Monthly Archives: July 2013

Seeds of Truth – Psalm 37:5

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Psalm 37:5, NLT

How do you commit everything you do to the Lord? Have you ever held anything back? What happens when you commit everything to the Lord? How does it change your attitude about what you do?

How do you trust God? How has He helped you? What happened when you didn’t trust Him?

How can you use this verse in your writing?

  • What story can you share in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
  • What insights and tips can you offer in a how-to article?
  • How can you use this verse in fiction?
  • How can you use this verse in a devotion?
  • How can you use this verse in poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and do a personality profile on them?
  • How can you explain this verse to children?

Stories from a Summer Vacation

garden of the gods desertSummer is over half over – at least if you think of summer going from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Chances are that you will take a summer vacation at some point. You’ll see new places, explore a different city or hike through nature, try new food, and spend time with the people you love. As you create memories with your family or friends, look for writing ideas and think about the insights you can share with your readers.

See the Sights

Have you ever thought of writing a travel article? Most publications that use travel pieces are looking for the unique angle. They have probably already covered the traditional travel destinations. So, do a little exploring. Find something that not many people know about.

Keep your eyes open for something special. You may meet someone you want to interview later. Introduce yourself, tell them what you’re looking for, give them your card and get contact information from them. Build that initial relationship so that when you call later for the interview, they’ll remember you.

You may find an obscure piece of history or a quirky landmark. Take a lot of photos and research it later.

Personal Stories

Whether you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends, you will find a story. How did you bond with each other? What did God teach you about each person in your group? What special memories did you create on the trip? All of these can serve as a personal experience piece.

Readers love stories. You can share your story and help your readers connect with their memories of family vacations.

Be sure to give your readers takeaway value. Help them see that God is at work in all the stories of our lives.

Solving Problems

How did you plan the vacation? How did you choose your destination? How did you budget for the trip? How did you overcome conflict? How did you find a reliable repair shop when your car broke down? How did you handle medical emergencies?

These are just some of the issues you encounter on a vacation. You can offer insights so that next summer your readers can approach their own vacations a little more prepared.

Now What?

Remember that you won’t be writing articles for this summer. All summer issues of publications are planned and out. So, you have a few months to pull your ideas together and write. Plan ahead. Journal so you don’t forget the stories. Collect pamphlets from the places you visit. Be prepared now so that your follow-up research will be much easier.

You may also think of using your destination as a setting for fiction. Get a feel for the place so that you can accurately portray it in your story.

Photos will also help you write poetry later. Take photos that touch your emotions so you remember those feelings as you write.

Vacations are fun and relaxing. But, also, keep your eyes open and glean those writing ideas.

© Deborah Christensen

Friday Fun Facts – William Faulkner the Screenwriter

On this day in 1942, William Faulkner began a job with Warner Brothers as a screenwriter. It lasted for five months. He wrote two films: To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep. Humphrey Bogart starred in both films. They each were based on books by other writers: To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway and The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.

Other writers who wrote for films include: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Tennessee Williams, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker.

PLEASE COMMENT: Have you ever written something that was completely out of your genre? What was it like?

This link provides great ways to capture those writing ideas:

How to Save Your Best Writing Ideas.

Seeds of Truth – Proverbs 22:4

Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life. 

Proverbs 22:4, NIV

What does this verse mean to you? What is true humility? How do you live out fear of the Lord? How do you expand the meaning of wealth to be more than material possessions? What is honor? How does your relationship with the Lord affect the life you live?

How can you use this verse in your writing?

  • What personal experience can you use with this verse? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
  • What tips and insights can you offer in a how-to article?
  • How can you use this verse as a foundation for fiction?
  • How can you use this verse in poetry?
  • What kind of devotion can you write?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a profile?
  • How can you explain this verse to children through an article or a story?

Now Write It

hibiscus3.jpgAs a writer, you want to overflow with ideas. That’s a good thing. But, what happens to all those ideas? Do you store them away somewhere, hoping to pull them out someday? Or, do you turn them into articles, stories, devotions and poetry? How do you start?

Write While the Idea is Hot

If all you do is collect ideas, then you’ll never write. Don’t let a lot of time pass after an idea strikes you. The idea may grow cold and never inspire you again.

