20 Writing Prompts to Keep You Out of the Summer Slump

20 Writing Prompts to Keep You Out of the Summer Slump

watermelon-in-summer

Summer is a busy time for most people. Traveling to see relatives. Vacations. Kids out of school! The days go quickly and often our writing takes a backseat to other pleasures.

Although the heat of summer days and lure of the great outdoors may interfere with our daily writing routine, there are ways to stay engaged and still make it fun. As a prevention to the summer slump, here is a list of suggested topics to keep you writing:

I know summer is here when…

The 5 Senses of Summer. Think about how you experience the summer months with your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Touch?

My favorite summer memory…

Imagine summer from a perspective of 200 years ago. What would you or your main character be doing, wearing, or eating?

My dream vacation would be…

Take some summer photos and put words to the pictures. This could be vacation pictures of just a jaunt through the local park.

I’ll never forget the summer when…

My ideal summer day takes place when…

What does the 4th of July mean to me? Take a trip down Memory Lane and reconnect with your patriotice roots.

My first summer job…the good and the bad.

Make one of your vacations the backdrop for a short story.

The ups and downs of summer camp…friends, counselors, food, and fun!

My favorite flavor of ice cream is…summer

How my schedule changes in the summer months.

My favorite backyard memory. What comes to mind when you think of growing up in your backyard?

Are you a hot weather or cold weather person? Which season do you prefer and why?

How I overcame the boredom of summer.

Capture your campfire memories…food, activities, songs.

My favorite things to do in and around the pool.

When summer ends I feel…

These 20 prompts should keep your writing flowing throughout the summer. Have fun reminiscing and putting words to those memories as you keep the summer slump at bay.

 

 

4 Great Blogs for Self-Published Writers

4 Great Blogs for Self-Published Writers

Self Publishing

Here is a shout out to all of you self-published writers! If you are just getting started or are already deep in the process, let me recommend four of my favorite blogs for self-published writers. These four writers/bloggers are experts in their field and have many resources to help any aspiring writer reach their goals and publish.

Joanna Penn at www.theCreativePenn.com 

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Joanna is a well-recognized name in the writing field. She lives in England and can offer an international perspective on publishing. Joanna’s site includes has over 1000 blog posts and 100 hours of audio information. She blogs on all aspects of writing. On her site, you will find podcasts, eBook and videos, resources, and even online courses. Click the START HERE button to begin exploring theCreativePenn.com.

 

Joanna’s books:
                 

 

Joel Friedlander at www.thebookdesigner.comjoelf

Joel’s background is in printing, typesetting, and traditional publishing. He has taken his extensive knowledge and applied it to the expanding self-publishing market. He has won consecutive awards from Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers.

Joel offers blogs, resources, and courses on the nuts and bolts of manufacturing a book. If you need help in book covers, design, formatting, typography, this is the site for you.

 

Joel’s books:
     

 

edie-melsonEdie Melson at www.thewriteconversation.com

Edie’s site is a plethora of information. She offers daily blog posts from various writer’s as well as her own words of wisdom. Her site merits awards from Feedspot and positivewriter.com. If you are seeking information as well as inspiration, thewriteconversation.com is the place to be. Edie also is a great resource for those following the traditional publishing path.

 

 

Edie’s Book:

Michael Hyatt at www.michaelhyatt.com michael_hyatt_0412

Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and very familiar with the world of publishing. Much of his advice is for traditional publishing, but he offers great wisdom and inspiration for any aspiring writer. If you are into technology, productivity, or even just general leadership growth, his website is your destination. With blog posts, audio/videos, downloadable PDF books, Hyatt’s website is an up-to-date resource.

 

Michael’s books:
     

These blogs are a great place to start if you are branching out into self-publishing. From the writing process to book design and marketing, they have it all.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Creative Ways to Honor Your Parents

10 Creative Ways to Honor Your Parents

Woody Allen once said, “I don’t think my parents liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib!”

While we all have a few harrowing experiences from our youth, most of us have fond memories of mom and dad. Parents teach us to smile, help us make wise choices, and endure all of the trying times that lead to adulthood.

A traditional celebration includes taking parents out for a meal, sending flowers, or purchasing a gift. As a mom who has celebrated many a Mother’s Day, I always appreciate the presents, but it is the heartfelt expressions that I remember most. What parent does not long to hear words of thanks or recall sweet memories of past times?

