Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Dozen Blessings of Newspaper Writing

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Headlines for the month of November encourage us to count our blessings, an exercise that behooves us twelve months of the year. Occasionally along the writing journey, we’re prone to celebrate and give thanks for the end product – the byline, the print magazine in hand, the final copy of that coveted book. 

But there’s much to learn along the way, many opportunities for thanksgiving, blessings just waiting to be acknowledged and celebrated.

I’ve shared my love of newspaper writing and tips for getting started as a freelance newspaper stringer over several columns in The Write Conversation. I am honored and blessed to contribute local, faith-based, godly stories in my hometown newspaper, The Statesboro Herald. 

Newspapers are rife with current events that aren’t always positive and uplifting. Yet, that’s what most newspapers publish as “important,” national events that need to be shared. But readers want to see stories of inspiration, success, encouragement – “good” news – of folks from their own community and neighborhood.

I’ve amassed a number of blessings from my journey as a freelance stringer, way more blessings than credits thus far. And you can, too.

I love encouraging others to consider adding that title to the writing resume. An online writer friend who lives outside of Atlanta took the challenge. Word Weaver member Ethel Lytton recently sent me this sweet note: “Thank you for the articles you have written about writing for newspapers. I began writing a column for my county newspaper in September. I write about my town’s activities and the surrounding area. This includes the homeschool community. 

“Recently, I got to write about a grandchild’s accomplishment! Writing is so fulfilling. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENCOURAGMENT IN YOUR ARTICLES.”

Her words brought tears to my eyes and were more valuable to me than an above-the-fold newspaper byline! A welcomed, November treat to add to my list of blessings!

Join Ethel Lytton and me in earning stringer credits, and you can assimilate newspaper blessings, too. Check out my list below of by-products from newspaper writing that I’m counting this month as Thanksgiving blessings. 

With newspaper writing, I’ve learned to:
Tackle “writing tight.”

Hone valuable editing skills.

Accumulate bylines quickly.

Network with fascinating members of the community.

Kickstart platform and name recognition.

Share “little” stores that might otherwise go untold.

Gain experience writing on deadline.

Inspire readers with positive, encouraging, faith-based stories.

Value local stories of God’s work in the community.

Incorporate original articles in other outlets.

Notice and acknowledge community members of faith.

Generate income, albeit minimal, at times.

What about you? Pick an aspect of your writing—blogging, article writing, devotional writing, fiction/non-fiction writing, novel writing, children’s writing, networking, speaking—and join the conversation below. Share what makes you most thankful about that part of your writing journey. 

I’ll start with a blessing unrelated to newspaper writing—I’m especially thankful for the fellow writers I get to meet, whether online like my friend Ethel or at conferences or other locations. The camaraderie and encouragement is unparalleled to other acquaintances.

This month, my dear writer friend, Michelle Cox, and I have the blessing of the release of a co-authored, Christmas devotional with BroadStreet Publishing. Come and Behold Him offers readers brief, thought-provoking devotions to keep Christ the focus of the busy holiday season. This book wouldn’t have been possible without the friendship we initiated at a Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the relationship we’ve shared since then, and for that, I’m forever grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving! “In everything, give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV


Julie Lavender loves an excuse for a celebration, and the month of November reminds her to count blessings all the way to the Thanksgiving feast with family and friends. She is especially grateful this month for two book blessings: the recent release of Come and Behold Him, a co-authored book with Michelle Cox, prolific author who pens the When God Calls the Heart series, devotional books based on the content of the television show, “When Calls the Heart.” The devotional is available at Amazon, Target, and bookstores. And, the manuscript for her first book with Revell Books, Baker Publishing Group, is due on November 15 to editor Vicki Crumpton, whom Julie first met at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference three years ago. 

Besides writing for her local newspaper, Julie contributes to Guideposts Publications, other magazines, a couple of homeschooling blogs,, and many compilations. Combining her education degree, love of homeschooling, and joy of celebrating, Julie wrote a devotional entitled, 365 Days of Celebration and Praise, a party planning book called, Creative Sleepovers for Kids, and three teacher resource books for the religious division of Carson-Dellosa. Julie and David are enamored with their four adult children, one son-in-love, and one gorgeous grandson. Keep up with Julie on social media and at her blog at


  1. Great post and advice, Julie. I send poems about nature and area landmarks to a monthly newspaper in a nearby town. At a book signing in that area this summer I put the most recent copy of the newspaper in the middle of my table. Many bought my book of poetry when they realized I was the one writing the poems they'd been reading. I got to hear a number of stories of gratitude and blessings from them - and made a few more book sales.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

  2. What a great writing opportunity, Jay! I love reading anything about nature and local sights, so I'm sure many people have enjoyed those contributions. And how great that folks were able to meet you in person at the book signing. I absolutely love to meet authors in person that I've read their work previously. But I also count "cyber" writing friends as huge blessings, too, so thanks for joining the conversation!! I appreciate your comments.

  3. I'm thankful for my Word Weavers critique group who push me, challenge me, and encourage me to work on my craft of writing for children.

    1. Though I've written some children's curriculum and for some children's magazines, I've not written a children's book yet ... but that's my dream!!! I love when we have mentors and friends who push, challenge, and encourage us to keep moving forward! Thanks for the comment!!

  4. Like you, Julie, I’m grateful for friends I meet at conferences, as well as the opportunity to write. When a reader tells me that a devotion or blog post blesses them or that it was just what they needed that day, I smile and thank God for blessing me and the reader.

    1. YES, Jeannie - writing conference friends and online writing friends are the BEST! We just get each other, don't we? I am so thankful for my all my writing friends, no matter how we first met! And, it's so affirming when God uses something we wrote to point others to Him. That is a true blessing to me, also! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Thank you for the suggestion of adding freelance stringer to my author bio. I didn't know what to call the occasional newspaper writing I do. Now, thanks to you, I've got a new title.

    1. Yep - you know, I've never looked up just why newspaper writing is called that - I just might have to do that tonight! But I like the sound of it!! I am so thankful for all my newspaper stringer opportunities! They've blessed me tremendously!

  6. I was thrilled when my sweet friend, Ethel, told me she was writing for her newspaper now. I also gain insight from your posts on The Write Conversation as I write for my local paper. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

    1. Thank you for jumping into the conversation, too, Barbara! We should've chatted about our newspaper writing when we saw each other at Enrich, but I didn't remember to bring it up. Perhaps another time when we're together! Thank you for your kind words! I've learned so much from my newspaper stringer jobs!!

  7. Julie, Thanks for another wonderful article!Even though I don't write for a newspaper, I received may things to think about with my own write of non fiction short stories. I met you at the Lake Yale Florida Christian Writers Conference last spring. I'm considering taking the writing course offered by Guideposts.I need to hone my editing skills and attention to grammatical structure. POV, passive voice, tenses, etc. Is this course a good choice? And do you have other suggestions? Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  8. Hi!Thank you for responding, and yes, that's the beauty of newspaper writing is that the tips also apply to other forms of writing! I absolutely love the Lake Yale FCWC and have attended it the last three years, just like the Blue Ridge Conference. Such wonderful information at both conferences. I do believe you'd get great info and help from the Guideposts writing course. They teach the art of writing non-fiction, but using the same techniques that's used in fiction writing - learning to use conflict, resolution, dialogue and so on to make the work come alive, whether that's fiction or non-fiction. I think you'd love that class and learn a lot! Thanks for joining in on the conversation, and keep me informed if you decide to take any of the courses.