For months, I had been reading the free literature my church hands out each Sunday. I read the daily devotional books and the Sunday School handouts to strengthen and learn more about my faith. I found the stories entertaining and inspiring. But one day, I realized that I should have been using these materials for an additional purpose. I realized what a freelance gold mine I held in my hands.
“Somebody has to write these things,” I said to my husband, showing him the Sunday School papers and devotional books. “Why can’t it be me?”
I looked in my Writer’s Market, and sure enough, many of the publications I’d been reading took submissions from freelance writers.. Some of the publications were interested in devotions that included Bible verses, and others wanted first person stories about faith.
I wrote about a personal experience I had with my six-year-old daughter that had increased my faith. It was nothing earth-shattering or especially dramatic. In fact, the story involved accompanying her on a field trip when she was in kindergarten. Not a big deal, but it had an impact on my life and I shared that in the story.
One of the Sunday School papers bought it. They paid me $40 and they only wanted one-time rights. I have since sold that same piece to several other church denominations for their Sunday School papers. I didn’t get a huge check from each of them, but it did add up to be a nice sum, especially for a 500-word story.
I began to look at my small, everyday experiences in a different light. Frequently, little things happen to me that inspire me to be a better mom or to live a better life. Oftentimes, they are experiences with my children or my spouse. If I learned something from an experience, the odds are that someone else could too. I write about these things and the impact they have on my faith and my relationships with God and others.
And I get paid for it! I am now a regular contributor to several Sunday School papers for various church denominations. I love seeing my work in print and knowing that I am helping other people grow in their faith.
And growing my bank account isn’t such a hardship either!
Diane Stark is a wife, mother, and freelance writer. She writes about the things that are important to her: her family and her faith. Her work can be seen in Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms, many regional parenting publications, and in church Sunday School papers throughout the country. She can be reached at DianeStark19-at-yahoo.com.