Make Time to Write

ideaUnless you write for a living, you may wonder how on earth you will ever find the time to write. And even if you earn an income from one type of writing, you may want to venture into another style or genre.

The truth is you will never find the time, but you can make it.

Here are 10 ways to do just that:

  1. Set your alarm back a half hour and use that time to write. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by all the other things calling your name even before you get out of bed.
  2. Instead of watching TV after the children are settled in for the night, sit down with a pen and paper or in front of your computer and write for an hour.
  3. Keep a notebook by your bed. If a wonderful idea strikes you as you’re nodding off or when you first awaken, write it down. You may think you’ll remember it, but you may not.
  4. Keep another notebook with you at all times. A snippet of conversation, an observation, even a fleeting thought can serve as inspiration for your writing. (I’ve had a character’s name rattling around in my head for the longest time.)
  5. Back to the idea of conversation . . . You may want to keep a separate notebook for quotes you come across that grab your attention. (Years ago, I bought my son a pair of army boots. They really were too big, but he wanted them and this mama wanted to make him happy. At church the following Sunday, one of our older friends asked, “Hey, Boots, where are you taking that boy?” I’ve never forgotten the quote, though until recently, I didn’t know how I would use the question as inspiration for my writing.)
  6. Instead of surfing the Net, texting, or reading one of the many e-books on your phone (if you’re anything like me), use those found minutes to jot down ideas in your notebook . . . or on your phone. You may even want to write a line or two for that story that’s beginning to take shape. Those moments will add up—and so will the ideas.
  7. If you’re stuck, why not search YouTube for instrumental music that doesn’t bring lyrics to mind? Use it to fuel your writing.
  8. Grab your camera—or your smartphone—and go for a walk. Snap lots of pictures. Some of them may serve as inspiration for future writing projects.
  9. Are you interested in writing for children? Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) is simply amazing. Each day of November, you can read posts by professionals in the industry. And your only commitment? To come up with 30 ideas for picture books during the month. Plus, you’ll have several chances to win amazing prizes.
  10. Sign up for October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo)—even if you’re not a poet. It’s a wonderful way to make yourself write 31 poems in 31 days.

How do you make yourself write?


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by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist 
 

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

Keep Writing for the King

Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”

And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.
Genesis 29:16-20 NKJV

Have you ever felt like the unwanted on or the unattractive one? Leah did. By birth, she was Rachel’s older sister, and by her father’s trickery and deceit, she was Jacob’s first wife. Can you imagine what she must have felt like when Jacob looked at her and realized she wasn’t Rachel, the one he was deeply in love with and had worked seven years for? I’m sure the rejection she felt stung to the bone.

God loved Leah and had a plan and destiny for her life. She bore Jacob six sons and one daughter. Levi was one of the boys born to Leah and Jacob. The priestly tribe came from this lineage. Judah was another son born to Leah and Jacob. King David came from the lineage of Judah—and so did Jesus Christ.

cropped-write5.jpgYour Father has a plan for you, too. You might feel others can write better and are having more success in their writing endeavors than you. Stay faithful. Keep writing. Don’t compare yourself with someone else. Be authentic. Be transparent. Be the one God created you to be. God has a destiny for you and your writing. You never know where He will send your stories. Keep writing for the King.


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by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 

The Power of the Written Word

The day before what would have been my maternal grandmother’s 100th birthday, I spotted an old letter crammed in the back of a dresser drawer.

Senior writes a testament“Wow! This letter is over 30 years old,” I gasped when I saw the postmark. “And it’s from Grandma!”

I plucked the three-page letter from the tattered envelope and began reading. Immediately tears trickled down my cheeks.

                Dear little Dixie,
                I love you more than you’ll ever know . . . 

Discovering Grandma’s letter reminded me of the power of the written word, whether a simple note or professional manuscript. Our words have power to impact the reader and keep memories alive.

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking every time we write, it has to be something profound, but I’ve discovered more often God uses the everyday experiences of life to minister to others.

