Saturday, December 17, 2011

Becoming a Yes Man (or Woman): Gifts from the Writer

Photo Credit: Davide Guglielmo
Just spend a few minutes on Facebook, wait in a check-out line, or watch television and you can't miss it. Finding the perfect gift is on nearly everyones mind. I enjoy searching for, and snagging, that ideal present for everyone on my list and can hardly contain my excitement when I find just the thing that I know will light up someones face.

In my September post to Hoosier Ink,  I supplied you with hints on ways to say no to the countless bids for your time, treasure, and talent.  (Click here to read it.) But today, in this season of giving, I want to give you some ideas of gifts writers can bestow on their family, friends, church, community, and the world. Writers are wordsmiths, so use your word power to bless in some of these ways by saying yes--whether they've asked or not.

Gifts to Give Your Friends and Family:
*Write special poems, stories, or thoughts for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or graduations. Your family and friends will treasure your words much more than ready-made cards.
* Record all those family stories for the generations to come.
*Keep the family connected by hosting the family blog.
*Create personal devotions or short stories for the special people in your life.
*Offer to write reference letters for couples in the process of adopting.

Gifts to Give Your Church:
*Write content for the weekly bulletin, newsletters, or the church website.
*Create newsletters for individual ministries within your church.
*Donate devotions, articles, poems, skits, or plays you've written to leadership for in-church use.
*Edit/proofread the writing of others for churchwide use.
*Write reference letters/letters of recommendation from the notes given to you by adopting families or your pastor.
*Aid your pastor by using your research skills to help your pastor prepared for his sermons.
*Teach a class based on your research or topic of your manuscript.
*Write curriculum to accompany current sermon topics.

Gifts to Give Your Community:
*Write grants or proposals for nonprofit ministries and organizations.
*Donate a portion of your royalties to nonprofit groups that have a connection with a topic in your book such as adoption, domestic violence, troubled teens, refugees, orphans.
*Write newsletter or website content for nonprofits.
*Write grants and proposals for funds for community or para-church organizations.

Gifts to Give Your World:
*You may be able to employ many of the ideas above for worldwide ministries and organizations.
*Link you social media sites and your website to worthy ministries around the world.
*Play FreeRice. What writer can't improve his or her vocabulary and grammar (amoung other things)? FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme and for every question you answer correctly, they donate 10 grains of rice to hungry people around the world. Click here to play.

In this last week before Christmas, you can easily find the perfect writing gift to give to your family and friends, your church, your community, and/or your world. Writing is always the right size, people are happy to receive it, it is practical and fun, and doesn't have to cost you a thing except maybe a little time. So break open the laptop, fire up the desktop, or sharpen that pencil and start giving. What other ways to do use writing to give back?

Nikki Studebaker Barcus


  1. Some great ideas here.

    I do try to write something personal in the Christmas cards I send - it's always something from my heart.

  2. Excellent post, Nikki! I keep meaning to write books for my grandchildren....