And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7, NLT
What do you need hope for? What does it mean that our only hope is in the Lord? How can we live every day with our hope in the Lord? In what other things do we try to put our hope? What happens? How do these things give us false promises? How do we know we can truly entrust our hope to the Lord? What does a life of hope look like?
How Can You Use This Verse in Your Writing?
- What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
- What tips would you offer in a how-to article? What tips can you offer?
- What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give?
- How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
- How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
- Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on them?
- How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children? For teens?
- What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
- How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, relationship struggles, school, work, unemployment, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, hope, health issues, national disasters, politics, anxiety, patience, grief, finances, prayer, persecution, salvation of loved ones, trials, etc.?
What is your favorite school memory? How can you use it in your writing?
Share your insights. You may inspire someone else.
Many publications run back-to-school issues. While they put them together months ago, you can get your ideas now for next year.
For the Kids
You can write things for students that help them overcome the pitfalls of school and make the most of their school year.
What do kids need to know before they start the new school year? How can they change their mindset from summer fun to school studies? How can they approach the school year with a cooperative attitude?
How can they make lasting friendships at school? What do they do when someone doesn’t like them? How can they handle bullying? What do they do when they want to bully someone else? How can they treat their fellow students with love? How can they combat loneliness?
How can they live out their faith at school? How can they share their faith with their friends? How can they show Christ’s love to their teachers? How does their love of Christ affect the way they behave in school? How does it affect the way they study?
How can they choose clothes that are appropriate for school? What does what they wear show their commitment to Jesus?
What is the best way to handle starting in a new school? What stories can you tell to kindergarteners or preschoolers who are starting school for the first time? How can students navigate attending middle school or high school for the first time?
For the Parents
With the new transgender bathroom and locker room policy that’s come down, many parents are re-evaluating their school choices. Other parents simply want to help their children succeed in school and do the best they can do. Parents want to help their children study, choose extracurricular activities they will enjoy, make good friends and enjoy school. You can write things to help them in all these areas.
How does a parent know when it’s time to rethink school options? What are the pros and cons of public schools? Christian schools? Other private schools? Home schooling? How can parents make a decision that’s best for their child?
How can parents get involved in the policies their school adopts? How can they stay on top of what their child is learning? What do they do when their child is being taught something that is contrary to their beliefs and morals? How can parents work with the school instead of creating an adversarial relationship?
How can they help their child make decisions about which classes to take? How can they help their child follow their passion? How can they challenge their child to grow in their weak areas?
How can they help their child deal with bullies? How can they know when it’s time to step in and get the school involved? How can they help their child love their enemies?
How can they teach their child about modesty? How can they help their child live out their Christian faith in an increasingly hostile environment?
How can they help their child adjust to a new school? What do they need to know about the new school environment?
These are just a few questions to start your creative juices flowing. Look for the answers to these and so many other questions, and help provide the answers to the students and parents who read your piece.
© Deborah Christensen
The Olympics are in full swing. We watched Michael Phelps break an Olympic record that has stood for over 2,100 years. It was set during the ancient Greek Games by Leonidas of Rhodes when he won 13 individual events. Michael Phelps won 15 individual events.
We also watched Simone Biles and the American gymnastic team soar to victory. Now, the track and field elites are taking to the track.
But, more inspiring stories keep coming out. They can inspire our writing long after the Olympics end.
Simone Biles was born to a drug-addicted mother. After spending time in foster care with her sister, her grandparents adopted the girls. They are now Mom and Dad. Her life could’ve turned out very differently from what it is now. But because loving people surrounded her with love and stability, she’s an Olympic champion.
Adoption saves lives and changes them. Tell adoption stories, both from the adoptee’s perspective and that of the adoptive parents.
Go deeper. Why does a pregnant woman choose life for her baby? How does she decide which adoption option works best (open adoption, closed adoption)? What can you write to help her choose life for her baby?
How does an infertile couple deal with their infertility? How can they choose adoption? What are the advantages of adoption over other alternatives, including IVF? What are the pros and cons of overseas adoptions?
How can couples minister to children through foster care? What should they consider when choosing to adopt a child they fostered?
We can find so many different perspectives in the issue of adoption. It provides endless writing ideas.
Dealing with Injuries
Every Olympic athlete has faced some kind of injury at one time or another. It can break their career or make them stronger.
Tell stories of people who have overcome an injury. How did they do it? What medical steps did they need to take? What emotional toll did it take on them?
Again, go deeper. Help your readers know what to look for when seeking medical help for an injury? Give them guidance for when they can take care of themselves or when they need medical attention. Each injury is different. So is each medical approach.
When should they look into alternative medicine? What are the pros and cons? What factors should they consider when looking into surgery? What are the latest medical treatments for injuries?
Some Olympic stories can inspire our writing beyond the Olympics. We can find writing ideas in all aspects of the Olympics.
