Just a little update on some of the cool stuff I've been covering, for those who are interested in my writing career:
Probably the piece I'm most proud of is writing the cover story for Crazy Wisdom Journal: Gay and Lesbian Spiritual and Family Life in Ann Arbor: A Look at Evolving Attitudes and Practices at Local Churches, Temples, Dharma Centers and Spiritual Communities.
This took months of writing and research, and I talked to at least 15 different people from faith traditions ranging from Unitarian to Reform Jewish to Hindu to Zen Buddhist to Quaker.
I've also written some other fun pieces for local publications:
Local organic clothing retailer earns award
Just FYI, I don't get to write headlines, and this would better read "earns certification." Maggie's Organics, based in my hometown of Ypsilanti, was the THIRD EVER clothing retailer in the entire world to get fair trade certification. And, she helped write the standards. Pretty neat!
Jennifer Green finds her niche at Packard Health as patient advocate
Nice, uplifting story...
Executive Profile: Shelly Kovacs, director of the Office of Student Services in the School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan
Kinesiology: It's about more than just being a Phys Ed major!
This is an oldie-but-goodie that seems appropriate for this time of year:
A Real Northerner's Guide to Snow Shoveling
Just a little update on some of the cool stuff I've been covering, for those who are interested in my writing career:
This is, in large part, because I'm getting lots of juicy assignments for print publications (bucking a trend there, apparently) and am relying less on the sort of pay-per-page-view writing I did early on in my freelancing career. Still, I know some of you are interested in what I'm writing, so I thought I'd post a representative sample.
I'm being published regularly at AnnArbor.com, mainly business articles like these:
Executive Profile: Anya Dale, project manager, Washtenaw County Economic and Development Department
Building trades bringing multiple training programs to Washtenaw County this summer
I am also still writing for some on-line clients. I recently started writing occasional health-related articles for LiveStrong.com, for instance:
The Dangers of Colloidal Silver
Natural Ways to Help Maintain a Healthy Thyroid
Home Remedies for a Sluggish Thyroid
I'm still maintaining my education Examiner page, though posting to it somewhat infrequently as the pay there, frankly, is abysmal:
Washtenaw Education News Examiner
I had a fun feature article about healthy cooking classes in the area published in the Crazy Wisdom Journal:
Bringing Healthy Meals to Your Table
I'm also writing for the Heritage chain of papers, including the Ypsilanti Courier, the Ann Arbor Journal and the Belleville View:
McClanahan officially sworn in as public safety director
Ypsi's Community Records supports youth arts through music, to host booth at Roots Jamboree
And finally, I've kinda-sorta started a separate blog from here. I've felt for a while I need a good Web page to post my resumes, links to my published writing, etc. So, I built one, but haven't put the link out widely as I'm not 100 percent happy. Comcast hosts for free but I find the interface kind of clunky, as is the URL, unfortunately. But it's been good practice, hopefully training wheels for someday soon building a really slick professional site.
The main site is here: Sarah's Write Site
And the attached blog where I'm writing about the craft of writing and media in general, is here:
Example of the "clunkiness" of the site? The blog apparently lists your entries by whatever category you have them tagged by instead of chronologically. WTF?!
The pay there isn't great, but you can write about topics you feel passionate about and make some pocket change. If'n you're interested, click the button and make sure to tell them I referred you!
Mumu's story: Tips for avoiding feline mammary cancer
I have a story I particularly like that hasn't found a home, and I sent it to Room magazine in January of 2009. They said on their submissions page that they usually reply in 3-4 months, so after I hadn't heard anything for 7 or 8 months, I sent a follow-up. I got an e-mail back saying (I'm paraphrasing) there'd been an organizational shake-up and some submissions had gotten misplaced in the process and they'd get back to me. So, finally, THIRTEEN months after I submitted the story, I got a rejection letter. But a nice one, at least:
Thank you for submitting your work to Room magazine. While we are unable to accept this particular submission for
publication, we would very much like to see more of your work.
Members of Room?s collective read more than 700 submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction each year, of which about 10% are accepted for publication... All manuscripts are read for quality, and about 30% are then passed on for further consideration... Your submission was one of the 30% that gets passed on to an issue editor. We really liked it, but were ultimately unable to use it in one of our upcoming issues. Please be sure to send us more of your writing.
In other news, we had a nice weekend. I took almost all of Saturday off (other than about 30-40 minutes worth of copy editing) and I had an awesome workout in the pool that left me feeling really limp and relaxed and mellow.