I want to share a piece I wrote about my paternal grandmother’s death. I never dreamed my “common” experience of losing a grandmother would resonate in the souls of so many, but it did, and I have had numerous requests for reprints.

Never underestimate “your” story. God may just use it to heal the brokenhearted and your words could touch a generation your eyes may never see. Keep writing.

_____________

Mable

The move from a spacious home to a small, one-bedroom apartment was devastating to Grandma Eleanor. Devastating, but necessary, because of a terminal inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis.

In her apartment complex, other women who were experiencing the same pain she was—terminal illness, limited income, loss of spouse to death or a nursing home—surrounded her. A remnant of these women formed a weekly Bible study. Grandma became a faithful member. This band of women became kindred spirits as they prayed for one another and comforted one another from God’s Word.

It became apparent by fall Grandma would not be with us much longer. Her spirit was strong, but her body grew weaker. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, she had to be hospitalized. The cancer had metastasized to her lungs and colon.

Word spread quickly among her little Bible study group that Eleanor was dying. Some had seen the ambulance take her away. Loving cards and concerned phone calls began pouring in.

Wednesday morning a knock came to her Hospice room.

“Mable, how did you get here?” Grandma asked.

“Took a cab, Eleanor. I just had to.” Mable tiptoed to Grandma’s bedside with a brown grocery sack in her arms. “It’s cold outside, but it was warm in the cab!”

“Oh Mable, you shouldn’t have come out in this bitter cold.”

“I had to, Eleanor! Christmas is coming. I wanted you to have your Christmas card and the gift I made for you! It’s all right here in my bag.” Mable rummaged through her grocery sack, pulled out a bright red envelope, and tore it open. “Let me read it to you.”

Mable cleared her throat and continued,

               “What can I give Him poor as I am?
                If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I’d do my part,
I know what I’ll give Him,
All of my heart!”

Tears glistened in Grandma’s eyes. “Thank you, Mable.”

“That’s not all, Eleanor. There’s more! Christmas is coming! I just wanted you to have your Christmas present a little early this year.” Mable pulled out a small package topped with a recycled bow.

Grandma was too weak to open her gift. Mable handed it to me. I gently tore the paper off the box and opened the lid. Peering back at me was a teddy bear holding a lacy parasol.

“Yep, it’s true, Eleanor! Christmas is coming, and I just had to give you your present a little early this year.” Mable reached for Grandma’s hand.

“Mable, thank you for being my friend this past year. You tell our little group good-bye for me. Thank them for all their prayers. Tell them I’ll be spending Christmas with Jesus this year.”

Tears trickled down Mable’s face and fell on her quivering lips.

“I love you, Eleanor!”

“And I love you!” Grandma replied.

Mable collapsed in my arms and wept.

After Mable left, I stood beside Grandma’s deathbed. I placed the little teddy bear on the table. I realized Grandma’s “home-going” would be soon. I looked at the teddy bear holding the lacy parasol and reread Mable’s Christmas card, “What can I give Him poor as I am?”

I realized that I had just witnessed these verses lived out before my eyes. A loving friend with meager means had given her very best. She even celebrated Christmas before Thanksgiving knowing my Grandmother wouldn’t live to see Christmas this side of heaven.

I closed my eyes and silently thanked God for giving me such a wonderful grandmother, and for giving my grandmother such a wonderful friend.

Grandma went home to be with Jesus two days after Mable’s visit. She did just what she said she would. She celebrated Christmas with Jesus!


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by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 

Fear of the Blank Page

Notebook and penThere you sit, pen in hand, a brand new notebook on the desk in front of you.

The page is so clean, so smooth, so pristine.

You take a deep breath and lift your hand.

But no . . .

What if you make a mistake? What if the ideas won’t come? What if they come but then branch off in a hundred different directions?

What if the spark inside you fizzles and dies as soon as you put pen to paper?

But . . .

What if it doesn’t?

What if that spark fuels a raging fire and the first blazing word is just the beginning of a sentence filled with warmth and light . . . a paragraph . . . an entire book?

You’ll never know until you face your fear.

