As we head into 2014, it’s time to set our writing goals. Since we focus on gleaning writing ideas from everyday life here at Plowing the Fields, we can set goals for finding writing ideas and then actually writing them.
So, what are some of these goals that we can set?
Look at Every Experience as Something Full of Writing Ideas
Life happens. Every day we learn new things, face new challenges, deal with new pain and experience new joy. We can choose to look at everything through the prism of writing.
What stories can we share with our readers? What takeaway value can we give our readers from our life experiences? What insights can we offer? How can we express our joy and pain through poetry? What writing ideas can we find?
Ideas come at the weirdest times. It’s so easy for a writing idea to pop into my head but by the time I find something to use to write it down, it’s gone. Does that happen to you?
The best way to capture those ideas is to be prepared. Use your smartphone or tablet to take notes. Carry a notebook with you. Use your camera to capture inspiring images. Do what works to you to hold onto those ideas.
Get a Writing Accountability Partner
Is that idea really a good idea? A writing accountability partner may be able to offer you an objective perspective or help you look at that idea in a new way. As you talk it over, your partner may help you flesh out that idea into a writable idea.
Your partner may also encourage you when your idea well runs dry. They can pray for you, be a sounding board and help you know when to let go of an idea.
Tackle New Frontiers
Maybe you’ve never written poetry before. Maybe you’re scared to write fiction. Maybe you don’t think you have any tips to offer your readers. How can you take your writing idea and write it in a new way? Take that first step into a writing genre that you’ve never tried before.
What new frontiers can you tackle?
PLEASE COMMENT: What are your writing idea goals? How can you use them in your writing?
© Deborah Christensen
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in your all day long.
Psalm 25:4-5, NIV (1984)
How does God show you His ways? How does He teach you His paths? How does He guide you in His truth and teach you? What has He taught you? How has it help you grow in your faith? How do you place your hope in Him all day long?
What has God taught you about marriage? What has God taught you about parenting? What has God taught you about relationships with others? About serving Him?
How can you use this verse in your writing?
What personal stories can you tell? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What insights and tips can you offer in a how-to article?
- How can you explain this verse in a devotion? What anecdote can you use?
- How can this verse inspire your poetry?
- How can you use this verse in fiction?
- Is there someone who lives out this verse or who has a story to tell? Can you interview them?
- How can you explain this verse to children through a story or article?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32, NIV
What does it mean to be kind and compassionate to one another? How do you treat others kindly and compassionately when you don’t feel kind or compassionate toward them? When was a time when someone else treated you with kindness and compassion? How did it affect you?
How do you forgive someone when they hurt you? When was a time when it was difficult to forgive? How did you learn to forgive anyway? How did unforgiveness hurt a relationship? How did forgiveness restore a relationship? What role does the forgiveness of Christ play in the way you forgive others?
How does this verse affect your marriage? How does this verse affect the way you parent? How does it impact your other relationships?
How can you use this verse in your writing?
- What stories can you share in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you offer your readers?
- What tips and insights can you offer in a how-to article?
- How can you use this verse as inspiration for poetry?
- How can you use this verse as the foundation for a devotion?
- Who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and do a personality profile on them?
- How can you use this verse in fiction? What conflicts or character flaws can you give your characters so they have to work through the issues of kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
- How can you teach children about this verse through stories and articles?
Exodus 20:17, NIV (1984)
We all know what it’s like to look at what our neighbor has and wish we had it, too. We may even think that it isn’t fair that someone has more than we do. Why do they deserve the nice things they have and we don’t?
Paul talked about being content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11). He also encouraged us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). These things may be difficult to do but when we don’t, we begin to covet what belongs to other people.
How can you encourage your readers to be content? How can you help your readers rejoice at someone else’s success?
Whether you write nonfiction, fiction or poetry, you can share insights on this topic. Share your story or someone else’s story. Share your struggles. Show readers how God helped you understand His care for you. Teach it to children through stories.
