My last guest blogger this month on nonfiction is Jamin Baldwin. I met Jamin through meetings of my ACFW chapter. She discusses the lessons she’s learned in writing the special kind of nonfiction that devotions are. Welcome, Jamin!
How to write a devotion?
Having written and published over a hundred devotions, perhaps the best way to tell you how to write a good devotion is to tell you what not to do. After writing as many as I have, and fumbling your way through some monumental blunders, you’ll discover there are some ‘donts’ as well as ‘dos’.With so much advice and mountains of suggestions to wade through, it might be equally important to know what to leave out of your devotion, as it is to concentrate on what to add.
Here is what time, and error has taught me. . .
First, Don’t Criticize.
Yes, I know it seems more direct to scold, but your audience quickly lose their hearts and the book the moment they feel you pointing the proverbial finger. Make sure to end on a positive note. Never let your audience leave feeling as though they have been chastised. Rather take the time to tell them what you felt and learned from the experience. Encourage them to take a different route than you chose.
Second, Don’t Ramble.
Choose a point you want to make and don’t “scatter shoot”, as my grandmother used to say. Of course, you could make several wonderful points in your devotion . . . but, choose one and stick to it. But jot down the other ideas. They could be another devotion, a series, or perhaps even bloom into a full fledged devotional.
Lastly, Don’t Change Your Voice.
Too many times I see people trying to write like someone else. While we all squeeze ourselves into the box labeled, ‘submission guidelines’, we must never compromise our own voice in writing. You don’t need to be someone else. There is already one of those. God believes this world needs a you- So let your voice be heard.
Not only are those great posts for writing devotions, I think they are good advice for writing of any kind, especially about sticking to the voice God gave you. Thanks for stopping by, Jamin!
Jamin Christian Baldwin is a wife and mother of three from SE Ohio. Her love of nature and God is combined in her devotions in a parable about life. Third place winner of the 2019 BRMCWC foundation awards, Jamin does her best to share the love of God and the lessons she has learned with others. She is also a VBS designer and curriculum writer, Sunday School teacher and active member of ACFW-Ohio chapter. You can find her stories and devotions on her Facebook Author Page.