Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Feature in Piper Flyer

I found a surprise in my mail today - a big envelope containing two copies of Piper Flyer magazine featuring a story I wrote right there on the magazine's cover and in the center spread. I had seen a PDF of the story already and found the story online but there's something extra special about seeing a story you wrote in actual print. It was so much fun to see the story title on the cover then open the magazine to the center and find my story there. Wowza! Now that's exciting!
Here's the cover and center spread - click to view the PDF of the story
The story Airshow Entertainer: Lowell White's Vagabond - A Piper Vagabond Finds Its Way Home is about an airplane that is based near my home here in Minnesota. I first saw the airplane when it landed here at SkyHarbor one day last summer - it's absolutely beautiful! I heard the plane had a cool history and was winning awards and I knew I just had to talk to the owner, Vaughn, and write something about his little airplane. I interviewed Vaughn with plans to do a quick QandA feature on the plane on a website. Yet I knew the plane's story deserved to reach a larger audience and be told more fully than a QandA so I contacted Piper Flyer magazine to see if they would be interested in a story. They were! And they said to go ahead and write it as a feature story to boot!

I sent the story to the editor in August. By the end of September, I discovered the story would run yet this year so I got busy gathering photos to accompany the story. A few days later I discovered the story would be in the November issue. I was pretty excited things were moving quickly and even more excited when a few weeks ago Heather, the magazine's editor, sent me a PDF of the story so I could get a sneak peek before my print copies arrived.

When I looked at the PDF, I was amazed to see my story and the accompanying pictures covered eight pages of the magazine. Wow! Then a fellow Short Wing Piper owner, Curt, contacted me to congratulate me on the story (he had just received his magazine in the mail). He sent me a picture of the magazine's cover - that's when I realized my story was on the magazine's cover. I knew I was writing a feature story but did not realize my story would be THE feature story. That really made my day!
The story got a nice callout in the table of contents, too!
I feel so lucky I had the opportunity to write about the Lowell White Vagabond and wish to give special thanks to Vaughn Lovley for letting me write about his plane and for patiently answering dozens of questions about the Vagabond's history and restoration. Thanks, too, to photographer David Schober who let Piper Flyer use two of his gorgeous pictures of the Vagaond in flight to accompany the story. I also want to mention that I had a super experience working with Piper Flyer for the first time and found it a pleasure to work with Jen, the publisher and Heather, the magazine's editor.

Click HERE to read Airshow Entertainer: Lowell White's Vagabond on Piper Flyer's website


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Biking in the Fall

I've been off the bike for a few weeks (largely due to being pretty down and out with a cold for three weeks) but got out my Salsa Vaya this morning and headed out for a short ride on both gravel and tar roads near my home.

It was a lovely day. The fall colors are a little past peak around my home but still quite lovely. I stopped several times on my ride to take pictures of the pretty trees. I did this because I wanted to capture all of the beauty of nature - and because I am pretty out of shape and figured that taking pictures was a good cover for the fact that I actually felt the need to stop a few times and rest.

I'm glad I'm feeling well enough to be back out on my bike and am looking forward to getting out some more in the days to come.

Get out and enjoy the beauty of the fall season!






Friday, September 26, 2014

Habit of Writing

I have not been in the habit of writing for quite some time but a couple of weeks ago I created a writing schedule to help me get back in the habit. I drew it out on a big piece of paper - it shows my work hours (I work four mornings a week as an educational assistant with special-ed preschool children) as well as my evening commitments. After work and my evening things, I don't have a ton of time left for writing but I managed to block out three to four afternoons per week to write. The schedule needs to be pretty fluid as I didn't allocate any time to do things like eat, do laundry or exercise. Those tasks of daily living can sure take up a lot of time but my hope is that I still keep my afternoons more or less free for writing.
So far, I've managed to stick to my writing schedule pretty well. I used to have the tendency to go back to sleep after getting the kids on the bus in the mornings. I need sleep, of course, but my morning job is helping me switch my schedule so I go to sleep earlier instead of sleeping away the mornings. With my new schedule,  I get Ryan up at 6:20 (Owen wakes Rose at 5:45) and get the kids to the bus by 6:55. Since I'm already up and at 'em, I take the dog, Rocket, for a 15 minute walk then I shower and get ready for work. I'm at work by 8:30 four mornings a week and done by 11:45. After work it's lunch and then I have time to write for a bit before the kids get home from school. I really like that the morning work schedule allows me time to write in the afternoon - my favorite time to write!

I found a great blog post at Write to Done titled How to Create the Habit of Writing. The post was written by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and has ten tips on making writing a part of your routine. I found the post helpful and though I would share it with you!

Click on the image below to read How to Create the Habit of Writing or click HERE.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writing Space Reboot 2

Well, it only took a couple of days before I did another writing space reboot in my office but I think I now have an arrangement that works.

Why move the furniture around just days after my Writing Space Reboot? Well, even though I tried using a floor lamp, I was still having trouble with headaches and eye strain in my newly rearranged space. Terribly frustrating! My gut instinct has been that the issue is the way the light comes through the window and the light above my desk so I did some troubleshooting on how the light hit me in my old office compared to my new space and brainstormed other arrangement options. Long and short of it is I moved my desk once again and now it faces the window pretty much straight on. A lot of the time I don't need the overhead light but when I use it in the daytime it's not bothering me. In the evenings the overhead light is too bright so I'm using a floor lamp which seems to be working okay.
Now my desk faces the window straight on.
I like the new arrangement. When I walk in the door my desk chair is just a few steps in front of me so I can walk in, sit down and get right to work. There's something very good about being able to walk right to my chair instead of having to walk around my desk to get to it. In my old office space I liked the feeling of almost tucking myself into a corner when I worked but now it feels like having my desk straight and super easy to get to is what I need. I have a good view out my window when I'm at my desk and a little shrine of sorts in full view with a fountain, some candles and a plant. I am finding that I am seeking out my writing space now after months of avoiding it. I am glad - and relieved as I was getting very discouraged with how hard it has been to write.
View from my desk - a plant, some candles, a little quilt and a fountain for some white noise while I work
I still have some clutter to clean out but I am tackling this bit by bit. A couple of days ago I set aside 15 minutes and cleaned out my overfull inbox. It's a good feeling to get rid of all of the extra papers and to put things away where they belong. There's more to clean up and pictures to hang on the walls. I'll get to it! But not right now - first I am going to pull out my journal and my favorite fountain pen and write for awhile.