by Suzie Eller
One of the most popular types of articles is the inspirational article.
Think Guideposts. Chicken Soup for the Soul. Church take-home papers. Reader’s Digest.
Most inspirational articles are based on personal experience, which makes this an easy piece to write.
Today’s Tuesday Tip shares three things that might help you break into the inspirational market.
Find a heart moment in your story
Consider the following topics: Cancer. Financial strain. Heartbreak. Disasters, natural or otherwise. Traumatic event. Nostalgic memories. Adoption.
These are all rich topics, but they are also broad.
It’s easy to try to tell the whole story, every single detail. Find that one moment where there was hope, or when transformation began. Begin with a heart moment. Draw the reader into the story with you.
When I was 31, I found out I had cancer and it had spread. I sold a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul titled Berry Mauve or Muted or Wine. It was heart moment in a two-year journey as I battled cancer.
It was a story about a moment where I was afraid my world would never be the same. I was afraid for my future and I didn’t feel like me at all. I was in a hospital bed, my hair was a mess, and I had tubes in my side. My husband gently washed my hair. He found me a clean robe. He held up two lipstick glosses and smiled, asking, “Berry Mauve or Muted Wine?”
It was one of the sweetest moments in our marriage and in the battle to be cancer-free.
That one heart moment became a story that has been read by thousands of people. Here’s a link if you want to read it.
Let the story illustrate your point
Show, don’t tell. Are you tired of hearing that yet? It’s vital in the inspirational story. Certainly there are spiritual truths or application, but the story illustrates those truths. Let the story be the stronger voice in the inspirational article.
Inspire over despair
An inspirational article is a mix of story, the power of choice, faith, and truth. It’s not a diary. It’s not a memoir or a calendar of harsh events. An inspirational article, by its very nature, is written out of healing or hope, rather than out of pain. When writing with hope and insight, it has the potential to be a powerful inspirational article.
TIP: If you are still working through the emotions, your writing is for your diary and personal time with God.
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How would I go about getting an article published?
“Inspire over despair” is crucial, but I never considered why some articles left me feeling flat. Thank you for fleshing it out for me 🙂
Thank you, Suzie. You continue to teach and inspire me. Blessings!
Thank you for this teaching Suzie. Your article touched my heart. What precious moments!
Your last tip was key for me. I thought I was going to write about something that had happened recently , but understood now why I was struggling to write. I realise that the the emotions are too raw, so that’s one for another day. Bless you!
Love the reminder to find that one heart moment, not a documentary of your whole story. Beautiful example, Suzie!
Great tips, and profound example, Suzie! Thanks so much!
Your last tip (if you’re still working through emotions…) is so important. It’s one I see others disregard, and also something I need to be careful about.