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Inspiring Readers
in 175 Words or Less
A guide to writing devotions
By Melanie Rigney
Catholic Writers Conference
March 2 ...
What is a devotion?What is a devotion?
• Devotions usually are a reflectiony
on a piece of Scripture, although
in non-Lect...
Where do you find
DEVOTIONS MARKETS?DEVOTIONS MARKETS?
• Catholic devotionsCatholic devotions
– Living Faith, My Daily Vis...
Getting startedGetting started
• Pray for the Lord’s guidancey g
• Contemplate your writing strength: are
you comfortable ...
Getting startedGetting started
• Study the guidelines and the sampleStudy the guidelines and the sample
issues.
Do all of ...
writingwriting
• If you’re writing for a Lectionary-If you re writing for a Lectionary
based publication, spend some time
...
writingwriting
• Think ahead Some devotions areThink ahead. Some devotions are
compiled six months to a year in
advanceadv...
editingediting
• Cut adverbs and adjectivesCut adverbs and adjectives
• Start with the action; eliminate
throat clearing t...
Questions?
B t i h !Best wishes!
Melanie RigneyMelanie Rigney
editor@editorforyou.com
4201 Wilson Blvd. #110328
Arlington,...
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Inspiring Readers in 175 Words or Less: A Guide to Writing Devotions

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Have you ever wondered how those wonderful, inspiring, devout words of wisdom are written? Ready to give it a try? Learn the basics, from reflection on a piece of Scripture, to creating your own inspirations using real-life lessons.

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Inspiring Readers in 175 Words or Less: A Guide to Writing Devotions

  1. 1. Inspiring Readers in 175 Words or Less A guide to writing devotions By Melanie Rigney Catholic Writers Conference March 2 2010March 2, 2010
  2. 2. What is a devotion?What is a devotion? • Devotions usually are a reflectiony on a piece of Scripture, although in non-Lectionary-based works, the reflection often is written firstwritten first • Frequently, devotions include a reader call to action that stems from the reflection • Devotions typically are contained to the equivalent of one published page—175 to perhaps 300 words, max • Some books and magazines consist solely of devotions; for others, devotions are a regular department or elementelement
  3. 3. Where do you find DEVOTIONS MARKETS?DEVOTIONS MARKETS? • Catholic devotionsCatholic devotions – Living Faith, My Daily Visitor. Check the Web site or a current issue to determine whether a publication uses freelance writers • General Christian devotions – Daily Guideposts, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, Penned from the Heart F li i Ch i i W i• For more listings, see Christian Writers Market Guide and Writer’s Market
  4. 4. Getting startedGetting started • Pray for the Lord’s guidancey g • Contemplate your writing strength: are you comfortable sharing a story in which you learned a lesson? Or are ou more comfortablelearned a lesson? Or are you more comfortable with a more intellectual or academic? – Devotions typically have a beginning, middle, andyp y g g, , end… no matter how short they are or the style in which they are written. – If you tell a story in a devotion, you need to be in oneIf you tell a story in a devotion, you need to be in one place at the beginning, with a problem, and in another place at the end. You should be the one who learns.
  5. 5. Getting startedGetting started • Study the guidelines and the sampleStudy the guidelines and the sample issues. Do all of a publication’s devotions include an– Do all of a publication s devotions include an action item? – Which version of the Bible is used?Which version of the Bible is used? – How many words long is the typical entry? Is there a lot of “I” and “you” language or is the– Is there a lot of I and you language, or is the voice more distant? – Is there a title for each entry?Is there a title for each entry?
  6. 6. writingwriting • If you’re writing for a Lectionary-If you re writing for a Lectionary based publication, spend some time with the day’s Scripture. Think about a timey p in your life that the message resonated. • If there is an action item, experiment with, p writing that next. It may help you identify on the meat of the devotion. • Don’t worry about the length of the lesson on your first draft. Just get it out.
  7. 7. writingwriting • Think ahead Some devotions areThink ahead. Some devotions are compiled six months to a year in advanceadvance. • If the target publication is not Lectionary- based consider relating an inspirationalbased, consider relating an inspirational message to a secular holiday (Columbus Day, Labor Day Mother’s Day etc )Labor Day, Mother’s Day, etc.).
  8. 8. editingediting • Cut adverbs and adjectivesCut adverbs and adjectives • Start with the action; eliminate throat clearing that sets the story’sthroat clearing that sets the story’s background S h h l i l d d ’• Stop when the lesson is learned; don’t pontificate about how this experience made byou a better person • Provide a universal benefit or insight
  9. 9. Questions? B t i h !Best wishes! Melanie RigneyMelanie Rigney editor@editorforyou.com 4201 Wilson Blvd. #110328 Arlington, VA 22203-1859

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