Here are a half dozen ways to overcome:

  1. Copy your favorite writing-related quote on the first page of your notebook. When you need inspiration, consider it your secret weapon.
  2. Hand off the task of filling that first page. Allow your child to draw a picture or write a poem. Ask each member of your writers’ group to list their #1 writing goal. Find a picture in a magazine that stirs your imagination and stick it on the page. (Okay, so in this case you’ve actually done the work, but you didn’t have to think of anything profound to say. [grin])
  3. Open the closest book at random. Copy the first two-syllable word you see onto the top of the page. Use it as the spring board for a five-minute freewriting session. And now the page is full—and perhaps you’ve gained inspiration for Page 2 and beyond.
  4. Close your eyes and imagine yourself protecting a frightened child. Look all around. Take note of every sight, every sound, every smell. Now, open your eyes and write about it in great detail.
  5. Put on some music that gets your blood pumping and write—just write.

And if that first page is bad—really bad?

  1. Well, there’s always Page 2.

Have you ever experienced fear of the blank page? What did you do to overcome it?


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by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist 

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 


 

Give Poetry a Chance

poetry-in-garden-web11Each year I participate in OctPoWriMo (October Poetry Writing Month). Participants write 31 poems in 31 days.

The wonderful thing about poetry is that in a few words, one can paint a picture and share his or her heart.

This post is by no means a scholarly look at poetry, but below I have listed four different types of poems and given an example of each.

Even if just for yourself, why not jump off the precipice and give poetry writing a shot. Who knows? You may just find yourself soaring.

Story Poem

Choose a subject or an event that is especially important to you. Capture the highlights and write them as a poem. Create line breaks for emphasis. Don’t worry about punctuation; sometimes it’s best to leave it out altogether. See which you think works best.

Help Them Soar

When they’re wandering in the valley,

Walk with them.

When they’re struggling up the mountain path,

Let your presence strengthen them.

When they stumble,

Offer them your hand.

When their eyes fill with tears,

Let yours be the shoulder they cry on.

When they need a listening ear,

Remember you have two.

When they need a word of encouragement,

Make it sincere and succinct.

When they’re victorious,

Cheer the loudest.

If they’re standing on the precipice ready to soar,

Offer to tandem jump with them.

If they’re looking for God – and even if they’re not,

Point them heavenward.

Haiku

A haiku has three brief lines, the first and third have five syllables, the second has seven.

New Day

New day lies ahead

Opportunities abound

Time to jump right in

Cinquain

Poetry is about self-expression. (My favorite season is autumn, as you’ll realize from the poem below.) Many times, a few carefully chosen words can hold a great deal of meaning. There are five lines in a cinquain. The first and fifth lines have two syllables, the second four, the third six, and the fourth eight.

Autumn Leaves

Leaves fall

Are blown around

Begging to be played in

Fill the air with wond’rous fragrance

Autumn

Rhyming Poem

When writing this kind of poem, there is more to be considered than what pairs of rhyming words you will use. It’s also important to include a steady metre, something that is easy to read and flows well. The best way to determine if you’ve done so is to read the poem aloud. If you falter over a line or a certain section, you may want to spend more time on it.

A rhyming poem with a sing-song lilt has a more playful feel. It is a fun choice if you’re writing about lighthearted subject matter. You can write a serious rhyming poem, but take care that it does not come off as frivolous.

Flitting Thoughts

My mind does flit

From thing to thing

Tugged about

As on a string.

I must do this

I must do that

And then I stop

To chit and chat.

Oh, read this blog

No, over here

Laugh for joy

Shed a tear.

I should read

And I should write

Or clean the house

It’s such a sight!

Make a call

Or maybe two

It’s some of what

I have to do.

But what works best

I’ve always found

Is take a breath

And calm the sound.

The voices calling

In my head

Must keep silent

As I’ve said.

I will focus

On one task

And get it done

How? you ask.

