However, the devotional is not your avenue to preach to your reader or to be judgmental. If this is your agenda when you write a devotional, you will likely lose the reader’s attention soon after she begins reading your article.
Writing devotionals will give you opportunities to offer your reader hope, not a sermon. Avoid using words like must, should, and ought. Also avoid lofty and theological vocabulary. The devotional is not a formal paper. Write clear and precise prose from an ordinary person’s viewpoint.
Devotionals, sometimes called meditations, fall into the category of a quick read. Don’t be misled, however, into thinking that short on length endorses the absence of quality writing. Devotionals should meet the same requirements of good writing as any other manuscript worthy of publication.
The format of your devotional may vary from magazine to magazine. Word length may also vary but not to a great extent. Meditations known as daily devotionals usually contain about 250 words and have similar format. Meditations other than daily devotionals can range upwards to 600 words.
Most devotionals begin with a Bible verse, followed by the story narration and application and usually end with a one- or two-line prayer that summarizes the entire devotional. Before you start writing your devotional know your target publication’s specific format and word length requirements as stated in their guidelines.
In your devotional, write about common things that are known to most people. Don’t use an example unfamiliar to a general audience.
Everyday incidents can remind us of how God works in lives. Perhaps you have discovered a special meaning from a Bible verse you’ve studied. Maybe God has become real to you while working through a difficult situation.
Your readers so they may apply what you’ve experienced to their lives. An impressive devotional has a take-away value for your readers that is meaningful not only immediately, but for days and weeks to come.
Marketing Your Devotional
When you look in market guides you will find an extensive listing of religious magazines. Some of them state a need for “inspirational” articles, which sometimes can be interpreted to mean devotional-type articles. Read the information given for each magazine and request writers’ guidelines from those periodicals that interest you. Be sure to enclose your SASE for a reply if you request by mail.
Many selections for daily devotionals are written on assignment only. When you choose a daily devotional you want to write for, send a brief letter stating your interest in writing for them. Ask how you can gain an assignment. Some use only writers from their denomination, and aren’t easily deceived if you try to write like you are one of them when you aren’t.
Many daily devotionals use first-time writers. They publish 365 meditations each year, making this market more open to writers than some.
Appearing in several publications lessens the impact of the short but widely distributed daily devotional. For that reason, when you write on assignment for daily devotional publications, expect them to ask for all rights to your manuscript. When deciding whether you want to relinquish your rights, weigh the value to you of the vast audience you will touch and the reach of your story to affect people’s lives.
Write your devotional well, and it will touch your reader and help him to deal with life’s situations.