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7 Tips for the Reluctant Devotional Writer




In 2020, I had quite a bit of time to reflect over my life. I’m sure many of us had that opportunity.

I wonder how many people took advantage of that.

In that time, I felt the nudge from God to write about my struggle with infertility.

I really didn’t want to write it. It would have just been better for me to work on healing and move on from my past.

So I thought.

I just wanted to stop being depressed and dealing with anxiety.

Little did I know, God was going to keep nudging me. I finally decided to answer the nudge.

I didn’t know where to start. As the days went on I became so reluctant to even start. I couldn’t write a devotional. Who am I?

I’m not a pastor or preacher. I’m not someone that people look up to.

But I kept hearing “just write”. So, that’s what I did.

I just started writing.

Once I moved beyond the reluctance and doubt, I was became distracted by less important things like, “What about the design of the book?” “What should it look like?”

And I would hear again, “Just write.”

Long story short, I went through process off and on.

But there were lessons, of course, in getting over my doubt and insecurity. I was able to finish a book that I pray glorifies God.

I have gotten great feedback on it and I’m getting testimonies about how it helped others, with their grieving process.

These are tips that I will use when I’m writing the next devotional.

#1 MAKE A PLAN


It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out plan.

But make enough of a plan that you can work with. A plan that you can follow and return to if you get stuck.

PLAN IDEAS

  • What is God calling you to write about?

  • What scripture is He directing you to use?

  • What do you need to research?

  • What are things that God is already working on with you?

  • What is the timeframe for the book?

SCRIPTURE

I knew there would be scripture, of course. I just had to seek Him for the right ones. I had to do a lot of background reading so that I was sure the scripture was used correctly.

I couldn’t just make scripture fit where I wanted it to fit.

God had already been filling me with those scriptures before I even started writing.

They were passages that I would read for healing already. I had been returning to the passages during my time of grief and healing.

JOURNALING

Journaling is one of the ways that I connect with God.

I always encourage others to journal, because their is such healing in it. Especially when we’re going through tough times.

I knew that making this a journal would be a great way for others to communicate with God. So I added that to my list and in the end the devotional became more like a guided journal.

TIME FRAME

After much thinking and praying it turned out that this would be a four week journal. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write, but I knew it would be four weeks worth of study time.

This is not something you have to come up with right away. I knew that there were several areas that God was already working with me.

That made it easier for me to have a time frame up front.

If you don’t know pray about it. He’ll guide you.

When I made a plan, it made all of the difference. From then on I just had to work within the topics for each section, and I was able to move the sections around when they needed to be changed.

#2 WRITE FIRST


When I say write first, I mean don’t get bogged down in the design or extra details. All of that will come later.

I tried several different designs and it was fun trying them out, but it took away from writing time and the book took longer to write.

Besides, I needed to remember this was for God. This writing was about Him; it wasn’t just about Aisha.

It’s so important that you write first and think about the design later. What good is the design if you don’t have good content?

What good is the design if you don’t have GOD content?

What’s most important when creating a devotional is that you’re providing what God wants His people to hear. When I stopped focusing on the design I could write and listen for His direction.

Seek Him while you write and He will guide you.

Everything you write should be for the purpose of glorifying God.

We want to use the gifts He gave us for His purposes only.

Whatever we write should refer the reader back to Him.

#3 STUDY SCRIPTURE – DON’T JUST READ IT.


This may not be first on the list, but it is the most important.

Study the scripture. Don’t just choose any scripture and build text around it.

You want to use scripture that truly reflects the message.

I said before, we want to always write for God’s purpose and refer the reader back to Him.

His words are the words that will change the readers’ hearts, not ours.

We have to seek Him in His word through study so that reader knows what we’re doing is for God’s glory, not our own.

#4 HAVE OTHERS READ AND GIVE FEEDBACK


One very helpful steps in this process was to have readers give me feedback while I wrote the devotional.

They were able to catch my errors, and they were able help me find places that I needed to add detail to my stories.

I chose people I know and trust to give me valuable feedback.

Now, I’ve joined groups with beta readers, and I will add them to my list of readers.

I’m grateful that it was also helpful to my readers.

Some of them have dealt with grief, and reading my story helped them in their healing too.

I praise God for that!

#5 GET IT EDITED BY A GREAT EDITOR


My editor is an amazing teacher and friend.

She read the book so many times to help me find errors. I’m so blessed to have her as a my editor.

There is no way that I will pressure her to keep editing. She has a classroom to run for goodness sakes.

For that reason, I’m still looking for an editor that will be able to edit quickly and still provide quality feedback.

Remember to get an editor. We don’t always find all of our errors.

I learned that with my first Christian fiction book. I know I edited that book several times and I still had errors. I guess I just got too into the story.

#6 BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF


I’ll repeat this in everything I write. Be patient with yourself.

Sometimes you may have to let your sit overnight and come back to it the next day.

That’s fine. Looking at writing with fresh eyes is helpful.

Many times, my ideas expand when I look at writing the next day.

Yes, yes, yes, we all have deadlines, but give yourself a break. Don’t push too hard.

You don’t want to hate the project.

I was patient with myself and I love the work I did.


#7 HAVE THE COURAGE TO SHARE YOUR STORY

Telling this story wasn’t fun for me.

I didn’t want to relive those events, but I knew that I had to write the story.

The more I wrote, the more I healed.

I was a different person after I finished that book.

It caused me to take those things I was holding on to, to God.

When I took my struggles and pain to God, He healed our relationship.

After writing my story, I feel better than I have in years. I’m actually happy now that I finished it.

CONCLUSION

Do you feel that God is calling you to write a devotional? Have you been reluctant to start? Do you feel unqualified?

If so then really seek Him.

The Bible says, He equips those that He calls.

I learned that through this process. The more I asked for His direction and wisdom, the more I felt His help.

If I tried to do this on my own, I wouldn’t have finished. His guidance was most important for this book.

Even though it was my story, I still needed guidance on what God wanted me to share.

I wrote so much during that time. My notebook still has notes for me to use if I need to write something else on this topic.

When you write your devotional remember:

  • Seek God

  • Plan

  • Write first

  • STUDY Scripture

  • Seek God (I know I wrote this twice. I need to write before every point.)

  • Have others read and give you feedback

  • Get a great editor

  • Be patient with yourself

  • Don’t be afraid to share your story

I hope this article is helpful to you.

You are in my prayers as you write.

Let me know how your project is going in the comments.

Until next time.

Aisha

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