Monthly Archives: January 2015
Before he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl tested chocolates for Cadbury. He attended a well-known English public school named Repton. Cadbury sent chocolates to the students in plain packages. The boys tasted them and told the company what they thought of them. Dahl credited this taste-testing experience as the inspiration of his book.
Use these ideas to kickstart your writing.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13, NLT
This is my life verse. So, it has special meaning to me. It reminds me that God gives me the strength I need, when I need it. I pray this verse when I’m afraid. I draw my courage from it.
How can you use this verse in your writing?
- What kind of devotion can you write? What story would you use as an opening anecdote?
- Do you have a personal experience with this verse? Write a personal experience piece and tell your story.
- What tips and insights can you offer your readers in a how-to piece?
- How can you use this verse in fiction?
- How can you use this verse in poetry?
- How does this verse impact your marriage?
- How has it helped you in parenting?
- How can you explain this verse to children through articles and stories?
- Is there someone who lives out this verse who you can interview? Can you do a personality profile on them?
- How does this verse help you face your fears?
- How does it help you attempt something you’ve never done before?
- How does it help you in your work?
- How does it empower you in relationships?
- How does it help you do something difficult?
Several years ago, I ran away to Colorado in a fit of burnout. Those 10 days of driving through the mountains and spending time with friends refreshed me so much that they inspired me to write an article on how to recover from burnout.
When we travel, we experience things we can’t find at home. And if we look hard enough, we can find writing ideas, too.
Travel pieces leap to mind as article ideas that we can glean from our vacation. Did you discover hidden treasures in unique and little-known attractions? What interesting people did you meet? What would draw your readers to this spot?
Did you save money in an unusual way? What did you learn from booking your tickets or hotel room? What tips can you offer to make planning a trip easier?
Nature and History Articles
Many children’s publications use nature articles. What interesting nature facts can you share? Photos usually enhance these pieces so make sure you carry your camera with you.
Both children’s and adult publications use history articles. Collect as much historical information you can so you can provide accurate and interesting articles.
You do a lot of problem-solving while you travel. Your solutions can help your readers.
How did your family navigate conflicts while travelling? How did you use the time away to refresh yourself? How did you build your relationship with God? What mistakes can you help someone else avoid? How did you build fun into your family’s vacation routine?
You may encounter an appealing setting for a short story or novel. Get a feel for the place. Remember the sights and sounds so that you can incorporate them into your story.
Personal Experience Articles
What is the story behind your vacation? How did you travel with friends? What happened when you visited family? How did the trip impact your marriage? How did the trip celebrate a milestone in your family?
How did it stretch you spiritually? What lessons did God teach you? Did you see God working in your relationships? Did you connect with strangers in a significant way?
What changes did you make because of your vacation? How did your family change? What was the lasting effect on you? Your family? Your friendships?
Vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing. They can also offer a suitcase full of ideas.
© Deborah Christensen
When the musician Sting wrote the song “Every Breath You Take,” he sat at the same desk that Ian Fleming used when he wrote his James Bond books. It was in Jamaica at the Fleming Villa at Goldeneye.
Check this out. I hope it inspires you.
As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
Psalm 138:3, NLT
How do you pray? How has God answered your prayers? How has He given you strength? How does He encourage you? What does prayer mean to you? How do you maintain the spiritual discipline of prayer?
Use this verse in your writing:
- What kind of devotion can you write? What would you use as your opening anecdote?
- What tips and advice can you offer in a how-to article?
- What personal story can you tell about the impact of this verse on your life in a personal experience article?
- Do you know a prayer warrior? Can you do a personality profile on them?
- How can you use this verse in poetry?
- How can it influence your fiction?
- How can you apply this verse to marriage issues? Divorce? Death of a spouse?
- How can you apply this verse to parenting?
- How can you apply it to singleness?
- How can you apply it to job loss? Health issues? Financial issues?
- How can you apply it to relational issues?
- How can you explain it to children?
It’s possible to find joy, even in the midst of pain? How can you help your readers find joy in their everyday life?
I’ll share my comment. Philippians 4:13 is my life verse. It tells me that God is in control and that if I take a step a faith, He meets me there. I’ve seen it. I look for ways to explain that verse in my writing. I may not reference the verse directly but it influences my writing.
What about you? Please comment below.
To explain her behavior, she dredged up memories from 60 years ago, blaming her parents for every bad thing that had ever happened to her. She claimed she dreams about these painful memories every night and they are always in the front of her mind. She lives in her pain, then takes it out on other people.
“I wasn’t allowed to get married for over four years,” she said.
“But, you did get married,” I responded. “That’s all in the past. What are you doing to make your life better today?”
“They made me do this. They wouldn’t allow me to do that. It wasn’t fair. I was wronged.” On and on.
No, it wasn’t fair. But, she has control now. Life is a choice. Painful memories are painful memories. But at some point, we need to let them go. We can’t simmer in them. That just makes us bitter and unhappy.
Where does God’s healing enter into this? How can we turn that pain over to Him? How can we learn to forgive and move on? How can we heal our own pain and help our readers heal theirs, as well?
Write a personal experience piece that shares your painful past. Talk about what God taught you and how He brought healing. Interview counselors who can offer guidance to your readers on what they need to do to start the healing process. Write a devotion. Include Bible verses that talk about God’s healing power.
Bitterness often grows in painful memories. Write something to help your readers avoid becoming bitter. Or if they’re already there, help them turn their bitterness over to God. Only He can truly transform us.
Write a story that addresses healing the past. Show a bitter character transforming under God’s healing power. Use elements of your own struggle to give it authenticity.
For some people, the past is filled with painful memories. But, God redeems our past and helps us become the people He wants us to be. It’s our choice. His way or bitterness. You can help your readers choose.
© Deborah Christensen
In 2013, on this day, Pauline Phillips passed away. You know her better as Abigail Van Buren—Dear Abby. She was 94 years old. She wrote her column for more than 40 years. It was the most widely syndicated column.
Her twin sister, Esther Lederer also wrote a popular syndicated column under the name of Ann Landers. The competition came between the two sisters for many years. Esther passed away in 2002.
Their parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. They got married in a double ceremony in 1939. Esther began writing the Ann Landers column in 1955 and Pauline debuted Dear Abby in 1956.
Pauline chose the name Abigail for the woman in the Bible and Van Buren after the U.S. president. She liked his name. Her daughter, Jeanne, began writing the column with her in 1987. In 2002, Jeanne began writing the column exclusively.