Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge "Not Quite Finished"

"Not Quite Finished"

It’s what I refer to as “paper week,” the week I “put the paper together”—find and write all the articles that will be printed in the next issue of the Nebraska Family Times. I’ve been the editor and publisher of the paper for 3 ½ years; it was started by a lady in Norfolk who became ill and could not continue publishing.

One of the reasons I love being the editor and publisher of the Nebraska Family Times is that I enjoy the wide variety of tasks involved. I especially enjoy doing research and finding new websites or authors whose work I can print in the paper. Every month as I begin looking for articles, I pray that I will find articles that will touch the hearts of readers, encourage them, teach them something they’ve wanted to learn about, and bring them closer to the Lord.

In every issue I try to print a variety of articles about Bible Study, families, finance, marriage, and issues parents face when their kids are at different ages and stages. One of my goals is to find and print articles that give readers a different way to view a problem or a solution, other than what they’ve probably read or heard before. I also print news from Nebraska and nationally, from a Christian point of view. I get e-mails daily or weekly from several organizations, websites, and blogs. If I think I might be able to use them in the paper I put them in an e-mail folder for that month; during “putting the paper together” week I decide which ones I’d like to use and request permission as necessary.

Before I print articles I request permission from the author. It’s usually fairly easy to find their contact information but once in awhile it’s impossible to. That’s especially disappointing when it’s an article I really want to print. Several authors have given me permission to reprint anything they write. I try to “discover” a few new authors/blogs/websites every month to keep the material in the paper fresh and interesting. It’s amazing how much great information there is on the internet!

I try to find articles of varying lengths; I was surprised to find that it’s a lot easier to find long articles than short ones. I have several columnists who write for the paper every month or almost every month; I’m blessed to be able to count on them for good material every month.

One of the most challenging articles to find is the main one on the front page. The title of that article is the first thing that people see when they see the paper. The lady who owned the paper before I did gave me some good advice; “Picture the front page of the paper in your head as you’re choosing the articles. Will people see the titles and be interested enough to pick the paper up and read it? How will the graphics look?”  I always know when I’ve found an article that would work for the front page; I get a gut feeling of excitement. It’s a great feeling, especially if I’ve been looking for awhile!

These pictures and the ones below show
printing at the Wayne Herald.
For the first year or so that I published the paper, it took me 4 or 5 days, with late nights, to get everything put together. After the first few months I made myself a checksheet to better keep track of what articles I need. After 3 ½ years I’ve realized that I need to plan about three full days to find and write all of the articles needed each month. Those days are long but fulfilling.

The lady who does the layout of the paper lives in Pierce, NE. I e-mail her the articles as I find them, and then she does the layout of the articles and ads. She also finds the graphics that go with the articles. I’ve tried to find graphics but I’m not very good at it; Jennifer always finds ones that are perfect for the articles.

I think I’ve found all the articles needed to fill the May issue of the Nebraska Family Times, and Jennifer is in the midst of putting everything together and laying it out. She will let me know if she needs more articles to fill the space given, but I usually send her a few extra just to be sure. Tonight or early tomorrow she will e-mail me the layout to proofread. I’m always excited as I wait for the file to open; how will everything look all put together as it will look in the paper? I proofread the articles and make sure that I’ve remembered to include the names and contact information for authors. Then I give Jennifer the “OK” to send it—again via e-mail—to the Wayne Herald, where it will be printed next week.

The paper isn’t quite done as I’m waiting to hear from Jennifer…keep a look-out for the May issue of the Nebraska Family Times next week! If you would like a FREE sample copy, or know someone who would, please e-mail with the address you’d like it sent to.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

I'm also blogging at Home is Where the Mom Is 
Check there for my post titled "Some Days I just want to Quit"