Information Sources – He Said / She Said (ep. 2)

My second question for the He Said / She Said was a tad harder than I though it would be. With all the wonders I have in my head on a regular basis, I just naturally assumed presenting topics would be easier. Turns out, it isn’t.

Come to find out, my wonders can get a bit overwhleming when I try to put them in a neat package idea with one concise and clear question. Becasue I am really attempting to be respectful of everyone’s time, I consider it to be a duty of sorts to present topics in that manner – clear and concise.

It doesn’t always work out that way. So I set out to find new ideas in my typical fashion – podcasts. And that got me to thinking, “How do other people get new information, expose themselves to new ideas, or stay informed?” The light bulb went off. I probably should ask the panel. Knowing where they get their information from is probably pretty insightful. It also lends itself pretty readily to asking you all how you stay informed and what that means to you in the first place.

Here are a few of the responses, and we would love to hear your thoughts as well.

How do you consider yourself “informed” or “exposed”?

I generally stay informed and available to new ideas by way of social media and the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, are my Sunday paper everyday in real time. I don’t watch the news. It’s too negative. Someone is always getting kidnapped or shot. And I haven’t had cable in 5 years.

My general boredom and cruising of the different platforms (which I have tried to limit because it can be toxic, duh right?) side effect is reading different headlines as to what’s happening in the world. But unlike traditional news outlets like CNN, FOX news, and such that swing heavily to the right or left, and could allegedly be fake news, (HAHA), allow me to form my own opinion. You can find many different posts about any topic on all the platforms, and decide for yourself as to what you feel is going on.

That’s one of the things that makes net neutrality a very interesting and scary topic. Especially when you consider that the decision for 324 million people is decided by 5 unelected officials. Just regular ass people from the FCC who went against 83% of those 324 million people. But I digress.

The other way i get into new ideas is podcasts. I tend to be in my truck a lot on long drives. Nothing eats up time like listening to podcasts. I’d say conservatively I listen to 5-7 hours of podcasts per day. I’m constantly bombarded with different perspective, which I then take and formulate my own thoughts. Or at least I try too.

I’ll leave with this thought, I heard it from Denzel Washington. I’m not sure where he got it from and I didn’t do the time to research it further. “If you don’t listen to the mainstream news your uninformed, if you listen to the mainstream news, your misinformed” Quite the quandary we are in as Americans these days. And I thought propaganda was a NO NO!!



Actually, the way I get information and the way I’m exposed to “new ideas,” hasn’t changed at all because the world, in particular the USA, hasn’t changed that much at all. There is a saying that goes, “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,” and the same holds true for information. If you stay informed, you don’t have to get informed.

I was blessed to have parents who always made sure we understood history..all of it. The problem is, too many people don’t seem to understand or even care about history, so many of the things that are happening now seem foreign to them. Couple this with the fact that too many people believe that the words “commentator” (opinion) and “journalist” (unbiased) are synonymous, and you end up with people who don’t know what to believe or worse, what THEY believe because they are ignorant to our history. So, they only seek out and listen to those commentators who regurgitate the same “truths” that they already believe.

People aren’t open to receiving new ideas because it’s more comfortable to hold onto their old ones, and that has nothing to do with social media, the internet or anything else. To anyone who knows and understands history, and who has been paying attention, nothing that is happening now should be surprising because we’re just repeating old patterns. Or, as my late grandmother used to say, “The years may change, but the days stay the same.”


This has been difficult for me to find the words to address, simply because the question implies that being informed or exposed is a priority.

I have to admit that I made the conscious decision to disconnect from mainstream news outlets in order to practice intellectual self-defense for my own well-being some time ago. In doing so, I’ve drastically devalued the concept of being informed or exposed to high amounts of information.

Through the use of social media, where I like to interact with friends and family, I can see many topics that are on the forefront of discussion and debate from a sociological and political standpoint, so I am never too far from knowing what is in the latest headlines or what many popular topics are. However, I tend to seek information in areas of interest rather than open myself to whatever is chosen to be broadcast.

I am a firm believer in the importance of societies learning history in order to keep from repeating past mistakes (there’s a clever phrase for this that I can never remember with accuracy, but I’m sure you’re thinking of it), so I enjoy podcasts and documentaries that highlight historical events that are relevant to today’s political and sociological climate. I also like to connect with other people and families that I meet and discuss big, heavy, controversial topics in a personal, face-to-face setting when the time is appropriate. Through these discussions, I am opened up to different ways that people see the world, interpret what they see, and apply what they see and know to their own lives. I have found that personal relationships with others is a much more rewarding and fulfilling way to be “informed” with the outside world.