I’ll make my list

From a to z (zed)

In this way

I’ll clear my head.

by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

Devotional Writing

Devotional LetterpressI’ve had many beginning writers ask me to give examples of some of the devotions I’ve written. So today’s blog will be dedicated to the subject of devotional writing.

When submitting a devotional piece, be sure to always follow submission guidelines! Most times the guidelines require a Scripture at the beginning of the devotional and a prayer at the end.

The Holy Spirit is always busy teaching us, so a lesson you learned in an everyday situation can soon become your next devotional. Here is one of my pieces. I hope it ministers to someone today.

 Sins of the Spirit

The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.
Luke 15:28 NLT

 Lord, today I was hurt and angry. When the one who hurt me extended friendship, I responded coolly. I felt justified. After what she blurted out, I had a right to treat her that way. After all Your Word does teach the principle of “sowing and reaping.” She will reap what she’s sown with her unkind words! Right?

And You know, Lord, Your Word warns us about pride. She just oozes with her uppity ways. I haven’t done anything to deserve her cruel comments. In the long run, distancing myself will teach her a valuable lesson! Her behavior is unacceptable. I refuse to reward such dysfunction. After all, her attitude doesn’t bring honor to You. I certainly don’t want to enable her. I’ve settled it once and for all. I am right. No doubt about it. There is no need in discussing it further. I am positively . . . positively . . . positively miserable! Why am I in such unrest, Lord? How is it possible that I can I be right and yet be so wrong?

In the depths of my soul, I discern “I” am part of the problem. I open my Bible and read:

The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.
Luke 15:28 NLT

 The Holy Spirit gives me a much needed diagnosis: “You are suffering from sins of the spirit.”

This is a spiritual malady that can render me powerless to love my friend. Many times manifestations can be masked and difficult to detect, but only for a short time. Eventually, everyone will notice my loveless heart. If I’m not given a biblical antidote of love and humility, the disease can spread to vital organs of my soul.

Have you ever been plagued with sins of the spirit?

Symptoms include

• Polite coolness when friendship is available

• Consumed with proving your point

• Touchiness, sensitivity

• Needing to persuade others to embrace your point of view

• Loving your opinions more than you love people

Forgive me, Lord. I’ll right my wrong. Life is too short for me to nurse this grudge. Help me not to be like the older brother and refuse a relationship. Help me respond in a way that brings glory and honor to You.


by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

 

Moses Was a Basket Case

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile.”
Exodus 1:22 NIV

mosesI love the biblical account of an infant boy named Moses. Satan conjured up a plan to kill him, but God was watching over the little guy. Jehovah gave Moses’ mother a creative plan to save her baby’s life. She built a basket made out of bulrushes and coated it with pitch.

When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she
could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Exodus 2:2-4 NIV

Even though Moses was a “basket case,” he grew into a mighty man of God and was handpicked by Jehovah to deliver the Israelites from the land of bondage.

My husband and I have been in fulltime ministry for more than 30 years. We have seen firsthand the enemy sabotage ministries in their infancy. We’ve stood in the gap with those God has called for a heavenly assignment and rejoiced with those who fulfill their divine destiny, but our hearts have broken when we watched others allow the wicked one to snuff out a brand new ministry God had called them to.

I would like to speak directly to those of you who sense the Lord is calling you to “birth” a new ministry, whether it is writing, singing, pastoring, or something else the Lord has laid on your heart.

  • Always ask God for wisdom as you begin this new chapter in your life.
  • Never lean on your own understanding. It doesn’t matter how smart and experienced you may think you are, in your natural fleshly nature you are no match for the devil.
  • Never be shocked by the enemy’s tactics. Remember his goal is to kill the newborn ministry.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have 
life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 NIV

Don’t let the enemy destroy what God is birthing in your life and ministry. Remember the story of Moses. May God use you to lead souls out of bondage.


by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing Services and Find Christian Links 

One Day at a Time

by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist

When I look around—and within—I realize it is a very human thing to look to the future.

When I sell my first article . . .

When I find a publisher for my book . . .

When I sign on with an agent . . .

When the workday is over . . .

When the weekend gets here . . .

