Sunday, March 8, 2015

Through My Kitchen Window

Devotional Writing
I began freelancing in August of 2009. Since that time, I have been blessed to have had numerous pieces published in various types of publications. But of all the different types of writing I do, perhaps my favorite is devotional writing. To date, I have had over 75 devotions published in seven different publications–The Upper Room, The Secret Place (Judson Press), Open Windows (Lifeway), Reflections (Smyth and Helwys) , Word Aglow (Pentecostal Publishing House), along with an on-line devotional site and two devotional books (one in each book.)
In this blog and the next, I will share some of my devotional writing tips, both in how to write devotions and how to market them. Today’s post will focus on writing devotions.
When you write a devotion you place a magnifying glass on a very small part of Scripture–a word (like one of God’s traits such as love or faithfulness), a phrase, or a truth. The Upper Room writer’s guidelines puts it well when they say, “Make only one point; think snapshot, not movie.”
The first line of the body of the devotion should be something that will catch the reader’s attention. You can give a line of dialogue, ask a question, or tell a very short story. From time to time I post devotions in this blog that I have had published. If you are interested in devotional writing, you can look back at them and see the use of these various opening lines.
Other tips include:
Spotlight unique verses. The first devotion I ever had accepted was based on a rather obscure verse in Zechariah. Devotional publications get fewer submissions from the Old Testament than from the New Testament. Lines from famous poems or famous quotes are not as desirable (in fact, some publications will not accept them.) And make it personal–your experience is unique. Teach, don’t preach; avoid words like “you should”, “you need to”, “you must” Instead say, ‘I have”, “we can”, etc.
The format and word count you will use differ with different devotional publications. Read and follow their guidelines. Get in the habit of writing devotions and they will start to flow. I have been known to pull my car into a parking lot and write a devotion down on a napkin when I have an inspiration. I know if I don’t get it down on paper, I may forget. I keep a word document on my computer full of these inspirations which I write up when I have the time and submit later. In the next blog post I will share places to submit devotions and the types of rights you can sell.

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