Reflecting on a Milestone

Nordic in the Northwest Oregonian ArticleWow. I’d like to thank you all for your encouragement and celebration when I announced that my Nordic food article was featured as the centerpiece food story last week in The Oregonian. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many likes on the Facebook page! You are the best. I still get excited every time I walk by the various copies of the newspaper at my home, and I’d to try to explain this story’s significance to me.

As a lifetime writer who studied journalism in college and has made a career out of telling stories through the written word, getting published in The Oregonian marks a significant point in my writing life. With a reputation as one of the biggest and best newspapers in the Pacific Northwest, the Pulitzer Prize-winning paper has fostered and trained many excellent journalists; its former managing editor in his book “A Writer’s Coach” called it a “writer’s newspaper, a place where words matter.”

Daytona with Oregonian Article

Six years ago this summer I traveled down to Portland, Oregon, for a writers’ conference organized by The Oregonian and the Poynter Institute. Being surrounded by all of that integrity, creativity, and passion stirred something in me, and that weekend I decided, without a doubt, to leave broadcast news and pursue a job in print.

Even in 2007 that was a daring decision; as I took a communications and marketing job while doing freelance writing on the side, I watched as print editions of newspapers and magazines continued to decline.

As my family and I drove north from Portland last Tuesday after picking up a few copies of my article in that day’s paper, we passed the conference site and it occurred to me how momentous the article was. Six years after that influential experience I was back in Portland holding a copy of that respected paper–a “writer’s newspaper”–with my own article in it. Even though my stories about food have been published nationally, a byline in The Oregonian–especially on the topic of Nordic food, my specialty–is perhaps the one I’m most proud of.

Thanks again for all of your enthusiasm. Even without knowing the full significance of this article for me, you’ve written kind words, shared the article with your friends, and celebrated with me. I’ll say it again: You are the best.

Happy New Year!

Rice Cream
My photo for rice cream, published with my latest article in the Norwegian American Weekly

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. Can you believe it’s already 2013? I love this time of the year–settling into a new planner/calendar, reevaluating old goals and setting new ones, and beginning anew. It’s been pretty quiet over here at Outside Oslo, hasn’t it? Behind the scenes, I had been working on so many writing projects in the fall months that I gave myself a bit of a vacation. Of course, however, writers never are able to “turn off” the creative voice inside their heads, but for me a vacation meant taking a short break from seeking new writing opportunities and allowing myself the leeway to be more flexible on my blogging schedule. Instead, I worked behind the scenes on moving Outside Oslo over here to (it’s still a work in progress), did some professional development in the form of reading about writing, and just relaxed and enjoyed the holiday season with my friends and family.

As a stay-at-home mom who is also a freelance writer and blogger, I find that balancing everything and keeping my priorities in focus requires constant evaluation. It’s easy to be so wrapped up in the current tasks that one temporarily loses sight of the big picture, so for me, taking a little break every once in a while is a good thing. Each time I do it, I get back to work refreshed and energized and ready to move forward with new momentum.

I’ll be back really soon with more stories and Scandinavian recipes. In the meantime, update your bookmarks and RSS feed to follow Outside Oslo over here instead of the old site.

Finally, since I mentioned the writing I’ve been doing, I’d like to share a few places I’ve been published or appeared recently:

Most recently, I received the latest edition of News of Norway in the mail yesterday and was delighted to see that “Learning from the best,” a personal story about baking lefse with Grandma Adeline, was chosen to be published amongst other reader reflections on holiday traditions! If you’re not a subscriber, you can monitor their website for when they upload the current edition online.

Also, a years-long desire to come up with a signature recipe for rice cream was satisfied this past holiday season thanks to a writing deadline! When the editor of the Norwegian American Weekly asked me to contribute a story about a culinary tradition for the paper’s Christmas issue, there was no doubt in my mind that rice cream would be a perfect recipe to share, since it was a holiday staple at Grandpa Lauritz and Grandma Agny’s house as I was growing up. The story, “A Christmas dessert rich with heritage: Norwegian heritage, Christmas culinary traditions and family create the perfect holiday atmosphere,” was published last month and is also available online.

A few weeks before that, I contributed a story and recipe to the Norwegian American Weekly’s series on syv slags kaker: “A New Tradition: The Norwegian syv slags kaker custom brings back old memories and inspires new traditions.”

With a background in broadcast journalism, I had fun reminiscing about my former career when recording a vignette for The Scandinavian Hour radio show’s Christmas special, which aired on Seattle’s KKNW 1150.

Finally, I shared Grandma Agny’s recipe for surkål over at The Oslo Eye in November in an article called “Amidst New Scandinavian Food Trends, Traditional Norwegian Fare Still Warms the Heart.”

I have a couple of other stories that will be published in magazines in the coming weeks, and I’m in that excited waiting period that always comes in the weeks and months leading up to seeing an article in print. I’ll let you know when they’re published!

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