A repost from a blog I had published on the ACFW blog in December 2014.

Recently, I spent some time reviewing the 123 posts from KK’s Candor, www.kkscandor.com, my personal blog. In this review I noticed that several topics or themes were repeated.  The change of seasons and holiday theme seemed to run with the calendar.  These calendar-cycle themes come too easy. It takes little effort to find emotions or symbols to write about at Christmas. The change of seasons is a given and birthdays scream “something’s changing again write about it!” As writers who are professionals or working toward that status, we need to set the standard a little higher.

It’s December, for the believer our hearts turn to the Immaculate Conception and birth of our savior. It’s a writer’s slam dunk to talk about the stable, the star, and the three wise men. Is there another way to address Christmas? Probably, but we are going to have to do some work to open our imaginations. I’m not suggesting changing Luke 2. My challenge to you is to take these borderline stereotypical topics, like Christmas, and turn them upside down or maybe we need to literally hang upside down and see what changes about our perspective.

What if Christmas was written from the gentile staying at the inn point of view? He wonders what all the commotion is with Joseph and his wife. Would the gentile ever know the prophecy of this man and his betrothed actually having to be in Bethlehem when their child was born? Perhaps a seasonal change written from the viewpoint of the tree losing its leaves not ready to spend the winter naked? Or what about an emotional crisis written from the outsider’s point of view; the empathic friend. What if the Easter story was written from the point of view of the Easter bunny who found resurrection eggs in the child’s basket?

Keeping blog content fresh can be a challenge.  Below are a few suggestions for keeping your content fresh:

  • Create a calendar cycle for your blog that includes regular posting days and themes for those days. For example, “manic Monday”, “visitor Wednesday”, “fresh thoughts for Thursday”, or something like that. These themes or headings can be periodic and don’t have to limit you each week. They are great for a jump start.
  • Invite another blogger to be a guest on your site. Do an interview or just let them write a piece for posting.
  • At holiday time, write it from a unique point of view.
  • Review a book or movie.
  • Write random words or themes on small pieces of paper and fold them. When you need something to write about, draw one of the pieces and whatever you draw is your topic for the day.
  • Have several posts drafted and ready to clean up for publication. Many bloggers have several posts scheduled for publication at specific times and days.

For what it’s worth, I’m preaching to myself in this piece. Looking forward to 2015, how will my writing continue to improve and the content on my blogs stay fresh?

A repost of a blog I had on the ACFW site in November 2014

It happens to the experienced and the inexperienced among us. It happens when we least expect it or have time for it. We desire to put words on a page to tell a story, share an emotion, or express some great truth. We have a list of topics and an outline. We want each syllable to be in rhythm and each word to be in the absolute perfect spot. We can hear the tone. But the words don’t come.

Writer’s block is as old an excuse for not writing as the written word itself. Picture the caveman with a chisel and stone ready to go and nothing. The oral stories told round the camp fire are all colliding in his mind, but no words are coming to be set in stone.

Writing prompts are available at our fingertips either through a favorite search engine (I’m a Google gal) or even through subscription. Personally, I like the writing prompts that cross my path in everyday life. Yesterday I was driving in an eclectic part of town and on the side of the road was a man wearing a panda head holding a sign that said “art for sale.” Next to him were a variety of paintings of cartoon characters. The whole scene screamed, “This is a story that needs to be told!”  There are plenty of other characters who cross our paths. I challenge you to go to a public place, a mall, a grocery, a park, a church and pick a person. Then just write their story.

With all of these platforms and potential characters available, why are we not bubbling over with manuscripts? Because before we can query, click submit or add to the post, we want it to be perfect. If it can’t be perfect then we don’t want to bother. We forget the magic word – draft. Our standards are high. As Christians wanting to use our God-given talent, we should strive for excellence. Allowing our fear of imperfection to paralyze our writing leaves no room for our great God to work through our words.

Even my attempt at drafting this post took me weeks to finally sit down to do because my audience completely intimidates me. So many of you are more accomplished in our craft. Many more of you have been published. In a very bold moment I replied to the email invitation to submit a post. I had to remember that we all have to start somewhere. We are building our craft. At any point in the writer’s journey, writer’s block can be a problem.

I don’t have a magic potion to cure your paralysis other than to encourage you to just sit down and start writing. Pick something and start writing. In your quest for perfection you’ll find your message. Better yet, you’ll find the message laid on your heart by the One who gave you talent.