Writing for the Soul
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In an ideal world, spending time alone to focus on spiritual matters would be a cinch. But it’s not always easy to find the time or place to enjoy the presence of God.
That’s where devotions come in.
Devotions, also known as meditations, enable readers to devote time to their spiritual lives. The psalmist declared, “I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done” (Psalm 143:5 NIV). That’s the purpose of devotions: to turn a reader’s spirit, soul, and mind toward God.
Devotions help you learn to write tight and slant material for target markets.
● Research. To determine whether a market is open to devotions, look for devotions, prayers, meditations, or similar terms in its guidelines. Publications like The Secret Place and The Upper Room are freelance-friendly devotion magazines. Some book publishers, like Guideposts, release annual compilations of daily devotions and are open to freelance submissions.
● Study and pray. Devotions are short, but they’re not trite. To touch a reader’s heart and draw her into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, you need more than writing skill. You need to write from the overflow of your own spiritual life.
● Write tight. Struggling to cut your devotion to size? Try the “AutoSummarize” tool in Microsoft Word. Determine a percentage of the original you’d like to keep, then watch as the tool selects text it deems unnecessary. Naturally, you determine whether to keep or cut that text.
● Slant to market. One market may want a prayer included, another a memorable quote. Recently one publication rejected a devotion of mine. Before sending it elsewhere, I substantially revised the piece because of the requirements of the other magazine.
● Read and learn. To improve your devotion-writing skills, read ones already in print. Ask friends, family, or co-workers for recommendations.
Once you break into the devotion market, you’ll likely find opportunities to write on assignment as editors become familiar with your work and appreciate your diligence in writing market-driven, heartfelt pieces.
Guild mentor Lisa Crayton’s most recent devotion appears in the Fall issue of The Secret Place. She has written devotions for The Quiet Hour and the Cup of Comfort series, and wrote 30 devotions for a 365-day devotion book released last year.
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