Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting it Together

Last week was "putting the paper together" week--finding and writing all of the articles and features for the October issue of the Nebraska Family Times.

I really enjoy finding and writing articles for the paper. I begin every month's search for articles with prayer; a prayer that I will find articles that will touch the hearts of readers and, in some way, bring something positive to their lives and cause them to act, whether that action is life-changing or just thinking more about an issue. The mission of the Nebraska Family Times is "to inspire, encourage, and motivate you on your Christian walk," and I keep that mission in mind as I look for articles.

Although I'm on the lookout for articles all month (through e-mail newsletters, newspapers, various magazines, and suggestions from readers) I don't make any final decisions about articles until the Monday of "paper week," so I can include articles about recent news events.

Every month I try to find articles that cover a wide variety of issues; finances, family, parenting, marriage, health, devotions, Bible study, education, and so on. I always include some fun articles, and I also keep local and national (and sometimes international) events in mind and search for articles that explore these issues from a Christian viewpoint.

I have a list of websites that are my "go to" sources for articles, and many times articles on these websites lead me to other sources. Some websites have granted me permission to reprint any of their articles, but for many articles I e-mail the author directly to see if she or he will allow me to reprint their articles. I have been very blessed that in almost every case, the author generously grants me permission to do so. It's fun to get to know other Christian authors as we communicate about articles. I'm always happy to send authors the issue of the paper in which their article appears, and  I hope they enjoy seeing a slice of life in Nebraska (most of the authors don't live in Nebraska).

I'm also fortunate to have several authors who write for the paper every month or almost every month. I eagerly watch for their articles to appear in my in-box. 

I try to find articles of varying lengths, knowing that readers might just have a few minutes to quickly skim an article, or might have the time to read a longer article. I also put together a list of Bible verses and quotes that are used to fill bits of space left after everything else is in the paper. It's like to find thought-provoking quotes for the paper, and the Bible verses I include are those that have meant something to me in the past month. The very last thing I do for the paper every month is write the Editor's Letter.

When I have proofread an article and am satisfied it's ready to print, I send it to an e-mail address that Jennifer Gleason (the lady who does the paper layout; her business is Gleames Creative Design) and I share. Then she takes the article from the e-mail in box, and, using a computer program, fits all of the articles, advertisements, announcements, cartoons, and so on, into the space we have for the paper.

After Jennifer has the layout completed, she e-mails it to me. It's exciting to open that email; I never get tired of seeing the "new" issue of the paper, even if just on my computer screen. Jennifer chooses most of the graphics (pictures) that go with the articles, and I'm amazed that she always seems to finds graphics that perfectly fit the articles. I go through the paper to see how it looks overall, to proofread things one more time, and to make sure articles give credit to the authors as that author requested. I e-mail any changes to Jennifer, who makes them and then sends the e-mail file of the paper to me to check over one more time.

Then, through the miracles of modern technology, Jennifer e-mails the paper to the Wayne Herald, where the paper is printed the next week.

After I have spent several days focused on finding, writing, and editing articles for the paper, and proofreading the paper, I'm ready to be away from the computer for a few days! That's a good thing, as I generally need to do laundry, cook (tasks I ignore while I'm getting the paper together), and clean off my desk, which is always buried under a mound of notes and papers by the time the paper is done!

The October issue of the Nebraska Family Times will be printed, delivered, and mailed next week! And guess what? I already have notes for the November issue.

If you ever read an article you think would fit in the Nebraska Family Times, or have suggestions for issues you'd like to see covered in the paper, please let me know! You can e-mail me at or call (402) 993-2467.

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