I’m joining with the online discussion group that Kate Motaung is hosting on her blog Heading Home, based on the book On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Krocker & Charity Singleton Craig. The third chapter is about surrounding ourselves with people, places, books, activities, etc. that will generate ideas and give inspiration for our writing.
Writing at least one blog post weekly is a goal I set for myself several months ago, but writing isn’t the most important part of my life. My primary goal is to be “living proof of a loving God to a watching world,” in both how I live and through my writing. I’ve adapted this purpose statement of our church as my own purpose statement. And to be ready to reflect God’s love in all I do, I need to spend time daily in God’s presence, reading and meditating on His Word, praying, and surrendering afresh to His purposes. Once I do this, my heart is ready to begin writing – or whatever plan I have for the day.
My daily life provides me with more than enough ideas and inspiration for my writing. The first article I wrote for publication was instruction on record keeping for a child with a complicated medical history. As the mother of a special-needs son myself, I’d found remembering and explaining all of David’s diagnoses to new doctors or others who worked with him was very difficult. So I put together a notebook with a list of all of his diagnoses and explaining wht the medical terms meant, a history of hospitalizations and surgeries, a contact list of all those involved in his care, and such things as a daily schedules of activities and meds. Doctors who cared for David encouraged me to teach a class for other parents about record keeping, but my schedule really didn’t allow for that. So I wrote an article about my method of record-keeping, and submitted it to the largest national magazine for the parents of children with special-needs. I didn’t even know at the time that most magazine want query letters and not finished articles, but my article filled a need and I had my first published article.
I went through a period several months ago that the question “What should I write about?” usually left me starring at a blank screen. At the same time, I sensed God speaking to my heart that I was getting side-tracked from His purpose for my life. He put on my heart to start moving forward in my writing by doing one blog post per week. I was already reading Tuesday at Ten posts on Facebook, and I decided it was time to use them. Doing so has been a big help to me in developing the discipline of writing every week. My writing often reflects my other calling to teach God’s Word, so my posts aren’t a carbon copy of most blogs I read. But my goal now is to develop the habit for writing regularly, and using writing prompts has been a big help in doing this.
As the Mom of a now adult special-needs son, the wife of a Christian video and movie producer, the bookkeeper and editor for our home-based business, and a woman with a long list of chronic illnesses, I am constantly doing research to help me deal with the heavy load I carry. Often this research turns into a self-generated writing prompt. Even when using writing prompts from another source, most of my writing reflects the things I walk through on a daily basis.
My illnesses limit the people and places I’m exposed to, since I don’t drive and I need a wheelchair or walker to get around. So my relationship with God and the many aspects of my daily life are the biggest generators of ideas for my writing. My dual goals in writing are to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to share things that have helped me cope with the daily responsibilities and health isses I face. I’m very grateful that God has surrounded me by people who encourage me to believe in the dreams that I believe come from God. From my husband who constantly encourages me to keep writing and who always reads my posts before I publish them and helps me catch little errors I hadn’t noticed, to friends from church who read and comment on my posts and offen repost them so their Facebook friends can read them, I’m surrounded by people who encourage and inspire me to keep writing.