Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Write Without Purpose by Melissa Finnegan

So often we focus on writing books, but there are so many more opportunities to get our work in front of others. Today, author Melissa Finnegan discusses a market that allows us to write for publication while sharing our faith experiences in a way that helps others.  -- Sandy

Melissa: While you’re waiting to hear back from an agent or publisher have you written devotions or articles? Have you considered it? Have you wondered what makes a devotion or article saleable?

I’ll tell you what has worked for me: writing without purpose.

What? You might be scratching your head, thinking I’m crazy. You might be right. J

Let me explain.

When I say write without purpose I only mean to a degree.

My best writing has come out of my quiet times with the Lord. When I am still before Him, soaking in His presence He speaks, I listen then I write.

The greatest out pouring of devotions and articles in my life came when I worked an hour away from home. 
During those drives God poured into me so much. He revealed things to my heart that I had to get down on paper.

I never thought, “This will make a great article for so-and-so publication.” I just wrote what God revealed to me. I had no purpose other than the joy of this time with the Lord and Him speaking to me.

After stockpiling many devotions the idea struck me that maybe a few of them would fit in with some magazines. I started visiting websites and reading guidelines. Don’t skip this step. Just as you would study guidelines when submitting your novel don’t neglect this step when it comes to magazines. If a magazine didn’t sound like it would be a good fit for my work I didn’t submit it but if it sounded like this could be a good match I sent it. And guess what? Before long I was getting published.

What I didn’t do was find a magazine and write for what they were looking for. Although, this might work on occasion (like I’m writing for this blog) that won’t always be the case. If we don’t write from our heart our work falls flat. I have to be true to my voice, not make my voice sound like what someone else is looking for.

I no longer have an hour drive to work. I have to be much more intentional about finding my quiet time and listening for God’s voice. I have found He speaks to me differently so I have to keep my heart and ears open.

Just the other night, as I watched my daughter’s softball game, God pointed out how the girls are always ready to cover their base whether they see someone running for it or not. If there’s chance someone could steal the base they’re covering it.

There are so many places I could take this and turn it into a devotion. If I wasn’t listening I could miss the lesson. I must be able to discern His voice and in order to do that I have to spend time with Him.

I believe that’s our greatest asset to our writing: spending time with Jesus, listening for His voice and writing down the things He reveals.

Have you ever written for the devotional market? Can you share some publications that accept devotions?


Melissa Finnegan has had articles published with Proverbs 31 Women, Creation magazine and several other publications. She has contributed short stories and devotions to two books: Sweet Freedom ala mode and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. You can find her at where she shares reviews, giveaways and stories of hope, what she calls Genesis 5020 stories. She’s currently working on novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She lives in southeast Michigan with her personal hero, Patrick, and her two amazing children.