You don’t need to put it into final form but do write something. You can play with the idea. Does it work better as fiction or a devotion? What do you need to fill out a nonfiction piece? Interviews? Statistics? That first draft can add depth to your idea and help you know where to take it.

Research the Markets

Before you get too deep into the piece, research possible markets. If your piece is turning into an allegory, you want to make sure that there’s a market for it.

The Christian Writer’s Market Guide and Writer’s Market are great resources to find publishers, publications, greeting card companies, etc. Use these guides. They will point you to possible markets for your work.

Then, request writer’s guidelines from markets. Get sample copies. Study them. Know what kind of style the market uses. You may need to rework your piece to fit their style.

If you show that you can provide quality work that follows their style and guidelines, you can become a valuable asset to a publication.

Polish and Submit – It’s OK

Now, polish your manuscript. Make the necessary changes. Finally, submit it according to the guidelines.

Some people feel that they shouldn’t put in all that work to get something published. They believe their writing is a ministry. But Jesus told His disciples, “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house” (Luke 10:7, NIV). And, Paul told Timothy, “For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages’” (1 Timothy 5:18, NIV).

Your writing is a ministry but you also deserve your wages for your work. God gave you the gift to use it. He doesn’t want you to keep it to yourself. Look for those ideas, write them and, then, do the necessary work to get them published. God will use your writing to touch lives. Your responsibility is to write it. So, do it now.

© Deborah Christensen

Friday Fun Facts – Emile Zola’s Flight to France

French novelist, Emile Zola, wrote a scathing letter to a newspaper which exposed the wrongful conviction of a French army captain and the cover-up that followed. Zola was then convicted of libel against the French army. He avoided imprisonment by escaping France on this day in 1898. In 1899, the army captain was pardoned and Zola returned to France.

His letter in the newspaper sparked outrage from both sides of the issue.

PLEASE COMMENT: How has your writing spurred others to action or to change?

Random Trails: Why We Can’t Always Wait on Inspiration | Rachel Olsen

Here’s some encouragement to keep using your gift, whether you feel inspired or not:

Why We Can’t Always Wait on Inspiration | Rachel Olsen.

Seeds of Truth – Psalm 112:5

Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.

Psalm 112:5, NIV

How have you seen this verse at work in your life? What have you learned about financial issues? How do you conduct your affairs with justice?

How can you share your story through a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give your readers? What tips and insights can you offer your readers through a how-to article? Who can you interview for a personality profile in this field? How can you use this verse in a devotion? In fiction? In poetry? How can you explain this verse to children?

Here are some additional suggestions to get you thinking:

  • a marriage article
  • a parenting article
  • an article for seniors
  • an article for young adults.

The Power of Freedom

fireworksI took last week off, which means I haven’t written a main blog post since before the 4th of July. It’s given me a lot of time to think about freedom.

Celebrating Freedom

How do you celebrate the freedom of our nation? What do you know about the history of Independence Day that readers would want to know? How has our view of freedom changed since we first declared it in 1776?

How can you inspire your readers vote responsibly? How can you motivate them to fight the erosion of our freedoms? How can you encourage them to act on the issues that are most important to them?

Freedom in Christ

How does the freedom we have in Christ impact your life? How does it affect the decisions you make?

How does the freedom we have in Christ intersect with our freedom as a nation? How does your relationship with Christ make you a better citizen?

Writing for Freedom

Whether you share your own story or you offer insights to your readers on how to become more politically involved, you, as a writer, are in a unique position. We have freedom of the press in this country. You can spur your readers on to action to stand for our freedom.

Think about the wide variety of ways you can do it:

  • a personal experience piece through which you share a story from your family, your military service (or someone else’s service), or your community service on how your faith journey impacts your citizenship, etc.
  • a how-to article on how to stand for the issues that are important to you
  • a historical piece
  • fiction that uses freedom as a theme
  • poetry inspired by freedom
  • a devotion the blends Scripture and insights on our rights and responsibilities as citizens
  • a personality profile that focuses on someone on the front lines of ensuring our freedom
  • a story or article for children that helps them understand the cost of freedom and its importance in our lives.

I hope this has sparked some ideas for you. You can use your unique experiences and insights to help your readers understand the power of freedom.

© Deborah Christensen

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