Monthly Archives: January 2014
As the Winter Olympic Games approach, I discovered some Olympic writing trivia. The man who is known as the founder of the International Olympic Committee and the modern Games is Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. He worked for five years to organize the Games and get them started. The first modern-day Games were held in Athens, in 1896. For several years, from 1912 to 1948, the Games also included Art Competitions. In 1912, Coubertin won a gold medal in literature for his poem Ode to Sport.
PLEASE COMMENT: How would you like to participate in the Games as a writer? What writing events would you like to enter?
Poet John Donne was born on this day in 1573. He led an extravagant life. But after he secretly married the daughter of his employer, he began to get serious about his relationship with God. It changed him so much that King James encouraged him to go into the ministry. He did and in 1621, he became the dean of St. Paul’s in London. Two of his most well-known phrases from his writings are “No man is an Island, entire in itself” and “For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for thee.”
Random Trails: 7 Fun Ways to Keep Your Idea Generation Skills Fresh This Winter | The Renegade Writer
If you’re stuck in the winter doldrums, this article may help you generate new writing ideas:
Yesterday, we celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday. He dreamed of a world where people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
PLEASE COMMENT: What does that mean to you? What can you write to encourage people to be colorblind?
On this day in 1604, the Hampton Court Conference of King James I appointed 54 scholars to complete an important project. Their goal was to produce a new translation of the Bible. They were divided into six groups and reviewed each other’s work in such a way that by the end of the project, the entire group had reviewed each book. They completed the translation in 1611. It was originally called the “Authorized” version but became known as the King James Version.
The King James Version has influenced the English language more than any other work, including Shakespeare. Many believe it contains some of the most beautiful poetry and prose ever written. Below is a list of some phrases that come from the KJV and became popular phrases. Some of these phases have changed slightly from the exact wording in the Bible, but the KJV is the original source:
- ask and you shall receive (Matt. 7:7)
- the blind leading the blind (Matt. 15:14)
- my cup runneth over (Psalm 23:5)
- a drop in the bucket (Isaiah 40:15)
- an eye for an eye ((Matt. 5:38, Exodus 21:24)
- a fly in the ointment (Eccl. 10:1)
- labor of love (1 Thess. 1:3)
- multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)
- in one’s right mind (Mark 5:15)
- the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13)
- a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12, NIV
How can you live out this verse? What does it mean to be “joyful in hope”? How do you remain “patient in affliction”? How do you stay “faithful in prayer”? What afflictions have you faced? How did God give you the patience to endure? Where do you place your hope? How does it fill you with joy? How do you maintain a faithful prayer life?
How can you use this verse in your writing?
- What personal stories can you tell that focus on this verse? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What tips and insights can you offer through a how-to article?
- What kind of devotion can you write for this verse?
- How can this verse inspire your fiction?
- How can this verse inspire your poetry?
- Who lives out this verse? Can you do a personality profile on them that focuses on this verse?
- How can you explain this verse to children through fiction and nonfiction?
- How does this verse impact your relationship with God?
- How does this verse impact your marriage?
- How does this verse impact your parenting?
- How does this verse impact the way you live out your singleness?
- How does this verse impact your work?
- How does this verse impact the way you serve others?
I saw Saving Mr. Banks right after the first of the year. It’s been almost two weeks and the movie still remains with me. It’s a touching account of how the beloved movie Mary Poppins came to the screen.
It tells the story of the creation of the screenplay for Mary Poppins, and the often-difficult relationship between Walt Disney and P. L. Travers. But, it also whisks us away to early 20th-century Australia and offers insight into why P. L. Travers wrote the book in the first place. So, one story becomes two.
Travers tried to make sense of her childhood and heal it through her stories. As she saved Mr. Banks, she also saved herself and her family.
Healing Our Pain
All of us carry pain. It might be pain from the past or pain we carry today. Our writing can help heal our pain and can allow us to help others heal their pain, as well.
Use your painful story in your fiction. This time, you can make it right. Give it the ending you wish had occurred.
If you write nonfiction, share the insights you’ve learned along the way. You may not have conquered your pain, but you can share your journey. Walk beside your readers. Help them see they’re not alone.
All of us carry regrets. We wish we would’ve done something differently, made a better decision, said a kinder word, walked away from a destructive relationship or chose a different path. We can write those choices. How do things change for your character when you do?
Again, in nonfiction, offer your insights. What would’ve happened if you’d done something else? What did you learn from your regrets?
Writers often write from their past. You have a story to heal. You can heal it through your writing. And, you can reach out to help your readers heal, too.
And then, like P. L. Travers, you can take a story of pain and turn it into a story of joy.
© Deborah Christensen
On this day in 1961, Dashiell Hammett died. He’s best known for The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, both which have been made into movies.
He worked as a detective for the Pinkerton agency and used his experiences as the basis for his books. He was a leader in detective fiction and inspired other writers, including Raymond Chandler.
He became romantically involved with writer Lillian Hellman. He modeled his character of Nora Charles, from The Thin Man, after her.
PLEASE COMMENT: How have your work experiences influenced your writing?
You are in a cabin in the woods and you’re snowed in.
Choose one of the genres below and write:
- a love story
- a thriller
- a mystery
- a poem
- an adventure story
- science fiction
PLEASE COMMENT: What did you write? Can you submit it somewhere?
Galatians 5:22-23, NIV (1984)
This year, we’re going to glean writing ideas from the fruits of the Spirit. What better place to start than love?
Our Love for God
The fruits of the Spirit refer to the qualities that the Holy Spirit builds in us. It begins with our love for God. We can never love God the way He deserves and, at times, our love for Him wanes. But, the Holy Spirit fuels that love to keep it alive. The more we connect with God and spend time with Him, the brighter our love burns.
When was a time when your love for God burned bright? Where were you spiritually at that time? How do you sense God’s love? How do you return His love?
When was a time when your love for Him flickered? What was happening in your life at the time? Where were you spiritually? How did you reconnect with God?
Our Love for Others
God calls us to love others. He is love and He wants love to characterize our life. It’s not always easy but the Holy Spirit can help us as we grow in Him.
Love in Marriage: What is your love story? How do you love your spouse? How do you show love when you don’t feel like it? What role does sacrifice play in your love?
Love in Parenting: How do you show love to your children? What role does discipline play in love? How do you build loving memories? How is your love different for each child?
Love for Friends: How do you love your friends? How does an authentic friendship deepen love? How do you handle conflict in a loving way?
Love for the Body of Christ: How do you show love to your fellow believers? How does serving together strengthen your love?
Love for Unbelievers: How do you show love to unbelievers? How does love affect the way you serve them? How does love affect the way you share your faith with them?
Love plays a part in every relationship. Share your story of the highs and lows of love. Offer tips. Use love in your fiction and poetry. Share biblical insights in a devotion. And, help children understand the truths of love in stories and articles.
© Deborah Christensen