This year, in addition to the practical gifts we give, consider giving a creative expression of love. The following are a few inexpensive ways to remember your parents, but are nevertheless priceless in value. They are messages of love and appreciation for those who cared for us during our formative years.

1. Make an original card. Get the kids to contribute their artistic flair. Or purchase one of the recordable cards available at a local store. Record your voice telling mom or dad how much you appreciate them. It is a gift that will be played over and over.

2. Create an acrostic with the word M.O.T.H.E.R. or F.A.T.H.E.R. Use one word to describe each letter. If you create this on the computer, add photos, pictures, or graphics, and then print it out and place it in a Mother's Dayframe.

3. Write a “Thank You” letter to your parent. List the unique qualities that make them a good mother or father or write the traits your parent leaves as a legacy in the family.

4. Publish a memory book. Include pictures and memories from the special moments in his or her life. There are a number of companies that offer this service for a reasonable price…Walmart.com and Shutterfly.com are two options.

5. Compose a prayer thanking God for your parent. Then pray the words over them on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Frame a copy of the prayer so they can read it often.

6. Act it out! For those families that have a dramatic flair, pick significant times from mom or dad’s past and act them out. Craft a cheer. Act out a play or memorable scene from their life.

7. Sing a song especially for them. Write your original words to a known tune or compose a new song. Belt it out with gusto!

8. Make a movie or other presentation with photos from their life. Set it to their favorite song or have family members narrate each picture.

9. Present a bouquet of flowers, but with a unique twist. Bring the flowers one at a time. Let each family member tell mom or dad why they are special as they present the flower.

10. Create a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day coupon book. Include a coupon from different members of the family who promise to perform a certain task when asked.Super Mom

Finally, if you still need some creative inspiration, download a free copy of “10 Things I Want My Mom to Know” and “10 Things I Want My Dad to Know.” Each full-color printable has ten different questions with fill-in-the-blanks like “The best advice my Mom ever gave me…,” “The three words I would use to describe my Dad are…,” and “If my Mom had a superpower it would be…”

How important is the act of honoring our parents? God placed it in his top ten list. The fifth commandment states Honor your father and your mother. (Exodus 20:12) Let this holiday season inspire you to give back to those wonderful people who invested so much to you.

Writer’s Block? 7 Ways to Inspire Yourself

Writer’s Block? 7 Ways to Inspire Yourself

writers-block

We have all been there…writer’s block! It visits when you least expect it and remains an unwelcome guest. You may ask yourself…

What should I write about? I am out of ideas!

I have hit a dead end. Help!

Writer’s block is defined as the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing. When it hits, any writer can feel paralyzed. So, how do you overcome this debilitating mindset? Here are a few ways that have helped me out of the slump and back to the keyboard:writers-block-dog

  1. Pray. Ask for God’s intervention. He has always been faithful to give me fresh ideas whenever I need them…and that is quite often! I know I could not continue to write without his input and support. This is my first choice when I hit the
    proverbial wall.
  2. Immerse yourself in nature. God is once again at the heart of this suggestion. There is something about getting out of the home or office and enjoying his creation that perks you up. Birds twitter, leaves rustle, and even the silence of walking down mossy paths wraps you in a mysterious cocoon of peace. And once your mind and body come to rest, it is much easier to grapple with those elusive thoughts.
  3. Be creative. Writing is only one way to stimulate the creative side of the brain. Try another media like painting. Sew, draw, or even garden. Stimulating the creative center of the brain through any expression can jumpstart the creative process in writing.
  4. Take a break. Rest is good for the soul…and the mind. Embracing those times of rest and refreshing can do wonders for the busy mind. Allow your mind to relax and do something fun. Watch a favorite movie. BakeExercising for Writer's Block some cookies…the taste and smell comfort the soul.
  5. Call a friend. Chatting with a close friend bolsters the inner man. We are social people. It is how we were created. So, if writing has caused you to isolate yourself, take some time to reconnect with those you care about. Build up your emotional tank and then return to the writing process.
  6. Get physical. Exercise stimulates all parts of the body…the physical, mental, and emotional sides of our being. Taking a prolonged walk may be the force to dislodge the block and get you flowing again.
  7. Go shopping. Alright, you may not agree with this, but it works for me. I am not a shopaholic, but I love a bargain! If I can catch a sale or find an elusive item on my “got-to-have-it” list, I am elated. It is an emotional charge and puts me back in a positive frame of mind. I am ready to tackle the word processor once again.

