Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘Six Word Saturday Meme


Nonfiction journey: finished a journalism course

When I dropped my novel back in August of 2015, I began a journey into nonfiction. As part of that journey, I decided to take an online journalism course from University of Wisconsin. The one I took focused on digital feature writing.

There were six units to the course. The first assignment required me to create an outline of an article. I submitted an outline for an article I’d already written for a blog post, but thought I might turn into a submission for a professional pet magazine.

The next assignment required me to research markets of interest and write a query. Knowing that I wanted to build my reputation before I submitted to professional pet magazines, I researched local publications. In doing so, I discovered that pet care articles were already being carried. What I decided to offer instead were training articles and spotlights on unsung workers in the animal welfare world. What most excited me about this assignment is I submitted my first query.

The third assignment required me to write ledes for the article I had proposed in my query. My ledes were to be written for different audiences. We have a local kids publication and a local seniors publication. I wrote my ledes with those two publications in mind.

The remaining units required me to write full-length pieces: how to article, profile interview, personal experience, and opinion. Naturally, I wrote articles that I could use at my animal welfare blog and/or submit to local publications. I covered topics that had been of interest to me for some time: pet training, pet volunteers, and social media. Here’s the link to my article on social media: Does Social Media Help or Hurt Homeless Animals?

Next week, I’ll share a publishing success that arose from my now completed course. Check out other reader posts at a new SWS home: Travel with Intent.


Sharing my new adventures with you

In November, I shared the news that I had resigned from my teaching career of 2005-2017. In the aftermath, I started a new job and took on marketing studies and … essentially begin to reinvent myself. I said at the time, “What lays ahead besides my new job and my classes, I have no idea.” In a sense, I still don’t know. Life these days is very much about a journey of discovery. At the time, I promised to keep you updated on my life.

What follows are the highlights of my life since November. Perhaps the most important is that I still love my job as a church administrative assistant. In fact, I just recently began writing my own articles for our publications. For a time, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to continue with my volunteer activities. Just in case, I decided to become more focused in my work, and this led to my interest in becoming a cat behavior consultant. Over all, my biggest accomplishment was finishing a year-long journalism course! The course encouraged me to explore new types of writing, with one result being two regular local columns.

Over the next few Six-Word Saturday posts, I’ll provide more details to the changes in my life. Check out other reader posts at a new SWS home: Travel with Intent.


Great first week at new job!

This past Monday, I started my position as a part-time church administrative assistant. One of the perks is that I’m receiving on-the-job-training. The former assistant will be there about ten hours per week for the rest of the month. She’ll also be available to answer questions in the year ahead about projects I might not encounter in December.

So far, I’ve answered phone calls, sorted through mail, prepared meeting reminders, and reserved rooms. I’ve also edited and printed various publications such as bulletins, posters, and newsletters. There were a few projects for which I compiled handouts. During the week, I got familiar with the office layout, took lots of notes, and browsed some manuals. I’ve also met several church members.

Another perk is that the work ebbs and flows. It’s pretty busy on Monday, because the church office is closed over the weekend. By mid-week, everything wound down, and I had time to experiment with software and with publication design. It got hectic again on Thursday, with lots of calls and visitors. I like the variety.

That’s my week! How about yours?


Accepted new job; adventure lies ahead

After I resigned my teaching position in October, I allowed myself a week to watch television and mope. Then I started watching job sites, recording possible options on a spreadsheet, and submitting applications. I also began learning new software that might be relevant to future jobs. For the first time since the new school year had started-up, I made blogging a habit again. Soon not only did the aches and pains in my body start to decrease, but I also received requests for several interviews.

Fears that I might end up searching for months for employment began to fade. Better yet, starting December 5, I will be working as a part-time administrative assistant at Bethany Christian Church. Part of my duties will be clerical, but I’ll also use my writing and designing skills to create their publications.

Thanks to my family and friends who supported me both through my decision to resign my teaching position and in my search for a new job. Praise to God, too, who has seen me through a rough year.

Last January, through a Casting Crowns concert, God told me that it was time for me to “more than just survive”. It was time to “thrive”. I have to admit though that more than once over the past year I’ve felt as if my life were falling apart. However, again through the lyrics of a Casting Crowns song, God assured that my life was “falling into place”.

What lays ahead besides my new job, we have no idea. God has been working on my life telling me to give Him control. So all I know about the future is that I plan to allow myself time to explore. I’ve picked out some potential marketing classes to take and applied to some part-time jobs. Will I end up working with animals? Or maybe tutoring students in writing? I don’t know. All I know is adventure lies ahead and I’ve got my family, friends, and God to support me.


Looking for my next dream job

In October, I surprised many of my friends by posting this message at Facebook: “Big news! I’ve resigned my teaching position. Now I’m searching for my new dream job. I wonder what it will be…?”

In the spring of 2005, I had proudly walked across the stage to receive my Master of Education. With my degree came my Special Education teacher certification. A teaching position was already lined up too, a full-time one in a small town.

Three years later, I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend, and then packed up my bags for the next adventure. From 2008-2016, I taught part-time in a variety of schools within one school district. I thought that just as my dad had made teaching a career, so would I. But the education world kept changing and slowly my passion for it died.

Now I’m rediscovering myself again. Will I find a job where I write? Work with animals? Or both? Will I find a job which relies on my communication skills? Draws on my interest in non-profits? Or both? I don’t know.

Since October, I have been working hard to network. I joined Linked-In. I’ve also created a spreadsheet of all the companies that interest me and have begun to slowly contact them.

In addition, I have been working hard to develop new skills. I’m learning new design software. I’m also trying to figure out the business side of social media.

While looking for my new job, I’ve tried to keep up with my two blogs. Three posts a week at Allison’s Book Bag seems about right. Although my articles for Lincoln Animal Ambassadors have been hit and miss, I’m now working on a series about local pet services, and am excited about my new planned content.

That’s my fall! How about yours?

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Spring Reviews

Almost a year after I announced that it was time to take a step back from this blog, Allison's Book Bag is still here. I'm slowly working back up to weekly reviews again. Each week, there will be one under any of these categories: Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, religious books, or diversity books. Some will come in the form of single reviews and others in the form of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado by Janice Dean
  • The Distance Between Us by Reya Grande
  • Hearts of Fire from The Voice of Matyrs



Cat Writers’ Association
Artists Helping Animals

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