Real Life Writing

This week we echoed the pilgrims’ thankfulness to God for safe passage to a new land where they could worship freely and for His providence during difficult times.

Many friends have been posting “30 days of thanksgiving” on their Facebook pages. This simple writing exercise is good not only for the soul, but also for developing writing skills. Keeping up with a blog, diary, or Facebook page teaches important general principles like consistency and brevity. When you share your thoughts with friends, you strengthen ties with your “tribe”–your circle of influence among people who think as you do and enjoy similar subjects. Marketing experts call the group of people who listen to you a platform. These genuine, mutual relationships often become a wonderful way to share your writing, whether you become “officially” published or not.

But there’s another not-so-obvious benefit to counting your blessings.

Most of us need, want, and desire similar things in life: safety, food, health, significance, people to love who love us back.

Remember when we talked about goals, motivations, and conflicts?

The basic plot of most stories boils down to “_(Hero)_ wants _(goal)_ because _(motivation)_ but _(conflict)_.”

When you list the things you’re thankful for, you’ve actually made a list of universal motivations from which to develop future stories. Wide appeal will be built in because most people will be able to relate to your characters’ most basic desires.


…and now for a real-life writing opportunity that may make some of you very grateful.

Many of our readers are home schoolers. The Texas Home School Coalition publishes a quarterly magazine and a weekly e-newsletter to equip and encourage home schooling families.  THSC is currently accepting submissions (750 words or less) for the Merry Heart section, a regular feature in both publications. Have a funny story related to your home school experience? Send submissions to


  • If you’ve been keeping a list of blessings, good job! If this hasn’t been one of your traditions, it’s not too late to make a list of the things your heart is thankful for.
  • Imagine how life might be different if you lacked something very important to you or if it were threatened or taken from you. (motivation)
  • What might you do to acquire, protect, or rescue it? (goal)
  • What obstacles might you have to overcome? (conflict)

Special Exercise for Home School Readers:

  • Try your hand at writing a feature for the THSC Quarterly Review or e-newsletter. Merry Heart stories should be lighthearted and short (750 words or less). Send submissions to
  • If your submission is selected for publication, don’t forget to save a copy and add it to the growing list of writing credits on your resume. 🙂



About Lynn Dean

Lynn Dean dictated her first story before she could write and continued to write stories, illustrate them, and bind them into books throughout childhood. As a homeschooling mom, she enjoyed passing a love for writing to her own children and ten years of co-op students.

Read more about Lynn.

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