When I finally get away on vacation . . .

Making plans isn’t wrong. Thinking ahead isn’t wrong. Looking to the future isn’t wrong.

But . . .

TodayWe are only assured of today.

Yesterday is gone. Hopefully we can learn from it and move forward, but it’s gone.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. If there’s one thing the uncertainty of personal struggles and global turmoil have shown us, it’s the truth of this statement.

I realize, so far, this post has been “a downer,” but that’s not my intention. When I was writing in my journal today, I posed a series of questions like this one: How can I keep my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith TODAY?

Let’s focus on today and go from there.

What writing project do you want to work on today?

Set a time to do so and keep the appointment.

What market for your work do you want to research today?

Even if you don’t have a market guide, there are countless resources online. Explore at least one of them today.

What small change will inspire you to write more today?

Make the change and move forward.

What “urgent” thing on your To Do list can you put off until tomorrow so you can be more productive as a writer today?

Scratch the item off your list and rewrite it on tomorrow’s.

What one thing you especially enjoy can you do today?

Don’t make excuses; just do it.

What one thing can you do to make the day special for someone else?

Include this on your schedule and do it. (Remember even the smallest kindness can make someone’s day.)

We mustn’t ignore the heartache and atrocities going on all around us, but sometimes we must take a step back. What can you do to distance yourself from the pain today—and thereby, be better able to take action in the future? (As a writer, don’t underestimate the power of writing to a government official, the editor at a major newspaper, or the readers of your blog. You never know who will read what you’ve written and change the world.)

Take a step back today. Take a deep breath. Determine what good you can do right this minute—and do it.


Please visit our websites: Christian Editing Services and Find Christian Links

The Power of the Written Word

by Dixie Phillips (http://www.christianeditingservices.com/dixie-phillips.html), CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Song Writer

Words have power on wooden words blocks.The day before what would have been my maternal grandmother’s 100th birthday, I spotted an old letter crammed in the back of a dresser drawer.

“Wow! This letter is over 30 years old,” I gasped when I saw the postmark. “And it’s from Grandma!”

I plucked the three-page letter from the tattered envelope and began reading. Immediately tears trickled down my cheeks.

                Dear little Dixie,
                I love you more than you’ll ever know . . . 

Discovering Grandma’s letter reminded me of the power of the written word, whether a simple note or professional manuscript. Our words have power to impact the reader and keep memories alive.

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking every time we write, it has to be something profound, but I’ve discovered more often God uses the everyday experiences of life to minister to others.

I want to share a piece I wrote about my paternal grandmother’s death. I never dreamed my “common” experience of losing a grandmother would resonate in the souls of so many, but it did, and I have had numerous requests for reprints.

Never underestimate “your” story. God may just use it to heal the brokenhearted and your words could touch a generation your eyes may never see. Keep writing.


Mable

The move from a spacious home to a small, one-bedroom apartment was devastating to Grandma Eleanor. Devastating, but necessary, because of a terminal inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis.

In her apartment complex, other women who were experiencing the same pain she was—terminal illness, limited income, loss of spouse to death or a nursing home—surrounded her. A remnant of these women formed a weekly Bible study. Grandma became a faithful member. This band of women became kindred spirits as they prayed for one another and comforted one another from God’s Word.

It became apparent by fall Grandma would not be with us much longer. Her spirit was strong, but her body grew weaker. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, she had to be hospitalized. The cancer had metastasized to her lungs and colon.

Word spread quickly among her little Bible study group that Eleanor was dying. Some had seen the ambulance take her away. Loving cards and concerned phone calls began pouring in.

Wednesday morning a knock came to her Hospice room.

“Mable, how did you get here?” Grandma asked.

“Took a cab, Eleanor. I just had to.” Mable tiptoed to Grandma’s bedside with a brown grocery sack in her arms. “It’s cold outside, but it was warm in the cab!”

“Oh, Mable, you shouldn’t have come out in this bitter cold.”

