Friday, February 7, 2020

A week of writing

If I've been unusually quiet on the blog lately, it's because I've been writing my fingers to the bone.

It's been crazy. My (early) morning starts when I team up with my fiction writing buddy, Ann Malley. She's on Eastern time and I'm on Pacific time, so it's good that I'm an early bird. We coordinate by email and put in a dedicated half-hour of pounding the keyboard on our respective fiction works (such as my current work-in-progress, an inspirational suspense). We call this our mini-NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month, the crazy practice of writing a 50,000-word book in a month). Writing for a heated half-hour allows us both to progress steadily in our work, usually about 1000+ words at a time, without blowing our brains out like NaNoWriMo does.

After that, Ann and I collaborate on some short (800 words or so) romantic fiction pieces we're working on. We write them separately but edit each other's works. Our goal is to eventually combine them into a collection called "Five Minute Flirts" or something like that.

After that, we peel off and go our separate ways for the day. Ann has many fiction works in progress, and I turn my attention to nonfiction. And it's the nonfiction that's been taking up the bulk of my time lately. This month, endless articles are due.

Naturally I have my weekly WND column to submit no later than noon on Friday. Usually I have to decide what I'm writing about by Tuesday so I have a few days to noodle around the idea. Fortunately I have, at present, 868 files I've created over the years (in which I collect links and ideas on various subjects) from which I can pick. Other times I create something out of thin air. This week's column was a "thin air" column.

This past week has been heavy on Lehman's stuff too. As many of you know, I write for the Amish store Lehman's, specifically their blog. I've become their go-to "interview" person to introduce any speakers they plan to have at the store. The season is gearing up, so I received three assignments in the last two weeks. These assignments are fabulous opportunities to "cyber-meet" some amazing people. I'm a Lehman's fan to the bone, so I consider these writing assignments a huge privilege.

I usually also have something in the works for Backwoods Home Magazine and Self-Reliance Magazine. Don and I both write for them, and at the moment we're collaborating on a large article involving pioneer/frontier skills. This piece was getting quite scattered because the subject is so huge, so on Monday we had a conference call with the editor to get a better grasp of what she wants, as well as what our word-count limitation is. After the call, we put together a proposal and sent it to the editor. She refined to proposal, so now we're both working on that article which is due February 14.

Actually, the editor liked everything we pitched in the proposal, but it won't all fit into one article. I have a feeling this will turn into a two- or even three-part article in order to address all the subjects sufficiently.

Knowing this article was looming, and in addition to the online research we're doing (including diaries and other original sources), we've bought a couple of reference books. This one is a library discard printed in 1961 which amazingly detailed and an excellent purchase.

I also had a shorter article for Backwoods Home I sent in this week as well, for which I sent 17 possible photos so the editor can choose which ones she likes.

Then there's the magazine Handmade Business. I had pitched an article idea back in December which the editor wanted by late February, so I was able to finish that one up well ahead of deadline. The editor at Handmade Business often sends me article requests (usually one at a time, but sometimes two at a time) with short deadline notices, and I make it a point to get them done in a timely fashion. I like writing for this magazine and the editor is great.

I've also been collaborating with the editor of Goat Journal and Backyard Poultry (the same person edits both publications). She requested a Goat Journal article by the end of the month, so I've only started the preliminary research on it, not the actual writing. But I had a Backyard Poultry article I just submitted, and we've been going back and forth about suitable illustrations for it. Don pulled together two of the illustrations, but for the rest I'm in the process of requesting permission to reprint photos from various sources. This is a frustrating activity because the sources don't always get back to me, in which case we have to find alternate sources.

Oh, and we're also working on the tail end of a massive order of tankards. We shipped the bulk of them out this past Monday, and the rest go out the door this upcoming Monday.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to this week. It's been a balancing act trying to get everything accomplished, but it gives you a peek into the life of folks who work at home.


  1. I'm tired just reading about everything you have done this week! What type of poultry pictures are you looking for? I'm sure some of us readers could loan you a few of our personal pictures. I know I would!

    1. Unfortunately the photos I need are fairly specific: How to tell very young roosters from very young hens. I discuss sex-linked differences as well as such factors as leg thickness, chick posture, etc.

      - Patrice

  2. Your new photo is just absolutely stunning!!!

  3. I just received my shipment of pant stretchers from Lehman’s. I gave you credit for the order!

  4. Wow. A tip of the hat to you, and to Don. You take as much time between blog entries as you need. We'll keep the coffee hot and the pastries fresh for whenever you can stop and visit for a spell.

  5. Good thing that the work load of cattle and other critters has lessened, more time for writing. Congrats.
    Rita Miller

  6. Hi Mrs. Lewis, do you have any home school tips for a 14 yo who wants to earn money as a writer? As in how to get from typing at the dining table to a paycheck in the mail. :) I comment on your blog often but always anonymously because of trolls. I respect and admire you very much!