When writer’s block raises its ugly head, don’t panic. Take some time to regroup in one of the ways above. Your creative juices will flow once again!

How Productive Are You? Take the Test!

How Productive Are You? Take the Test!

Workspace and Productivity

We all want to be productive. Yet, how often do our priorities get realigned or dropped because something else vies for attention? We focus on the immediate crisis instead of our long-term goals. I’m GUILTY!

How productive are you?

If you want an assessment, Michael Hyatt has developed a quick test that gives you a productivity score. With only nine questions, this survey provides an accurate diagnostic of your personal productivity output.

Hyatt’s Free to Focus Personal Productivity Assessment reveals:

  • 9 key categories of personal productivity and where you’re currently succeeding or struggling.
  • The present reality about your tasks, schedule, workload, and personal margin.
  • The specific areas you can optimize your efforts for success.

The Free to Focus Personal Productivity Assessment is free. It’s available online and mobile friendly so you can take it on any device. And you can complete it in a few minutes.

Best of all, when you’re done you’ll get a productivity score and score-specific report. You’ll also receive actionable tips and tricks to increase your score and become more productive.

Once you get clear on the next steps, you’ll be able to chart your improvement by comparing your scores and achieving a new personal best.

Identifying your current location is the key to getting where you want to go. The Free to Focus Personal Productivity Assessment locates your point of departure and offers suggestions to improve.

Discover your personal productivity and move forward with confidence!

Rewrite and Repurpose Your Message for Maximum Impact

Rewrite and Repurpose Your Message for Maximum Impact

Repurpose
How can your message get the greatest exposure? Once published, your idea will reach its designated target audience and accomplish its original purpose. But why stop there?

Rewrite and repurpose your content for maximum impact!

Consider taking those ideas and expanding their influence. By simply doing a little rework, editing, and research, your one original idea will find many forms of expression and hit a greater market.

Rewriting Your Content

Rewriting is the process of changing your original piece to meet the needs and specific requirements of a different audience. If you began by targeting a particular group of readers, look for other places to reinvent your material. The rework might be a blog post, magazine article, or devotion. It could also mean a complete change in the age or gender of the reader.

You can also broaden the exposure of your message by changing its length. Make it longer by adding more points, examples, references, links, and include contemporary stories. Or you may need to shorten the writing to meet specific publishing standards.

When you are considering what to rewrite, look for “evergreen” content. What have you written that has a timeless or universal appeal? Where have you received positive feedback? Take your best ideas and recreate them. Here are some suggestions for Magazine rewriterewriting:

  • Guest blog
  • Devotion
  • Magazine article
  • Newspaper editorial or article
  • Newsletters…church, denomination, ministry, or personal
  • Write a series or spin-off of the original piece
  • Makeover an old piece by adding fresh points, graphics, a new emphasis, and headline
  • Expand your original piece to a chapter or use it as an outline for a book.

For some more information on writing for traditional publication, check out these posts:

The Christian Writer’s Market Guide: A Roadmap to Publishing

Devotions: How to Get Published

Devotions: Short, Sweet, and Powerful

Re-Purposing Your Content

In addition to rewriting the content, you can also re-purpose it. Take your original idea, rework it, and present it in a different form. For example, a blog post may become a graphic, social media post, or part of an email.

Why should you re-purpose your content?

There are several advantages. The main reason is to reach a totally different audience. By changing the language and presentation, you will appeal to the needs of a new group of readers or listeners. Re-purposing also reinforces a message. It presents ideas in a new format. While some are readers, others are visual or auditory learners. Re-purposing boosts your public exposure.

The following are suggestions for popular ways to re-purpose your content:

  • Create a presentation on PowerPoint, Evernote, or other softwareInforgraphic
  • Post social media updates
  • Email the content as one/multiple segments
  • Record a podcast
  • Record a video
  • Offer a webinar
  • Create a checklist
  • Send out a survey
  • Build an infographic (check out canva.com)

Let me leave with you is this…don’t stop once the original idea is complete and published. Rewriting for different audiences as well as re-purposing your material are excellent ways to maximize the impact of your message. Take advantage of the many forms and media outlets that are available today!

 

 

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