I also did a fair amount of home cooking. Friday night, we made cheesecake brownies. Saturday, I made vegetarian taco salad for lunch and black-eyed-peas and rice for dinner. I kind of melded two recipes into one for the latter, and I definitely think it's a keeper. On Sunday, I had a hankering to make homemade vegetarian lasagna, so I did. I didn't have my recipe for the version where you don't have to cook the noodles in advance, so I winged it and crossed my fingers. It actually turned out quite good, so I was pleased. Now we have a fridge full of leftovers!
On an unrelated note, J. and I have been enjoying some online point-and-click detective/mystery games (not this weekend, but on previous ones where we didn't have much scheduled.). J. always wants to play video games together, but our taste in games is somewhat different and/or we don't have access to ones we would enjoy doing together. So, the mystery games have been a fun compromise.
Here are a few we particularly liked, but I'm open to suggestion if anyone else out there plays them!
Detective Jack French We only did the first episode on this ( I refuse to use the word "webisode" which I think is an abomination.)
Nick Bounty: A Case of the Crabs
Nick Bounty: The Goat in the Grey Fedora
Also, we looked at a Shakespeare-themed one, The Seven Noble Kinsmen. It's really beautifully illustrated and looks intriguing, but it was more complicated than what we were looking for. I think you could spend an entire weekend solving it, and we were just looking for something that'd take an hour or two.
There's a local woman who takes it one step further: She will take your farm share (from one local CSA farm only) and turn the produce into soups, salads & other prepared dishes for an additional fee. It's a little out of my price range, but I can see this being really convenient for a family with kids.
Homes needed for exchange students already in Milan (poor kids!)
A couple of executive profiles, one about an architect, and another about the supervisor of Pittsfield Township.
You'd have to pick up a hard copy to read it, but I have an author profile & a story about the author of "The Living Great Lakes" in the current issue of The Bohemian.
Also, still writing occasional articles that end up on eHow:
Can Triglycerides Be Too Low?
Medications that Affect Cholesterol Levels
Also still posting stuff to my Washtenaw Education News Examiner page, though I've been focusing a lot more on short "News Roundup" pieces. A few samples:
Senators announce more than $5 million for clean energy jobs in Ann Arbor, Detroit
Roundup of Washtenaw education news headlines, from MLK Day events to cutting math programs
Poll by Ann Arbor hospital finds school support lacking for emotional, behavioral issues
Here, you'll find a story I did about the Clean Energy Outlet in Ypsilanti - a retail space that sells energy-efficient products and offers classes on related topics.
And here's a story I did about a Michigan author whose book about the Great Lakes was chosen as the "community read" in my area- each year, a committee picks a book for anyone in the two cities to read, and there are author events and book discussions based on the chosen book.
I wrote several retail-oriented stories for AnnArbor.com including one about a jewelry store finding success by going online only and an article about how merchants in Ypsilanti's historic district, Depot Town, are faring. I also reported breaking news- I believe I was the first person locally to report that Cheeky Monkey gift store is going out of business.
Additionally, Travels.com is featuring some brief "tip" articles I wrote about traveling and destinations.
And I continue to write some occasional articles (usually health-oriented) for eHow.com and post education stories and news roundups at my Examiner page.
I've also still been writing a few articles for online venues, including a lot of stuff about school funding issues at my Examiner page, and more articles for eHow.com:
What Outdoor Hanging Flowering Plants Can Handle Full Sun & Heat?
Foods That Shouldn't Be Eaten With Thyroid Meds
And, the volunteer work I did for The Bohemian will be paying off soon. I will have two articles published in the inaugural print edition, and I'm going to be providing some copy editing services for the managing editor. Local people: Keep an eye out for this free, alternative monthly arts & culture publication. It should be carried in coffee houses & other hangouts around Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti by mid-November!
Toward that end, I've had a piece accepted at Writers' Journal! The fee isn't huge, but it's more of a "how to" piece about the business of freelance writing, so it didn't take me a long time to research or write. They're giving me $30 plus a year's subscription to the journal. And, I get a byline in a national publication, so that's very cool. They're only going to post an excerpt (not the whole piece) on-line, but I'll be sure to link to it when it goes up.
In other news...
