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Aspire to Inspire
by Susan Sundwall
One of the most rewarding, and challenging, types of writing is
often termed inspirational writing. Now, you may hope
that all of your writing inspires your reader in some way, but think
specifically of the short, concise work you can sell as devotionals
or greeting card verse. To be able to write these effectively, you
must first be inspired yourself, and do you ever wonder where that
comes from? Me too. But then I recall a time when I turned away
from my keyboard and looked out the window where red and gold leaves
were dancing to the tune of a gusty wind. This is what came to mind:
drapes her burnished skirt
Stirred by an errant breeze
Bends down to earth and offers thus
Her crimson, leathered leaves
There was more and maybe its not wonderful, but its
a start and indicative of what the autumn season inspires in me.
How about you? Maybe the smell of ginger cookies and pinesap causes
a glorious word tumble in your mind that sends you flying to the
keyboard to whip up some Christmas card verse. Or, perhaps the recent
discussion of miracles with a friend triggers your urge to pen a
well thought out paragraph or two. This is just the sort of inspirational
writing that editors are looking for.
Some devotions are published in small booklets of twenty to thirty
inspirational passages each. Others are single devotions that can
be used in Sunday school curriculum, take-home papers, or religious
studies classes. As with the discussion of miracles, you may feel
that a scripture verse is the catalyst for the thoughts you long
to express on a particular subject. There are publishers that use
those thoughts in their devotions for readers at every level; for
adults, teens and children. Check the guidelines of your target
publication for their preferred point of view. Bear in mind that
devotions for adults and teens are often written in first person,
while those for children are more commonly written in third person.
Here are a few places to begin.
- Judson Press Accepts devotions for The Secret
Place - Guidelines
- The Upper Room Seeks meditations linked to
personal experience - Guidelines
- Group This is a great place for your childrens
or teens devotions - Guidelines
- New Age Today - Guidelines
- Light for Today - Guidelines
Okay, only think Hallmark, Gibson or American Greetings here if
youre looking for examples of words that tug at the heartstrings.
These companies have their own writers, but many others take inspirational
verse from freelancers. Think specifically of words of delight or
comfort you might like to receive yourself in a greeting card. In
fact, you may be zapped from on high with boatloads of inspiration
as you stand in the card aisle of your local supermarket or pharmacy.
Go there a lot! And if you have a software program that enables
you to create your own greeting cards, do so. Give them to family,
friends and co-workers and ask for feedback. Dont be afraid
to be sentimental in your verse creations, either. Go for it! There
comes a time in everyones life when sentiment is absolutely
called for, and you might as well be the one to furnish the words.
The kinds of occasions where greeting cards are appropriate are
ever changing, too. Think, death of a beloved pet, starting a new
job, first day of school, first ballet or piano recital, the breakup
of a romancethe list is endless. When you think you have
a number of greeting card submissions ready to go, check out the
guidelines at these markets for starters.
Inspiration of varying sorts will come to you throughout your writing
career. Sometimes it will hit you so hard, youll be terrified
you wont get it all pounded out before the whirlwind leaves.
At other times the sweet breath of inspiration will glide by in
a bark canoe, and bid you pass whatever is given on to others. Those
pass it forward moments are the ones that will help
you tap into the two markets Ive mentioned here. If youre
a writer who aspires to inspire, the world, and that includes lots
of editors, will stand in line for what you have to offer.
© Copyright 2007, Susan Sundwall
Susan is a freelance writer, sometime poet and soon to be blogger. Read her children’s story, "Mary’s Sparrow."
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