Monthly Archives: March 2012

Random Trails

I’ve already mentioned that Light for the Creative Soul is one of my favorite blogs. This is a timely post. In my last blog, I talked about gleaning writing ideas from your quiet time. Victoria Gaines offers journal prompts. I hope this inspires you.

Fresh Journal Prompts

Deborah

From the Idea Garden

Are you awaiting the arrival of a new baby in your family? Maybe you’re the one who is pregnant or it might be another family member. This area is full of article ideas.

If you’re pregnant: How do you handle with morning sickness? What works? What doesn’t work? What is happening to your baby at each stage of development? How do you feel physically each month? What are the health issues you face during your pregnancy? How do you deal with the emotional side of pregnancy? What are you doing to prepare for the arrival of the baby? How are you preparing your other children for the new baby? How is the pregnancy affecting your marriage? How has it changed? Who can you interview for a professional perspective on pregnancy? How can you use your unique insights in a health article, personal experience piece, article or story for children, how-to article, poem, fiction, and/or a meditation/devotional?

If a family member is pregnant: How does your extended family prepare for a new baby? What are the most important gifts to give the mom-to-be? How can you help the mom-to-be?

Look for writing ideas in every experience.

Gleaning Article Ideas from Your Quiet Time

When I sit down for my quiet time, two essentials come with me: my Bible and my journal. I read the passage and write out what it means to me. I even list practical ways that I can apply the passage to my life. Then, I journal my prayers. Several things occur during those precious times. God confronts me about areas where I need to grow, I see the blessings that He’s given me and I learn to trust Him in deeper ways.

I’ve filled several notebooks over the years. I can go back and see how God has worked. I can also find article ideas.

Meditations/Devotionals

These are the most obvious type of articles to write from your journal entries. The Scripture already accompanies your notes. And if your journal is personal enough, you have a ready-made anecdote for the devotional.

What challenges were you facing when God spoke to you through that passage? What chord did it strike in your heart? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? How can you make the Scripture passage come alive for your readers?

Personal Experience Articles

While devotionals focus on the Scripture, personal experience pieces focus on the story. How has God used what you learned in a quiet time to help you deal with something in your life? How did you use the Scripture passage to grow through the experience? What did you learn?

Tell those stories to help your readers see God at work in a new way.

How-To Articles

How-to articles go beyond the story to the process of solving a problem or dealing with an issue. What practical insights from a quiet time did you apply to an experience? What process did God use to get you from one point to another?

Broaden the lessons you learned to a variety of experiences. How can your readers apply those lessons to their marriage? Family? Work? Friendships? A significant loss?

Other Writing Opportunities

How can you use what you learned in your quiet time to teach children about God? How can you incorporate your lessons into a theme for fiction, either a short story or novel? How can you use the insights in poetry?

Other Journaling Fields

Do you take notes during sermons? What about at conferences and classes? These, too, offer a wealth of article ideas. Take advantage of what you learn from your pastor to help others.

What sermons have touched you in a significant way? What conference workshops inspire you? How did you make different choices because of what you heard? How can your readers apply those lessons to their own life?

Use your quiet time journal to harvest article ideas. What inspires you will inspire others.

© Deborah Christensen

From the Idea Garden

Do you remember the last time you got sick? How did you know if you needed to see a doctor? What care did he offer? Was there a way for you to take care of it on your own? Could you have prevented it?

What did being sick teach you about yourself? About God? About patience? About compassion?

How can you use these insights in an article for a general market publication? In a how-to article? In a personal experience piece?

Seeds of Truth – Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13, NIV

How does this verse speak to you? What personal experience can you tie to this verse? How has God filled you with all joy and peace? How have you learned to trust God? How has God given you hope?

How can you use these insights in a how-to article? In fiction? In a personal experience piece? In poetry? In a meditation/devotional? How can you create a children’s story to convey these truths?

Tilling the Soil of Family Birthdays for Writing Ideas

This week, we celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday. As you can see from the picture, she got very silly. We ordered pizza, opened presents and stuffed ourselves on the best chocolate cake in the world. And, we sang “Happy Birthday” three times. That’s right. We sing the traditional verse, then a verse that says, “God bless you today. God bless you always. God bless you and keep you another year through,” and the traditional verse again but sung very quickly.

My mom doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She loves to give parties but she doesn’t want to be the subject of a party. Her idea of the perfect party is to be surrounded by family. As long as she can laugh with us, she’s happy.

How does your family celebrate birthdays? What unique traditions do you enjoy? What are your special memories from past birthday celebrations?

How-To Articles

You can get practical with these ideas. How do you make a moist cake? What are special decorating tips you can share? How do you run a successful surprise party? How do you make beautiful invitations? How can you save money while planning a party? How do you plan a casual party? How do you plan a formal party?

Relationship issues always pop up during family birthday celebrations. How do you keep the peace among everyone at the party? How do you make sure everyone behaves themselves?

How do you plan a first birthday party? How do you celebrate a milestone birthday?

People are looking for practical birthday party ideas. You just might be able to help them.

Personal Experience Pieces

Family birthdays create memories: my nephew smashing his hand into his first birthday cake, my 107-year-old aunt dancing at her birthday party, my dad’s surprise when his cousins from Denmark showed up.

What are your special memories? What do they teach you about the importance of family? What takeaway value can you glean from these memories that you can offer your readers?

The Joy of Joy

Family birthday celebrations can be joyous occasions. Peek deeper into the celebration to find ideas to share. You just might get an article out of it.

© Deborah Christensen

Random Trails

A blog that really encourages me is Light for the Creative Soul by Victoria Gaines. There is a special section just for writers. She made a post recently and it touched me in a unique way. When you’re searching for ideas, think about what she says here:

Figure Out What to Say & Go For It.

From the Idea Garden

Have you suffered a loss recently? Maybe it was a loved one, a job loss, a financial loss or even the loss of a family pet. What did you learn about God’s love through the loss? How did He comfort you and bring you through the experience? How can you share your story and insights in a personal experience piece? In fiction? In a how-to article? In a meditation/devotional? In poetry? How can you use this experience to explain loss through a children’s story?

Seeds of Truth – Romans 15:4

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 15:4, NLT

Which one of God’s promises are you holding on to? How have you seen His promises fulfilled? What Bible verses give you hope and encouragement? Why? What is the story behind your answers to these questions? How can you use that story in a how-to piece? In fiction? In a personal experience article? In poetry? In a meditation/devotional? How can you explain these truths to children in a children’s story?

Gardening Tools – DocsToGo

For years, I kept my life on a Palm Pilot. One of the programs that I downloaded was DocsToGo. I used it to write devotionals, articles and copy for my full-time job. I knew all the shortcuts with the stylus. It allowed me to write anywhere without carrying a heavy laptop. So when my Palm Pilot died and I couldn’t replace it because they didn’t make it anymore, I lost something valuable.

A couple of years ago, I discovered that I can use the iPod Touch just like my Palm Pilot. I also discovered that DocsToGo now makes an app for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad, and for many other systems, including Blackberry and Android. This time, you don’t need a stylus, just use the keypad on whatever you use.

What is DocsToGo? The app I use offers Microsoft Word and Excel. You can also get PowerPoint and pdfs. I can set fonts, point sizes and indents. I then sync it with my desktop and get the full file.

I’ve used it while I’m waiting in a doctor’s office or car service center. If I need to write, I can keep my iPod Touch in my purse and write wherever I am.

It’s a great tool for writers who travel or who get inspired even when they’re away from their computer.

You can find more information at their website: DocsToGo.

© Deborah Christensen

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