Charles Dickens was originally going to give Tiny Tim the name of “Little Fred.” He had two brothers who were called “Fred.” One was Frederick and the other was Alfred, who died at a young age. No one knows why he changed the name to Tiny Tim.
Louisa May Alcott was born on this day in 1832. Family friends included Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. She never married and was a tomboy, like Jo in her most well-known novel Little Women. After her sister died shortly after childbirth, she raised her niece. She also later adopted a nephew. Early in her writing career, she wrote under the pen names Flora Fairfield and A. M. Barnard.
A very Happy Thanksgiving from Plowing the Fields.
As you thank God for all His good gifts, thank Him for your writing gift. And, commit to using it for His glory.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in your all day long.
Psalm 25:4-5, NIV (1984)
How does God show you His ways? How does He teach you His paths? How does He guide you in His truth and teach you? What has He taught you? How has it help you grow in your faith? How do you place your hope in Him all day long?
What has God taught you about marriage? What has God taught you about parenting? What has God taught you about relationships with others? About serving Him?
How can you use this verse in your writing?
What personal stories can you tell? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What insights and tips can you offer in a how-to article?
- How can you explain this verse in a devotion? What anecdote can you use?
- How can this verse inspire your poetry?
- How can you use this verse in fiction?
- Is there someone who lives out this verse or who has a story to tell? Can you interview them?
- How can you explain this verse to children through a story or article?
What are you thankful for? What can you write about it?
I’ll start. I’m thankful for the three little children who have come into my life in the last three years. They help me see the world through new eyes. It’s gotten me thinking about living life with a sense of wonder. I could write a devotion and a personal experience piece on that topic.
This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Family members join us from other parts of the country. We shop and cook and decorate. The focus of this day is giving thanks but sometimes that gets lost in all the busyness of the holiday.
Use Thanksgiving as a time to count your blessings and thank God. Then, look for writing ideas.
Many people talk about being thankful. But, who are they thankful to? Thanksgiving is a day to focus on thanking God for all He’s done. As Christians, an attitude of thankfulness should define our lives all year around.
How can we cultivate an attitude of thankfulness? How can we keep our focus on God and see Him as the source of all good gifts? How can we be thankful during difficult times? How can we be thankful for His work in our life when we’re in pain?
Throughout the Bible, we read encouragement to give thanks in everything. Maybe you learned how to do that. Or, you might want to walk alongside your readers as you struggle with this together. What can you write to get your readers thinking about giving thanks to God?
Tell Stories and Offer Insights
Find stories that show how to live a life of thankfulness. It might be your story or the story of someone else. Give your readers takeaway value. Or, use the story as an anecdote for a devotion.
Offer insights on how to be thankful. Help your readers understand that thankfulness is God’s way to live. Show them how complaining dishonors Him. Take them on your journey as you learn these lessons yourself. Let them know that you don’t have all the answers but that these are some things that work for you.
Sometimes, we take God’s blessings for granted. We have so much to be thankful for. As writers, we can focus on those blessings and help our readers see the blessings in their own lives. And, together, we can become thankful in everything.
© Deborah Christensen
A giant in Christian literature, C.S. Lewis, died on this day 50 years ago. His death was overshadowed by the Kennedy assassination. A brilliant writer, he authored many well-known works of nonfiction and fiction, including Mere Christianity; Surprised by Joy; The Abolition of Man; The Problem of Pain; The Screwtape Letters; and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
He was an atheist and made a long journey to faith. After he came to Christ, he became one of the greatest Christian apologists of the 20th century. Here are a few of his quotes on faith:
“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
PLEASE COMMENT: What is your favorite C.S. Lewis book?
This is a great post on overcoming writer’s block.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10, NIV (1984)
How can you be devoted to others? How do you honor others above yourself? How do you do this without ignoring your legitimate needs? How do you deal with selfishness in your life? How can you love others the way Christ loves you?
How can you use this verse in your writing?
- What stories can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What insights or tips can you offer in a how-to article?
- How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage? How can you apply this verse to writing about parenting? How can you apply this verse to writing about singleness?
- What anecdotes can you share in a devotion about this verse?
- How can you use this verse to inspire your poetry?
- How can you use this verse to inspire your fiction? Is there a character you can create who lives out this verse? What about a character who struggles with this verse?
- Who lives out this verse that you can interview? Can you write a personality profile on them?
- How can you explain this verse to children through a story or an article?
We talked about the joys of grandparenthood, the healing after losing a spouse, the difficulties and blessings of remarriage, and the pain of watching our parents decline. Teachers talked about the state of education today. Runners talked about bodies that are 35 years older.
It was a joy to spend time with these old friends. And when I thought about our time together later, I realized that many of the things we talked about would make great topics for articles, devotions and fiction.
Share the Stories
I’ve never experienced the loss of a spouse. But, one of my old friends did. Look for stories that you can share.
What did they learn from their experience? How did God help them through it? How did they come out on the other side? If they’re still in the middle of the struggle, how do they keep going?
Write personal experience articles, how-to articles, poetry and devotions, all using your friend’s story as the foundation. Let the story inspire your fiction. Create a character who faces those obstacles and show how the character struggles and grows through it.
Address the Topics
I’m not a teacher but one of my old friends is. My parents are fairly healthy. But, one of my old friends is dealing with caretaking her parents. I’ve never had cancer but several of my old friends are survivors. Your old friends can become your “experts.”
Your old friends have a perspective that you may have never thought of before. Or, they may have experience with an issue that you don’t. Tap into their expertise. Get their insights.
If you’re writing something that requires research, contact one of your old friends who knows about that issue. Their information will help you with your research, but it may also spark new writing ideas.
Relish old friendships. But, also look for writing ideas that may be hiding in those relationships.
© Deborah Christensen