In September 2017, InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship launches their new anthology (name TBA), a collection of Christmas stories, poems, plays, recipes, craft ideas, and more, with contributions by members all across Canada. As the new Press Coordinator for InScribe, I will be overseeing this project with a team of InScribe members who have graciously offered to volunteer their time to ensure that this project is a success.
But before we get to that, we need your contributions! Deadline is set for January 31, 2017, so time is short! To access all the submission guidelines, please click here.
The first requirement for a contributor is that he or she must be a member in good standing of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. Membership is currently restricted to Canadian citizens. If you are not currently a member of InScribe, affirm the Apostles’ Creed, and would like to submit a contribution to this anthology, you must become a member first. Please click here for further information.
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. This is absolutely the best time of the year to be inspired to write Christmas stories, meditations, recipes, and more. The challenge, of course, is that this is also the busiest time of year for many families. How is it possible to produce a piece of written work at this time of year?
First of all, it’s a given that busy family schedules at this time of year may prohibit us from finding large chunks of time to sit down and write a short story. BUT keep in mind that after Christmas, there WILL be some down time. Now is the perfect time, as we wait in anticipation for Christmas Day, to gather ideas for those stories, plays, devotions, and poems, inspired by the very event we are celebrating. I encourage you this holiday season to keep a notebook at hand to jot down your ideas—or record special moments that you might incorporate into a written piece—as a starting place. Let those ideas and thoughts ruminate over the holiday season until such time you can sit down and flesh them out.
In the spirit of not setting your writing aside entirely for the holiday season, an alternative or additional practice could be to commit to writing, say, 10 minutes a day. I have always loved sitting quietly by the glow of Christmas tree lights at the end of the day after everyone else has gone to bed, reflecting on the reason for the season and the highlights of that day. It is the perfect time to pick up a journal and write. Journaling daily may or may not lead to a publishable story, but it keeps you on track with working at your craft.
Keep up your Bible readings over the holidays to the best of your ability. The source of much of our inspiration as Christian writers is God’s Word. I encourage you to spend time reading the Word this holiday season and journaling what God speaks to you about what you have read. This could be the start of a written piece that will bless many others.
Christmas is a lovely time of year to observe the children in your life. There is nothing more precious than seeing the joy on children’s faces as they open a gift, watch animated Christmas lights, play in the snow, and feel the love of family around them. Do you remember what it was like to be a child at Christmas? Do you have Christmas memories that long to be told? Jot down these thoughts and moments before you forget them. You can flesh them out later.
Christmas can be a particularly rich time to experience life. I encourage you to spend time observing, reflecting on, and jotting down memorable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and feelings. These will enrich your stories down the road.
On the other hand, Christmas can be a difficult time for many people. Writing about the challenges of Christmas can be very relatable to many readers. Even better, a story about how you overcame said difficulties can help others have hope and healing.
Don’t forget that we are also accepting submissions about practical tips for Christmas. We are looking for ways that celebrate Advent that individual families or churches can adopt or modify to make their own. And now is the time to dig up that classic cookie recipe of your great aunt’s to share with a whole new generation of people. Finally, what unique craft have you made with your children that you are willing to share with families across Canada?
Here are some other ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Remember that you can incorporate your response to the prompts into either a fictional or non-fiction piece.
* What is your family’s most meaningful Christmas (or New Year’s) tradition?
* What was Christmas like for you growing up?
* What stories about Christmas have your parents/grandparents shared?
* What might it be like for refugees/immigrants experiencing their first Christmas?
* Christmas is the perfect backdrop for a holiday romance.
* Christmas on a budget.
* The story behind your favourite Christmas recipe.
* How hope was born through Christmas tragedy, as seen through a child’s eyes.
* An account of the birth of Jesus as seen through the eyes of a fictionalized character.
* Overcoming theological differences to join in celebrating the birth of Christ.
* What you and your family have done to bring joy to others less fortunate this holiday season.
* A devotion inspired by a Bible passage that foreshadowed or told the story of Jesus’s birth.
* A miraculous healing—physical, emotional, or spiritual—at Christmas.
* Our green Christmas.
* Scaling back on monetary gifts to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
Once you have written out your story/poem/, I encourage you to:
* Edit, edit, edit, before you submit!
* Enter the story as soon as you can; if there are similar stories of equal merit, preference may be given to the story submitted first.
And don’t forget that InScribe is also accepting black and white photographs as well as artwork to illustrate our lovely publication! I encourage you to snap away this holiday season, respecting that permission must be acquired in photos that use human subjects.