I'm home from Virginia where we went to visit my brother and sis-in-law and do touristy things. We saw colonial Williamsburg and went to the Suffolk Peanut Festival and generally enjoyed the warmer (70s and 80s) weather down there. Fell in love with my brother's dog, Scoobie. He is part wire terrier and part something else and altogether cute and mellow. Had a good time reconnecting with my brother. He has mellowed somewhat with age but is just as weird as he ever was.
While I was gone, I had three articles go to print in two different publications. Well, I guess "print" isn't entirely correct since one is online only as far as I can tell, but still groovy.
Executive Profile: John Coy, owner of Fran Coy Salon
I had fun touring his facility and seeing all the "green" improvements they've made.
Meditation grows in popularity for both health and spiritual reasons
They did some copy editing of this, but I was much happier with their mostly hands-off approach than I was with a previous article I did for their "Faith" section.
Detroit Derby Girls talk about derby life, filming of 'Whip It'
This was a fun one to report.
Foods that Affect the Thyroid
Nonsurgical Scoliosis Treatments
Where are Carbohydrates Stored in the Body?
Savings Accounts for Children
The Yohimbine Effect on Sperm Count
Queen Bee Facts
Which Foods are Rich in Iodine?
Natural Underactive Thyroid Remedies
Signs & Symptoms of Thyroid Problems in Adolescent Girls
I've also been writing for my Education News Examiner site. I've mainly been posting education-related events and news, but I recently wrote my first commentary/opinion piece:
Commentary: Budget cuts to early childhood programs are indefensible
In related news, if all goes as planned, I'll have one article about meditation and a second about the Detroit Derby Girls going to print on the same day in different local newspapers later this week- fun!
Traditional lifestyle at Ann Arbor Township convent attracts a full house
I will say that I did NOT write the story with the "Field of Dreams" reference- it was added by one of their copy editors. Recently, I've had two articles changed in ways I didn't care for. On my "Pick Your Own" story, there was an editor's note tacked onto the end but not really identified as such, and then my lead was changed in this one. Out of the two, I find changing my lead the more obnoxious intervention, but oh well...
If it remains in the top three by the end of September, I may actually get $20 or so for it - woo-hoo!
By the way, if anyone reading this is interested in signing up there and posting reviews, let me know- if you use me as the person who referred you, I don't get any money, but I do get additional voting privileges which may result in additional pay-outs.
As a freelancer, I've just been trying to generate a bunch of income streams and see what is worth the time and what isn't. SR isn't really worth it from a per-hour investment viewpoint, but it's kind of fun. Examiner.com is fun in that I can write on whatever I like, within the confines of my meta-topic, but it's also not much of a money generator so far. I will give it a few more months, and then I think I need to prune back on doing work for low pay and work on getting some more high-paying gigs on a regular basis. I'm working on it, but it's been slow so far...
I can't find a simple text form of this story, so you have to access the PDF of the publication. My story about local "Pick your own" farms (with photos!) starts on page 18:
Visiting 'Pick Your Own' Farms in Washtenaw County
And a friend of mine is starting a new alternative monthly in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti. It's just online at the moment, but he's trying to get advertisers so he can take it into print. In the meantime, I have a piece on local studio space for artists published online here:
Spur Studios helps artists take part in Ypsi renaissance
Top 10 education-related inventions, Part I
Top 10 education-related inventions, Part II
Report on corporal punishment in schools: Disabled students receive disproportionate share
And before any of my Michigan friends get too smug about the fact that our state bans corporal punishment... it only applies to public schools. Paddling and other physical punishment is allowed in private schools here.
If you'd be willing to subscribe to my page, I'd appreciate it. Don't feel pressured, but if you live in Michigan and/or are interested in Education news, you might find some of the things I post about interesting. I'll be posting 4-7 stories a week, very likely never more than one a day. If you subscribe, you'll get an email alert when I publish something new.
To subscribe, go to my main page, and click on "Subscribe to Email" just under my mugshot.
A sampling of my latest posts:
Education 101: What is Proposal A?
Eastern Michigan University wins grant to help children learn about ecology
Michigan Academy for Green Mobility launched to train engineers for renewable energy jobs
Washtenaw Community College Web site wins award in national contest
Education 101: What is 826Michigan?
I think the last topic is really interesting, and there's a brief youtube video embedded for further explanation. I'm fascinated by the whole idea of having a silly storefront (Robot Repair, Superhero Store, Pirate Supply store, etc.) that supports a tutoring and literacy nonprofit in the back.