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.

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