There was a time I was a news junkie. That coincided with my “eat politics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner” phase. That can to a screeching halt after I had the opportunity to be a state delegate at the Georgia State Republican Convention in 2008. There’s something about watching the process up close and personal that forces you to come to terms with the way things do and don’t work. But that is a topic for another day.

The important thing is that it was then I realized the way I gathered and processed information had to change if I was going to create a real life with real ideas and real impact. I stopped watching the news. I instead began to look for different ways to gather new ideas. The truth is I was so burnt out that I buried myself in novels for a while and absorbed the world of make believe that was fiction, but at least didn’t pretend to be real life.

Now, most of what I do is chase rabbits. I’ll find a particular meme or shared article on social media interesting, either for it’s content or lack thereof, and hunt it down to it’s origin. It is astounding how often the original post is so far off from the actual truth or intent. It emphasizes to me how lazy we have become in believing what other folks put in front of us as fact.

Podcasts have become invaluable. The wide variety of topics is seemingly endless. Moreover, the diversity of perspective is one I simply can’t get in everyday life. Different belief systems, background, socioeconomic demographics, cultures, ideologies, etc. are all represented and available with a touch of a button. In truth, these ideas vary in truth and reliability as the internet has become the wild west of information. However, Hearing the idea and listening to the dialogue has been invaluable at broadening the wonders I had and creating a forest of new ones.



There is no such thing as “Writer’s Block” (FanGirl edition)

“I don’t believe in Writer’s Block…Writer’s Block is something that people tell themselves; it’s not something that really exists…if you give them a writing prompt and tell them to write as many words as they can in five minutes, they will all write words. One sentence breeds another sentence.”
~ Grant Faulkner, Executive Director, NaNoWriMo

Before I get into the barrage of thoughts that this excerpt created in my brain, let me first tell you where it came from. Actually, in true “one sentence breeds another fashion,” the telling nearly spurred me into probably twelve different next sentences. Let’s see if I can keep this stream of consciousnesses thinking out of the ditch.

You may have heard that I recently turned loose my pretty amazing corporate job to be a full time writer. There may or may not be correlation between the timing of that and NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is this crazy little idea that suggests if you start on November 1st and write roughly 1,500 – 1,700 words a day, you’ll end up with a 50,000 word novel at the end of the month. Crazy? Maybe. But have you ever heard of the Robert Pattinson / Reese Witherspoon movie Water for Elephants? Well, it was originally a book…a NaNoWriMo book. So, there’s that. And there’s more.

I decided to do what I always do when I am trying to get my bearings straight – I google related podcasts. I happened upon these three guys over at the Self Publishing Podcast. The content itself is great. But the delivery is where it’s at. I could go on, instead just hop over there and check it out and I am going to try really hard to stay on topic.

As luck would have it, Johnny, Sean, and Dave had Grant on this week’s show. It’s one of the few podcasts I’ve ever listened to twice.

Ok, nevermind. I have some things I really want to work out about this writer’s block business and it just isn’t going to work right this second. So I have added “FanGirl” to the post title (which also happens to be a NaNoWriMo work) and I will continue with my love of what happened during this podcast.

Grant Faulkner and I are facebook friends now. Yeah, no big deal… (!!!!)

So the podcast first. I haven’t been listening long obviously, but the thing that keeps me coming back to it is the lack of pretense (and Dave). Because I have never had the opportunity to belong to or immerse myself in a writing community, listening to these guys discuss their craft, work around topics, move through the weeds, has been invaluable. These guys just write. As a great side benefit, it makes me wanna just write.

If you are not a writer, “just write” is not easiest thing on the planet. Probably because when you say it, what I actually hear is “just write really great, earth shattering shit all the time and be consistent and wonderful and productive and published and income producing…” Yeah, it’s a thing.

Except for when these guys say it, it really sounds more like “just write.” Period.

Now to Grant’s episode. There was so much real stuff in there. Mostly, Grant just sounded like a really good dude. If I wasn’t excited about NaNoWriMo before, I am now. Reminds me of the time I saw Andy Grammar in concert. I walked in sorta liking his music. I walked out a fan. When today’s podcast was over, I am a Grant fan and a NaNoWriMo advocate.

He called the process “improv writing.” He discussed the “yes, and” when moving through a story. They also talked about the “time hunt” – that process of finding the time (because it is there) to cater to that creative side and just write. There were talks about community, support, accomplishment, goals, expectations, and just being a writer.

Did you know Toni Morrison wrote her first novel in the small time she had among all the other things she had to do in the day? Me either. Grant breaks down the math … roughly 300/day … 10,000/mth … 120,000/year … boom!

I was in for November before the podcast…I am all in now. Thanks guys.

*Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month