“I had to, Eleanor! Christmas is coming. I wanted you to have your Christmas card and the gift I made for you! It’s all right here in my bag.” Mable rummaged through her grocery sack, pulled out a bright red envelope, and tore it open. “Let me read it to you.”

Mable cleared her throat and continued,

“What can I give Him poor as I am?
 If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I’d do my part,
I know what I’ll give Him,
All of my heart!”
(“What Can I Give Him? by Christina Georgina Rossetti) 

Tears glistened in Grandma’s eyes. “Thank you, Mable.”

“That’s not all, Eleanor. There’s more! Christmas is coming! I just wanted you to have your Christmas present a little early this year.” Mable pulled out a small package topped with a recycled bow.

Grandma was too weak to open her gift. Mable handed it to me. I gently tore the paper off the box and opened the lid. Peering back at me was a teddy bear holding a lacy parasol.

“Yep, it’s true, Eleanor! Christmas is coming, and I just had to give you your present a little early this year.” Mable reached for Grandma’s hand.

“Mable, thank you for being my friend this past year. You tell our little group good-bye for me. Thank them for all their prayers. Tell them I’ll be spending Christmas with Jesus this year.”

Tears trickled down Mable’s face and fell on her quivering lips.

“I love you, Eleanor!”

“And I love you!” Grandma replied.

Mable collapsed in my arms and wept.

After Mable left, I stood beside Grandma’s deathbed. I placed the little teddy bear on the table. I realized Grandma’s “home-going” would be soon. I looked at the teddy bear holding the lacy parasol and reread Mable’s Christmas card, “What can I give Him poor as I am?”

I realized that I had just witnessed these verses lived out before my eyes. A loving friend with meager means had given her very best. She even celebrated Christmas before Thanksgiving knowing my Grandmother wouldn’t live to see Christmas this side of heaven.

I closed my eyes and silently thanked God for giving me such a wonderful grandmother, and for giving my grandmother such a wonderful friend.

Grandma went home to be with Jesus two days after Mable’s visit. She did just what she said she would. She celebrated Christmas with Jesus!


Please visit our websites: Christian Editing Services and Find Christian Links

9 Ideas to Gain Writing Inspiration While on Vacation

cruise-6Are you going away this summer?

My husband and I are heading out west for two weeks. And while we’re away, I’m sure to accumulate lots of inspiration for my writing.

My plans to do so might inspire you as well.

Take a book—or two or three.

I recently purchased the third book in Sandra Orchard’s Serena Jones Mystery series. It is a lighthearted mystery that I’m saving for the flight.

I will also be taking my Kindle, overflowing with unread and partially read volumes. I won’t be able to hike all the time. (grin)

Reading a variety of styles inspires our own writing. It appears the most successful writers are also voracious readers.

Keep your eyes open.

Inspiration surrounds us every day. However, most of us are too busy rushing from one thing to the next to the next. A vacation is the perfect opportunity to pay attention to those things that aren’t even on our radar the rest of the year.

Take photos.

While photos and videos make great mementos, they also serve as prompts for new writing projects. I intend to take both my camera and the camcorder I’m just learning to use.

People watch.

While our surroundings are bound to give us ideas for the location of future stories, people watching is sure to give us ideas for characters to populate those stories.

Eavesdrop.

I’m not talking about straining to hear a clearly private conversation. But taking note of snippets of overheard conversation can fuel our imagination and enrich our written dialogue.

Take a deep breath.

Studies show that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. Describing familiar scents in your writing gives you a closer link to your readers, something we all want.

Make note of the local cuisine.

Use it to flavor your writing. (Pun intended.)

Rejoice in setbacks.

Granted, most of us would prefer to live relatively conflict-free lives. However, conflict fuels story. With that in mind, try to view those inconveniences as fodder for your work.

Keep a notebook handy.

Of course, you may choose to use an app such as Evernote on your phone. Either way, don’t trust your memory to capture all those moments you don’t want to forget. Even a line or two can bring back the inspiration you felt.

These are only a handful of ideas. How do your travels inspire your writing?

 

Contributed by Stephanie Nickel, CES writer and editor