© Deborah Christensen
Chuck Colson visited Tom Philips, the president of Raytheon, in his home. Philips read to him from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. The words convicted Colson but he didn’t want to make a “foxhole” conversion. Before he left, Philips gave him the book, telling him to read it along with the Gospel of John. However, he could barely get out of Philips’ driveway before he broke down and cried out to God. Colson served time for his part in the Watergate scandal. He went on to found Prison Fellowship, which ministers to prisoners around the world to this day.
Yesterday, I talked about using the Olympics to inspire your writing. What Olympic stories have you heard that inspire you? How can you use them in your writing?
Please share your insights. You may inspire someone else.
As writers, we can view events like the Olympics through different eyes. We see stories to tell, we find character qualities to share, and we find inspiration to help our readers grow in the Lord and as people.
Athletes Who Put God First
Numerous articles have come out about Olympic athletes who are Christians. Can you interview any of them? What would you highlight about their Olympic journey?
Look for stories you can tell. Get below the surface of the Games themselves to how their faith influences the way they approach their sport.
Even if you don’t have the opportunity to interview the athletes, you can still use the way they play their sport as a testament to their faith. Those stories make excellent anecdotes in how-to articles and devotions. This means research. Read what you can on the athlete to make sure their faith story is real. Christianity Today and the Christian Post have run some of the recent articles on Christian Olympians.
Courage, Humility and Perseverance
Last night, I watched the medal ceremony for the 4×100 meter relay. Michael Phelps was on that team. His comeback story provides an example of overcoming bad choices. He trained harder for the 2016 Olympics than he did for the 2012 Olympics.
But, there was another story on that podium, as well. Ryan Held swam in his first international competition in that relay. It was the only event he entered in the Olympics. During the “Star Spangled Banner,” Held broke down in tears. He clearly felt humbled by the honor.
But, the story doesn’t end there, Phelps, who is the most-decorated Olympian ever, reached over and wrapped his arm around Held. This is an example of humility from both of them.
Other stories introduce us to athletes who summoned courage to overcome obstacles: One of the refugee athletes practiced for her race as she ran without shoes. An American swimmer started swimming after facing a life-threatening illness.
Look for examples of character qualities that come out in the Olympic athletes. You may not focus on the athlete but you can use their story as an anecdote. It can inspire your fiction and poetry, as well. And if you write for children, look for ways you can teach these things to them.
As you watch the Olympics and cheer your team, let the stories inspire your writing.
© Deborah Christensen
All people possess a variety of character qualities. One usually stands out. What character quality in you or someone else inspires your writing? Why? Please share your insights and/or story. You may inspire someone else.
Some people view people who live out goodness as “goody-two shoes.” That’s now how God sees it. He is good and He calls us to be good. That means He wants us to do the right thing, to obey Him, to love Him and to love others. It means we choose His way and turn away from the world’s way. We practice justice, use honorable speech, encourage others and live a pure life. We spurn evil.
Living a good life pleases God. After we give our life to Christ, goodness grows in our life. It shows we belong to Him and that He makes a difference in our life.
Encouraging Others to Goodness
It’s easier to sin. Cut a corner here, make a compromise there, and soon you’ve forgotten about goodness. But, goodness often requires sacrifice. In Galatians 6:9, Paul tells us not to become weary of “doing good.” And as writer, we can pass that message on to our readers.
When was a time you grew weary of doing good? How did you find the strength to keep going? How did you choose to do good instead of giving up?
Tell your story in a personal experience piece. Offer tips you learned in a how-to article. Give your readers practical advice that they can follow. Get them thinking about the importance of goodness.
Write a devotion and give your readers verses that they can turn to. Goodness pulls in issues of perseverance, trust and loving others. Find verses that encourage your readers in these areas, as well. Open the devotion with an anecdote.
Interview someone who works with the poor, fights for persecuted Christians, saves the unborn or helps the elderly. What can they share about goodness? How do their good works make a difference in the lives of the people they serve? How does God use them? How did they decide to make goodness the focus of their life?
Children need to grow in goodness, too. Help them see the value of making the right choices and making God happy. Guide them in the struggle to do the right thing.
Other Writing Arenas
Poetry is the perfect vehicle for a discussion on goodness. Poets have a way of viewing something from a different angle. You can offer a unique perspective.
In fiction, you can write a character who struggles with goodness. Put obstacles in your character’s way that prevent them from choosing to do good. How do they overcome it? You can feature the classic fight of good against evil in your fiction.
God values goodness. We can value it in our own life and help our readers see the importance of it for their lives, too.
© Deborah Christensen
On in this day in 1805, Alexis de Tocqueville was born. In 1831, he came to the United States with a friend, Gustave de Beaumont. They traveled extensively and studied the prison system in America. After returning to France, he wrote “Democracy in America.” It was published in 1835. The book delved into American culture and the political system. It’s considered one of the most influential books of the 19th century.