Monthly Archives: December 2012

Random Trails: 25 Self-Reflection Questions for New Year’s | The Homeschool Den

Here are more questions to think about. Use your answers to these questions to inspire writing ideas.

25 Self-Reflection Questions for New Year’s | The Homeschool Den.


Random Trails: 20 Questions for Reflecting on Your 2012 | (in)courage

Use these questions to spark writing ideas. Journal about them for yourself and then use your insights in your writing.

20 Questions for Reflecting on Your 2012 | (in)courage.

Write What You Know – And More

2013We’ve all heard it: Write what you know. Your everyday, ordinary life is full of writing ideas. You know more than you think you know. Take all that knowledge and write. But then, take a risk and move into areas where you’re less familiar.

Your Life 24/7

From the moment you get up to the moment your eyes close at night, writing ideas surround you: your journey with God, marriage, parenting, pets, caretaking elderly parents, illness, financial issues, singleness, dealing with loss, decorating ideas, forgiveness, gardening, and on and on.

Share your insights on what you’ve learned. Bring your readers with you on your journey. What is God teaching you today? What’s do you handle a disagreement in your marriage? How do you discipline your child? What works and what doesn’t? How did you discover that your pet had a health issue? How did you help your elderly parents transition to a more dependent living situation? How did you know the warning signs of a serious illness?

Do you get the idea? You know more things than you may realize.

Now Expand Your Vision

Look for ideas where you least expect them: a commercial on TV or radio, a TV show, a conversation you overhear at the grocery store, current events, the newspaper, a website, ideas from friends, your child’s homework, a song you hear. The ideas are there. You just need to recognize them as ideas.

Look for ideas in every experience, everything you read or hear, everything that comes into your life. You never know where you’ll find the next nugget of inspiration. But if you don’t look for it, you won’t see it.

Research, Research, Research

You may never know the pain of divorce or the trauma of a crime victim, but someone else does. Research expands your writing so you can then offer comfort, information or point them to where they can get help.

Research every idea. Do interviews, search the web, go to the library. Even your research can spark ideas. For example, you may be writing an article on breast cancer and discover information on how diet affects your health. It doesn’t fit into your current piece but you can use it in something else.

Step Into 2013 Full of Ideas

Start 2013 with a notebook in hand – or Notes on your smartphone, or some other way to capture your ideas. Then, write. Ideas birth more ideas.

Figure out how to use your idea in nonfiction (personal experience, how-to, personality profile, devotional), fiction (short stories, novel, character traits, plot lines), poetry, and writing for children. Take one idea and use it several ways and in every genre. You’ll increase your output.

Now, go. Write what you know – and more.

© Deborah Christensen

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Friday Fun – Chaucer’s Monk

I thought Fridays would be a good time to share some fun facts and maybe inspire you, as well.

Fat Monks and the Sin of Gluttony

Chaucer’s Monk in the Canterbury Tales was described in the Prologue as “a lord ful fat and in good point” (line 200). A new study finds that Chaucer’s description of the Monk as a person who loves to eat and is overweight is accurate. A 2004 study by archaeologists at University College London found that monks during medieval days were actually gluttons. Archaeologists studied one hundred monk skeletons at 3 abbeys dating from the medieval period. The bones were thick; joint problems from obesity were evident; and there were signs of arthritis—all of these proved that monks were actually overweight, as portrayed in paintings and literature of medieval times. Another study estimates that some monks consumed about 6,000 calories a day. Eating was a physical pleasure monks could enjoy!

This comes from

What career can you give to one of your fictional characters? What stereotypes of that career are actually true? How can you work those stereotypes into your character’s personality?

From an Idea Harvester – Walter Benjamin

“Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written.”

Seeds of Truth – Isaiah 46:4

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age.

I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

Isaiah 46:4, NLT

How have you see God take care of you throughout your lifetime? How has your relationship with Him grown through the years? What is different in that relationship from the time you were young and now that you’re older? How has He carried you along? How has He saved you?

How can you use your insights on this verse in your writing? In a personal experience piece? In a how-to article? In fiction? In poetry? In a devotional? How can you explain this verse to children? Whose life exemplifies this verse that you can use as the basis for a personality profile?

A Christmas Prayer

May God bless you this Christmas and help you remember the love and wonder of His Son. And, may that love flow through you as you write.

Christmas Memories and Writing Sparkle

Christmas tree - 2You’re busy with last-minute shopping, cooking and preparations for Christmas. The last thing on your mind is writing. But, tuck your memories into your heart as Mary treasured everything in her heart and bring them out later.

Share special moments from your Christmas celebration – moments when God touched you in a tender way. Your story may touch someone else. Share your memories – the times that filled you with joy or even the times that caused a lump in your throat.

But, your Christmas writing isn’t limited to personal experience pieces.

Advice for Parents

Parents are always looking for ways to make Christmas memorable for their children: crafts, gifts, traditions, etc. Christian parents may also be looking for a way to navigate the whole Santa issue. If they choose not to acknowledge Santa, how do they help their children stand up to the peer pressure?

What other advice or suggestions can you share with parents?

Issues of Grief

Christmas may not always be a happy time for people. They may have just suffered a devastating loss. How can you help them celebrate the birth of Christ in the midst of their sorrow? How can you help them grieve? How can you help them experience Christmas where they’re at without giving in to false expectations they may place on themselves?

Focusing on Jesus

How can you help your readers focus on Jesus – the real reason we celebrate? How can you help them avoid selfishness? How can you help them create an atmosphere of worship?

How can they cultivate an attitude of service during this season? What suggestions can you offer for serving opportunities?

Traditions and Gifts

Many families are looking for a way to create new traditions. What guidance can you offer? In this difficult economy, many people can’t afford expensive gifts. What creative suggestions can you give them for meaningful and affordable gifts?

Other Writing Avenues

How can you express your feelings about Christmas through poetry? How can you use your Christmas experiences in fiction? What kind of devotional can you write about Christmas? What can you write for children?

You may not be able to publish your Christmas writing immediately. But, remember, many publications work months ahead. The work you create this Christmas can touch lives next Christmas.

© Deborah Christensen

From the Idea Garden – A Visit with Santa Claus

Observe the children standing in line for Santa Claus. If you can position yourself to hear their requests, imagine the story behind the request. Watch how they interact with Santa. How do they relate to their parent? Create a story for each one of them. You might discover a story to write.

Seeds of Truth – Ephesians 6:7

Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord

rather than for people.

Ephesians 6:7, NLT

How does your relationship with Christ affect the way you work, whether you work outside the home or are a stay-at-home parent? How can you work more enthusiastically? What do you need to change to have the right attitude toward work? How can you begin to “work for the Lord”?

How can you share your insights in a personal experience piece? In a how-to article? In a devotional? In fiction? In poetry? How can you help children do their best for Jesus?

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