Friday, August 31, 2012

The Last Breath of Summer

The last weekend of the summer is upon us. It has been very hot for many of us, but, since the temperatures have been a little cooler, I am doing one of my fav things.  Just before the sun disappears around the corner of our condo building, I take a book or magazine to read onto our balcony.  Eventually my eyes get heavy and my head falls back on the chair where I sit. I love dozing in and out of sleep; it kind of makes my concerns melt away.

So, enjoy the last weekend of summer, but don’t forget to make a few plans for the Fall season. September has always been somewhat of a beginning for me, probably from all the years of attending school. I remember getting all the new pencils and notebooks and it seemed like a new start. I still like getting away from the computer and writing with pencil on paper.

Later this Fall I’m thinking of attending a writer’s conference (Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference) to meet some new writers and catch up with others. I know I will learn something new and hopefully be inspired to increase my writing productivity after a summer of health challenges.

How about you? What plans do you have for your writing, after a hot summer?


Friday, August 17, 2012

A Guest Post Full of Ideas

I welcome writer, editor, and my good friend, Deborah Christensen to my blog. A bit of trivia: In addition to being a writer, Deborah is a pretty good photographer and we met, over twenty years ago, when I bought her first photograph to be used in the magazine where I worked. Since that time she has taught me a lot about writing and publishing.

The Ideas All Around You

One weekend when my niece and two nephews were small, I babysat them. My oldest nephew, Chris, decided to make breakfast for us. It made me nervous because he was only 7 years old. However, he wanted to do it and everything turned out fine. But, it taught me a lesson in servanthood. Out of that experience came an article entitled “The Breakfast Table.” It has been reprinted several times.
What does a weekend of babysitting, a quiet time, an online newspaper, a wedding, Mother’s Day and the Olympics have in common? They all offer potential writing ideas.

The easiest place to find inspiration is from our quiet time. What is God teaching you? How can you apply it to your life? How can you share these insights with your readers?

When you read the newspaper, save stories that inspire you. Maybe you will get an idea for someone to interview. Wildfires may inspire an article about fire prevention or unemployment figures may inspire you to write something about how to look for a job. Read with an open mind. Ask yourself what you can write about the issues you find.

When you attend an event, like a wedding, look for unique ideas you can share with your readers. Can you write something about how to plan a wedding or choose a wedding dress? Think beyond the event. What can you share about marriage? What advice can you give to someone just beginning this journey? What can you share with a couple whose journey is faltering?

Family celebrations, such as Mother’s Day, can get you thinking about relationships. And, events like the Olympics can inspire ideas about courage and perseverance.

When you begin your day, ask God to help you see the writing potential in every experience He gives you. Keep a notebook, recorder or smartphone Notes app with you at all times. When an idea hits you, write it down. Don’t lose it.

Look at all facets of that idea. If you allow your mind to wander around the idea, you may discover unique ways to approach it. A thunderstorm may get you thinking about ways to explain clouds in a children’s article. A visit to the vet may provide inspiration on how to deal with pet health issues.

Think of all the ways you can use that idea. It might be a personal experience piece, a how-to article or a meditation/devotional. How can you use that idea in fiction? Is it the foundation for the story or is it just a scene? Do you write poetry? What about children’s stories?

Ideas are all around you. Keep your mind open and think about all the possibilities.

© Deborah Christensen


Deborah Christensen is the writer/editor for Lighthouse Christian Products Co. She also mentors students for the Christian Writer’s Guild and has been a freelance writer since 1989. She writes a blog that inspires writers to find ideas in everyday life: You can find her on Facebook at Plowing the Fields and Twitter: @dcplowingfields.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

True Inspiration

It has been a weary Summer for me with health challenges and the heat. But this week I am attending one of my “don’t miss” events, right up there with my writer’s conferences. I’m talking about the Global Leadership Summit at my church, Willow Creek. 

The Summit features speakers who inspire you and opens your eyes to ways God can use you to influence your world.  I am ready to be built into. It will exhaust me in a good way and hopefully pick me up to remember I can do things through God’s help.

Don’t miss reading next week’s guest post by my good friend and fellow writer, Debbie Christensen. Debbie is an idea machine for writing topics and she will guide you through her process. As for me, next week my home is being invaded by an eight-year-old and then I will know the true meaning of exhaustion.

Friday, August 3, 2012

If You Write for Tweens or Teens, THANK YOU!

I work at a library and one of the things I get to do is unpack the boxes of new books that will eventually fill the library’s shelves.

I enjoy seeing the new books. I am especially happy when I know, or know of, some of the authors, and also know they are writing from a Christian worldview, whether fiction or nonfiction.

But, my heart breaks when I unpack book after book of a dark or questionable topic for tweens and teens. Where are the Christian writers of tween/teen books? There don’t seem to be many out there. I have been looking for books to interest kids in this age group which are also written by Christian writers and have had a difficult time finding very many.

There are many books for this age group, and that means they are reading and that is good. This period of time in their life is brief, but it is a very important time, and the words they read can leave a deep impression. We need relevant, well written books that will grasp their attention and deal with the issues they are facing and also let them know that there is a God who is anxious to lead and guide them.

If you are out there and know how to write for tweens and teens, PLEASE DO SO, a generation needs you to guide them into values that will grow them up to be godly men and women.

I know there are things out there in print that are not produced by the Christian market that are decent reads. But, what are they? Let us, who do not have children, but have influence on children, know what titles to suggest.

Children will read what their peers read. And when we see what they are reading, let’s not condemn first, but read it ourselves. And then we shouldn’t be afraid to give them an alternative.

Hey, writers, parents of young people, librarians, how can we help to mold these young people we have influence over? Do you have suggestions for good reads for tweens and teens?