What did You Learn at the Devotionals Master Class? by Gail Cartee

I have written a devotional blog for several years but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn a thing or two or maybe three about writing devotionals. Karen Whiting’s class had three sessions and each one was packed with information that we put into practice during the breakout sessions. 

The first session helped me understand how to focus on my core message. Participants were given handouts to help us outline themes, story illustrations, our core message, scripture, and the takeaway. Karen shared spreadsheets to help us organize our ideas. When I list the components for my idea, I had all the pieces to include in the devotion. We then had a hands-on breakout session. We could bounce ideas off one another and get down to writing a first draft.

Session Two helped me learn how to polish my work, looking for strengths and weaknesses in my writing. I learned things to include like the five senses and things to avoid like passive language. Transitioning from my illustration to my focus can sometimes be a little tricky but practice always improves writing. We went with our ideas to the second breakout session where we critiqued our beginning drafts.  Sharing is always an important tool to improve writing. 

The last session was submitting devotions and creating a collection of themed devotions for devotional books. Karen gave us lots of examples of devotional books from toddlers to adults with a wide variety of themes. She helped us understand writing proposals and finding places to submit them.  I appreciated that Karen’s teaching was always positive and supportive. 

Marianne Herring from Focus on the Family and Michelle Medlock Adams with Wren and Bear Books, an imprint of End Game Press, shared what they were looking for and how to submit to them. Both provided great information on how to keep our writing out of the slush piles. 

Attendees also offered comments on their takeaways from the Master Class. Several mentioned kudos for the handouts and devotion template.

  • “Thank you again.  I loved all of the handouts — especially the template of a devotion!” –  Liz Steffenson
  • “Thanks for the information and the handouts! A lot of fantastic information! Wonderful webinar.” – Marjorie Hill
  • “I learned so much about the devotional market and how to write devotions–templates were great!  I think the schedule was done so well–breaks at appropriate times and time to connect with others.” –  Marcie Whitehurst

Many were excited that they were able to participate in breakout sessions which made brainstorming easier. 

  • “It’s so exciting to come to Write2Ignite masterclasses with no ideas, and leave with a head full of ideas! Brainstorming comes easier when I’m participating in these workshops!”- Brenda Covert

Others felt the editing suggestions on staying focused and including sensory elements were very helpful.

  • “I’ve learned about 10x what I was expected! Thank you for this amazing day of focused learning.” – Bitsy
  • “Thank you, Karen! I loved the tips to write, especially on including sensory details!” –  Nancy Sanders

The Master Class offered recordings free for the next few months. Attendees felt this was a plus to be able to hear and review with the recordings. 

  • “Karen’s experience and wealth of knowledge was superb! Thanks for sharing so generously. I’ll go back and review the recordings, too.” –  Jetta Allen
  • “The Devotions Master Class was very informative and very inspiring. I look forward to putting some of Karen’s suggestions into practice. Thank you for putting this together.” – Catherine Osornio

Knowing where and what to submit was also an important takeaway.

  • “I’ve learned so much today, not only about writing devotionals, but submitting them. Karen’s information was detailed, thorough, and engaging. She is so knowledgeable and has so much experience in this subject and it’s all new to me. I’m looking forward to practicing writing, incorporating the different parts of devotionals for both children and adults. Thank you so much, Karen! I enjoyed hearing what editors Marianne and Michelle are looking for, too.” – Amy Houts
  • “I liked the takeaways/gift to the readers.  Places to submit was good for a beginning writer who isn’t close to publishing a book.” – Denise Hyman

 I think Rona Shirdan summed it up best for all of us. “We were able to leave with a work in progress, opportunities to submit, and a community of like-minded folks willing to offer additional support.”

Gail Cartee is an author, blogger, and conference teacher. She is a team member of the Write2Ignite. She is a Honor graduate of the University of South Carolina, holding a BA in Early Childhood Education and an MEd from Southern Wesleyan University. She lives with her husband, Richard, in the foothills of Upstate of SC where they raised three children.


6 thoughts on “What did You Learn at the Devotionals Master Class? by Gail Cartee

    1. Thanks, Jean. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the recordings. They are packed full of great information that will definitely be useful as you move forward with Starlight magazine.

    1. Thank you Karen. I learned so much that I can immediately put into practice. From the comments that day I think we all learned a great deal.

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