Monthly Archives: June 2016

Plowing Together: In the News – Please Comment

The news has been popping over the last several days: Brexit, Orlando terror attack, Benghazi report. How do you use the news to inspire your writing? How do you allow news reports to inspire you beyond the actual news stories?

Please comment. You may inspire someone else.

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Gold in the Theme Lists

yellow irisSometimes, I get stuck. I stare at the blank computer screen and I don’t know what to write. What does a particular publication want? What do they need?

But, I’ve discovered a goldmine. Many publications produce theme lists with deadlines. A lot of these publications are Sunday school take-home papers or devotional publications. They often tell you what Bible verses they want you to focus on. Some even provide guidance on the direction they want you to take.

Even if a publication doesn’t produce an actual theme list, they may follow an editorial calendar. Or, you may notice that they consistently do topics. For example, a publication may run a “Back to School” issue every summer. Almost all publications do a Christmas issue.

When you read a theme, think of stories from your life that you can tell. If the theme is lying, can you offer an appropriate story with powerful take-away value? What tips and advice can you offer? How can you write about it in a poem – if the publication accepts poetry?

A theme list may even provide inspiration for your writing outside of the publication. Think bigger than just that one outlet. Take the “lying” example. What does it inspire for your fiction? What nonfiction can you write for other publications, inspired by this theme?

Pay attention to theme lists and consistent topics. These can inspire your writing. It doesn’t guarantee publication but it helps you target the publication and give them what they need.

© Deborah Christensen

Friday Fun Facts: The Real-Life Detective

Dashiell Hammett wrote some of the best-known detective novels, including The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. At 20, he became a detective with the Pinkerton Agency. His first case involved tracking down a Ferris wheel that had been stolen. He left Pinkerton to enlist in the Army during World War I. While in the Army, he contracted tuberculosis. It meant he couldn’t continue as a detective when he left the Army. However, he used his experiences with Pinkerton to inspire short detective stories. And, his writing career began.

Seeds of Truth: Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3, NIV (1984)

How do you commit the things in your life to the Lord? How does that affect your decisions? How do you know if the Lord is leading you in a certain direction? What do you do if you don’t want to follow His leading? How do you repent from refusing to follow His leading? What does a committed life look like?

How Can You Use This Verse in Your Writing?

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on them?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, relationships, school, career, work, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, health issues, anxiety, finances, prayer, etc.?

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The Guiding Presence of Dads

dadMy dad is 86 years old. He was born on the day the Stock Market crashed in 1929. My grandparents lost everything and gained a son on the same day.

Last Sunday was Father’s Day. We attempted to go to his favorite restaurant but there was almost a two-hour wait. So, we went to another local restaurant. It was just fun to spend the day with my parents. My dad has slowed down. He walks with a walking stick. But, I’m blessed that he’s still with us.

What Does Father’s Day Mean to You?

Father’s Day means different things to different people. Some people feel blessed by the relationship they have with their dad. Others fight the painful memories. Still others don’t even know who their dad is.

What does Father’s Day mean to you? How can you share your story about your relationship with your dad? What has that relationship taught you? What takeaway value can you give your readers?

What tips or advice can you offer to your readers about building a healthy relationship with their dad? How can you help others forgive their father? How can you help them celebrate their dad?

How can you help children of abusive fathers find godly father figures for their life? How can you help them heal? How can you help bad fathers repent of their sin and become the dads God intended them to be?

Helping Dads Be Better Dads

You may know some news dads. Some of your readers may be new dads. What can you write to encourage them on their dad journey? How can you prepare them while their wife is pregnant? What do dads need to know about every stage in their children’s lives?

How can they make decisions with their wife about discipline? Schooling? How can they choose the appropriate technology for their children: computers, tablets, smartphones? What do they need to know about the most current social media? How can they protect their children from the predators that prowl social media?

How can a dad help his daughters become true women of God? How can he help his sons become true men of God?

How can dads teach their kids about God? Work? Family? Finances? Love? Choosing the right spouse? School? Making decisions? Finding God’s will? Forgiveness? Serving others? Patriotism? Marriage? Prayer?

The Spiritual Side of Dad

What does the Bible say about dads? What guidance does it offer to fathers? How can a dad depend on God to help he be the dad God wants him to be? How can he pass on his love for God to his children? How can he create a godly home? What is his role in the spiritual life of his children?

