Some of my best assignments seem to come when I least expect them. Early this summer, I queried National Geographic Kids with an article idea. Last week I received an e-mail response saying that they had no need for the article I had proposed, but they really liked my writing samples and wondered if I would be willing to take on an assignment preparing three brief pieces for their Amazing Animals section. Obviously, I jumped at the chance.

Yesterday I had a lovely telephone interview with a zoo manager in Wales about an orphaned ostrich who was given a stuffed ostrich to prevent him from being lonely and has formed a remarkable bond with the toy. I’ve also conducted an e-mail interview about a wildlife preserve in Kenya that protects orphaned baby elephants from the elements with their own little (well, not that little) raincoats. Soon I expect to be talking with a shop owner in California about how his brave little Chihuahua chased two armed robbers out of the store. What fun!

I’m also amazed at the level of care that goes into the material appearing in National Geographic Kids. Not only was there a six-page contract, but there were detailed guidelines and suggestions for each brief article that were nearly as long as the final articles themselves are supposed to be. When I asked if I could send drafts of my articles to the interview subjects to ensure accuracy, the editor informed me that they would take care of that—but only after their own fact checker had carefully gone through the pieces.

Want to know more about the amazing animals described above? Check out the April 2012 issue of National Geographic Kids. I hope the articles will be…amazing!

This week I am meeting with the photographer who is collaborating with me on my children’s book of beach poems. I am excited to see that project move forward. While I really enjoy writing a variety of articles, I keep reminding myself that one of the main reasons I moved to freelancing was so that I could have more time to pursue preparation of children’s books.

Random Thought of the Week: As I rush from one assignment to another this week and juggle other commitments relating to family, church, and business, I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be nice for life to slow down a little. But after taking a deep breath and reflecting for a moment, I decide that things are great just the way they are!

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