As a Toastmaster, one of the frequent questions asked by those I mentored was, “What should I write a speech about? How do I choose a topic?”
Topics for speeches, like ideas to write about, are all around us in everyday life. Yet often we don’t feel inspired or with so many ideas floating around, we become overwhelmed. At other times inspiration for writing and creativity seems illusive. We search for it, get a glimpse but then trying to hang on to the ideas seems to be like trying to hold on to a vapour. It slips out of our mind. How can we find inspiration in everyday life?
In April’s blog posts we will look at where to find those ideas and what to do with them. Hopefully this will spark even more thoughts about where to find and how to hang on to the ideas we find all around us.
First, we need to pay close attention to the world all around and its inhabitants. People watch. Be on the look out for animals as you drive or walk. Look at the differences in modes of transportation or types of work people are engaged in.
Second, as we spend time reading the Bible, verses will remind us of something in everyday life. This might be the basis of a devotional. The more we memorize or remember verses and stories in the Bible, we will look at life differently or things in the light of something in the Bible. For example, one day on a walk I noticed this small tree shaded by two taller ones. The little tree had grown in an almost vertical position as it sought the light. I snapped a photo to remind myself of how this tree still grew even in its almost prone position. It made me think about how we should be reaching towards Jesus, the Son, for our nourishment. Later I wrote a devotional about it.
Third, record these ideas for future reference. Jot yourself notes, snap a photo, record your thoughts if you don’t have paper and pencil handy. Our smartphones have this option. Choose what works for you in different situations and then create a place to store them which you can find and access. They won’t be useful if they get lost in the stacks of paper. As I sorted through some of my bits and pieces of paper, I discovered some interesting possibilities to write about which I had long forgotten about.
Another idea would be to take some time to reflect on lessons learned, memories, and vacations or other adventures you’ve had. Is there a family story that needs to be shared beyond the family? Could you use memories of vacations and photos of the places as settings for a story or book? Could you write a travel journal or blog post about that area? The lessons we’ve learned in our lives could form the background story for a devotional or one of your characters in a story might need to work through things and discover that lesson too.
These are only a few ideas of inspiration for our writing from everyday life. When creativity threatens to illude us or we wait for inspiration to strike, we can think of ways we’ve gathered ideas in the past, sort through stored photos looking for ideas, or search files for bits and pieces that might inspire us. Spend time in God’s Word and let the verses, passages, and stories hide in our hearts and fill our minds with how everyday life and Scriptures connect.
Then we need to write in our journals, devotionals, stories, articles, poems, or anything as long as we are writing until creativity flows once again. As followers of Jesus and writers who desire to use the gifts God gave us, we shouldn’t be surprised to find ideas in our everyday lives for God’s fingerprints are everywhere.