m proud of. 

My partner's been on strike for 4 weeks: Here's why I support him

In the past, Labor Day has never meant more to me than the opportunity to sleep in on a Monday. This year, though, is different. For the past few weeks, my family and I have been talking a lot about what it means to be a worker in today’s society, especially in light of the fact that the country elected a president who would probably struggle to understand the hardships of the average American. 

On August 15, my partner and about 300-some members of the security force at Savannah River Site went on strike.

Checking in on my writing goals: I'm petrified to tell my own stories

Recently, I was flipping through an old notebook I use to free-write late at night. Well, at least I used to. It only took flipping a few pages back to find where I'd chronicled the time and minutes between contractions during labor with my daughter. She was born in February — of last year. 

Here we are, about six months into the year, and I've been thinking a lot about my writing goals recently. In addition to maintaining my daily news writing gig at VICE's Broadly, I've broken into a couple of new publications, including and the newly unveiled VICE Impact. I've also been blogging regularly over at Creative Loafing Atlanta, which allows me to work with my mentor again, in addition to keeping tabs on what's happening in my home state. 

What I haven't done thus far this year, though, is place a piece that tells one of my own stories. I love narratives for the way you can play with language to paint a vivid scene that draws a reader in. It's my favorite kind of writing to read and do. 

What's holding me back, though, is that lately I haven't been so keen on the kind of self-reflection that yields a great personal narrative. Many writers keep a journal to help them work through stuff: ideas, random thoughts, even memorable conversations. But I haven't written anything for myself in almost a year.

Simply daunting.

Simply daunting.

I could blame my never-ending fight to find the time, between working and mommy-ing, but that feels like a cheap excuse. If I'm being honest with myself, I think I'm a little afraid. I don't know what I'll find once I start digging within myself. Since almost simultaneously starting this mom journey and full-time writer journey, I guess I've been nervous to check in with myself about how it's all going. 

I suppose that's what being a writer is all about: Making yourself uncomfortable for the sake of your work. And I know once I start writing, the good stuff will eventually flow out so easily. It's just a matter of getting those first few words down on paper.

Then I wonder: Do I even have interesting stories to tell? 

What I'm reading: Not a damn thing. Oh, wait, actually, we recently got a subscription to The Atlantic and the digital version of the Washington Post. What's waiting for me to read but I'm too sleepy at the end of the day to dive in? Moms Who Drink and Swear by Nicole Knepper.