Coveting destroys relationships through jealousy and envy. Address these issues. Why are they so destructive? How do they creep in and destroy relationships?
How can you rebuild a relationship that’s been damaged by jealousy? Have you done it? Here’s another opportunity to share your story.
What tips can you offer your readers? Who can you interview on this topic? How can you teach children about jealousy? How can you address envy in a devotion?
All of us covet. We fail in this area. Look for ideas to share with your readers. Help them learn how to overcome a jealous streak. Remember God’s work in your heart and write about that. How did He change you? Help your readers use this commandment to honor Him and celebrate others.
© Deborah Christensen
Random Trails: Calendar Days—Holidays, Special Days and Downright Crazy Days in October | The Write Conversation
Here’s a list of holidays and other special days in October. Use this list to inspire your writing.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29, NIV
Have you ever struggled with using unwholesome talk? Have you struggled with taking the Lord’s name in vain or swearing? Have you struggled with gossip or complaining? How did God lead you through these struggles? How do you make sure that you speak encouraging words to others? How do you use your words to build them up instead of tear them down? How do you control your tongue?
How else can you apply this verse? How can you use it in your writing?
- How can you apply this verse to marriage?
- How can you apply this verse to parenting?
- How can you apply this verse to your relationships at work? To the way you serve with others at church?
- How can you apply this verse to the way you interact with unbelievers?
- What stories can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What insights and tips can you share with your readers in a how-to article?
- How can you use this verse as a theme for fiction?
- How does this verse inspire your poetry?
- What kind of devotion can you write based on this verse?
- Who lives out this verse? What kind of profile can you write on them?
- How can you explain this verse to children?
Whether it’s the deadly Colorado floods or the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, the last few days have been filled with stories of tragedy. Difficult times hit all of us.
PLEASE COMMENT: How can you as a writer offer hope to hurting people? In what writing genre do you offer that hope (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, devotions, writing for children)?
When you hear about such natural disasters, you can find ways to offer hope and comfort. Help people see the larger picture. Use your writing to encourage others to reach out to people in need.
The News Story
This is a news story. Contact your local newspaper to see if they want a story on the disaster. Do your research. Get quotes. If you’re close enough to the disaster, get photos.
Write about the disaster. Look at rescue/recovery efforts. Write about what churches and ministries are doing to help people in need. If people lost their lives, tell their story. Give the statistics a face. Help your readers see beyond the numbers.
Do it quickly before the story is gone. And remember, you need the who, what, where, when and how.
Where is God when everything is swept away in a flood? How can you turn despair into hope? How do you overcome fear? How do you deal with discouragement? How does God help you through grief?
You can write hope to people who face disaster. Help them see God’s love. Offer them comfort from His Word. Don’t give pat answers. Instead, show them that God’s care is real.
Tell your story or someone else’s story. Offer insights that you’ve learned along the way. Interview someone who’s faced trials and tell their story. Write poetry. Write a devotion. Help your readers see that God is bigger than the flood.
Teach Through the Disaster
Look for things you can teach. How does a flood begin? How powerful is the water? What is the history of floods?
This is an opportunity to write nature and history articles. Write for children, but think of adults, too. Many adult publications feature nature and history pieces.
You may even consider writing about the Great Flood and the archaeological evidence for it. Many ancient civilizations tell a flood story. Put it all in perspective of God’s Word.
When you discover a story like this, let it inspire your writing. Think of the story from all angles. Offer hope today. Then, think of the things you can write when the flood waters subside.
© Deborah Christensen
As summer winds down, here are some writing prompts to kick-start your writing:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1, NIV (1984)
This verse is particularly meaningful today as we remember 9/11. What does this verse mean to you? How is God your refuge and strength? How is He an ever-present help in trouble?
How does this verse inspire your nonfiction? How does this verse inspire your fiction? How does it inspire your poetry?
How can you use this verse to encourage people who are hurting? How can you use this verse to help people trust God?