The Love of Single Dads

Through divorce or death, some dads become single dads. What is their role in the lives of their children? How can they build quality relationships with their children? How can they prevent custody battles from destroying that relationship?

What happens when remarriages, step-children and children with the new spouse come into the picture? How can a single dad maintain strong relationships with his children?

 

Dads are essential in the lives of their children. They love and guide their children. As writers, we can write personal experience and how-to pieces to help them. We can write devotions to help them on their spiritual journey. We can write poetry to celebrate them and include godly father-characters in our fiction. Interview inspiring dads and tell their story. Think back to your favorite Father’s Day memories and write about them – even if they took place just a few days ago.

© Deborah Christensen

Friday Fun Facts: All the President’s Men

On this day in 1972, five men were caught after they broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel. They were trying to bug the offices. Two young reporters at the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, received the assignment to handle this “minor” story by their editor, Ben Bradlee. The minor story turned into one of the biggest scandals in history and brought down a president. They wrote the bestselling book All the President’s Men, which was published in 1974. It detailed their hunt for the truth.

Random Trails: 24 Places That Will Inspire You to Write! | WritersLife.org

I hope this list gives you something to think about and inspires your writing.

Source: 24 Places That Will Inspire You to Write!

Patience – Right Now!

hibiscusWhen my nephew, who is now an adult with kids of his own, was a little boy, he got excited during a family party. He started jumping and spinning for joy. I don’t remember what got him so excited, I just remember his childlike enthusiasm.

He accidentally bumped into another family member, who got angry. He lost his patience and started yelling at my nephew. Of course, the rest of us jumped in to defuse the situation but I will never forget it.

Patience vs. Temper

Patience is the next fruit of the Spirit that we will discuss. We all know someone who has a hair-trigger temper. We may even be the one. But if we belong to the Lord, He works in our life and forms His character in us, including patience.

How does it feel when you’re about to lose your temper? What triggers your temper? How do you control your temper?

How do you develop patience? What verses help you? How does patience look different from losing your temper?

Patience in Waiting

We need patience as we wait for God to answer our prayers or change our circumstances. If you’re single, you may be waiting to meet the person you will marry. How do you know when you’ve met the right person? What do you do if that person never comes? How do you remain patient and wait for God’s timing?

If you’re married, you may be waiting for your family to begin. How do you deal with infertility? When is it time to begin looking at other options, such as adoption or foster care?

If you’re unemployed, you may struggle with finding a new job. How do you develop enough patience to trust God in your search? How do you know if you’re truly following God’s will or taking the search into your own hands?

Patience in Relationships

Relationships can get messy. We lose patience in our marriage, with our children, and with family and friends.

How do you develop patience with your spouse? How can you extend grace to your spouse? Do you honor who God made your spouse to be or are you trying to change them?

How do you develop patience with your children? When should you allow your children to express themselves? When is it time to rein them in? How do you enjoy your children instead of losing patience with them?

If you’re single, how do you refrain from pushing a relationship to the next level in your own timing? How do you allow a relationship to develop naturally? Do you overlook red flags in your quest to get married?

How do you respect your friends and other family members? How do you love them in patience instead of treating them disrespectfully?

 

We all need patience. Use it to inspire your writing. Write a how-to piece and offer insights on how to develop patience. Write your own story in a personal experience piece. Write a devotion or a poem. Use patience as a theme in your fiction. Write something that will help children understand patience. Interview someone who exemplifies patience and write a personal profile on them.

Developing patience is a lifelong struggle. We can walk beside our readers as we develop patience together.

© Deborah Christensen

Random Trails: Fiction Writing Exercises for Stimulating Creativity | Writing Forward

Try these to inspire you:

Fiction Writing Exercises for Stimulating Creativity.

Seeds of Truth: Proverbs 3:6

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:6, NLT

What does this verse mean to you? How do you seek God’s will in all you do? How does He show you which path to take? How do you discern God’s will? What role does the counsel of wise people play in your decisions? What role does the Bible play in your decisions? How do you ensure that your decisions are based on God’s Word and biblical principles? What do you do when your feelings get in the way of making a godly choice?

How can you use this verse in your writing:

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What take-away value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on the?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, relationships, school, career, work, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, impatience, anxiety, finances, prayer, etc.?

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