Martin Wiles on Writing Devotionals

If you enjoy devotionals, you’ll enjoy this interview with Martin Wiles devotional writer extraordinaire. I enjoyed picking his creative brain about devotionals and his creative process.

Martin, welcome. I enjoy devotionals and there are some classics that have been around for decades. Tell me why another devotional?

Although authors have been writing devotions and devotional books for many years, I think a need always exists for new devotional books by authors of each new generation. Each writer is a unique individual created in God’s image and also has distinctive experiences, which often means giving a different twist than another writer who might have written on the same subject or verse. While there is nothing new under the sun, writers choose to pen their thoughts in different ways with unique insights.

 

Explain to my readers how you come up with each idea and how you construct it.

My ideas normally come from life experiences—both past and present. I carry a pad of some sort with me at all times. When an idea comes, I write it down. I even have one by my bed and one by my recliner. I find that if I do not write an idea down as soon as it hits me, I will normally forget it. If by chance I don’t have a pad, I use the Note app on my iPhone. I have even used a napkin at a restaurant. Anything to get the idea on paper.

Knowing the Scripture well helps with constructing the idea. For me, the experience usually leads me to Scripture. I use the same format we use for the website for which I am Managing Editor: Hook, Book, Look, and Took. I use an illustration—personal or otherwise—at the beginning to draw the reader in. Then I explain the Scripture. Following that, I give practical application, and then conclude by giving the reader a challenge…a task to complete or at least think about.

 

Tell my readers why devotionals are something they should read.

I dearly love the new forms of technology—especially since I grew up in an era before it appeared—but one consequence of instant information is that it has shortened our attention span. Most of my devotions are 400 words or less, which is rather lengthy in the world of devotional writing. I think people are looking for spiritual truth in short bites. Well-written devotions provide this. Although devotions won’t give a reader all the information about a particular topic or subject or answer all the questions they might have, the devotion should provide enough to goad the reader to explore the topic further. And devotions may well provide enough substance that will lead to life transformation if a person needs that.

 

Why should Christian writers consider writing devotionals or devotional books?

Writing individual devotions or publishing devotional books won’t make you rich, but for the average person who writes other genres, getting wealthy from their sales won’t happen either. While devotional writers are numerous, a person will have more opportunities to get a single devotion published than they probably will to have a book on any other genre published. Devotion writing also teaches a writer to write tight. Most of the places which publish devotions from freelance writers require devotions that are less than 250 words. This challenges the writer to say what they have to say in the fewest words possible, which hones skills and makes better writing. Additionally, many publishers—even Christian publishers—want writers to eliminate overt references to Christianity and rather get messages across in a more subtle way. With devotional venues, this is not normally a requirement.

Thanks so much for sharing your expertise and encouragement with my readers.

Here is the back cover copy of Martin’s current release.

A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World takes the reader out of the noise that often accompanies living in this world and into the quiet escapades of wooded areas where the voice of God is more clearly heard. A Whisper in the Woods was birthed from the author’s numerous treks with his two children and his middle brother in mountainous areas on the eastern coast of the United States. Through these hiking and camping experiences, God taught the author valuable lessons that have seen him through many difficult life experiences. As you walk with him through the mountain valleys and over the high summits, you too will hear God whisper words of comfort to you.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Woods-Quiet-Escapes-Noisy/dp/1620208652

 

About Martin:

Martin Wiles lives in Greenwood, South Carolina and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, minister, and author who serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof-editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019.

Connect with Martin:

Website: www.lovelinesfromgod.com

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinwilesgreenwoodsc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linesfromgod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovelinesfromgod

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-wiles-5a55b14a

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/martinwiles

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27658029-martin-wiles

 

What are some of your favorite devotionals or inspirational readings?

 

A Visit with Devotional Author Martin Wiles

Devotional writing takes a special gift. Martin Wiles has it. I’m happy to have him as my guest today. Welcome Martin. As always, my interviews start off with my guest sharing their writing journey. martinwilesheadshot1

I played around with writing a little during college when my English professor forced the class to keep a journal. Initially, I hated writing in it every day, but as time progressed, I enjoyed it more and more. For some reason, my first genre of writing entailed poetry. Poetry wasn’t a genre of literature I had read earlier in my life, so I’m not sure why I was pulled in this direction. When my father died in 2009, I became serious about writing. How or why the two connected, I’m not sure. My father never wrote anything except the sermons he preached and the Bible studies he taught. Nor did he ever have anything published. I began writing devotions, and, eventually, began to think about having a number of those devotions put together in a book.

Devotions are not easy to write, and people don’t realize just how long it takes to write an entire book of devotionals. You’ve done more than one. Tell us about your latest published project?

Although I’ve had several articles and devotions published in a variety of publications, my latest published book is Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). This was a follow up to Grits, Grace, and God (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). Since I’ve lived in the South my entire life, these titles were an attempt to put a Southern flare on the devotions. The titles are eye-catching.

MartinWilesGritsGumboGoingtoChurch

What kind of research goes into writing a devotional?

Since my books are devotional in nature, research normally isn’t required unless I choose to use an opening illustration that isn’t personal. Google is my best friend as I search for facts relating to the illustration.

What inspired you to write your book, and when did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

As mentioned earlier, my father’s death, for me, was the beginning point of my writing journey. My father was always there for me, but then again, he wasn’t there for me. Church consumed his life (He was a preacher.), and my brothers and I felt a little second class to his parishioners. When I lost him, I realized how much I missed the connection I wished we would have had. I suppose writing became cathartic, but then later became an endeavor to comfort those who were also going through difficult times of whatever nature. Eventually, the devotions became so numerous that I began pursuing putting them together in a book. As readers commented on how the words helped them, I became even more determined to pursue the gift of writing that God gave me. I think your experience resonates with readers. Thanks for your honesty.

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Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Actually, two. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT). During a very difficult time in my life, when life virtually fell apart, I experienced that peace. I couldn’t explain it, but I bathed in it every day.

I love these verses too.

Now, I’m going to ask one of my favorite questions. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

No matter how young you are, when you know God has gifted you in an area, pursue the gift. I waited until the last quarter of my life to do so. I often think how much further along I might be with my writing skills and career if I had started earlier.

I can say amen to that.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

First and foremost, my wife. She continually supports my efforts and tells me how proud she is of me, even when the rejection letters pour in. Of course, my mom is my biggest fan and brags on me to everyone—even when she sometimes gets the facts wrong. And then one special editor friend who encouraged me and helped me with the first devotion I submitted for publication. Because of her support, I’m now the Managing Editor of that same website.

What a blessing for you.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Though not one of the most popular, Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. I love history and fiction, and this combines the two and makes for a relaxing read for me.

Obviously, it’s one of mine too.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My favorite place to write is a place I don’t often get to write from: any place that overlooks a beautiful mountain view. I feel closer to God while in the mountains, and the ideas for devotions seem to flow freely there. In lieu of that, I rise at 5 each morning and retire to my chair or the kitchen table.

Martin, thanks for sharing bits of your life and your writing journey. You are also doing a give-away that works a little different than we usually do on Jubilee Writer. Can you please give us the details?

Yes, a Kindle version. The winner will receive a code     with which they can download the Kindle version of Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church.

As always, the winner will be chosen on Friday. I’ll send the winner’s name to Martin and he will contact you. If you are not a regular subscriber but want to enter please leave a comment with your email as myemail(at)my server(dot)com. I’ll pass a long the winners name and email to Martin. And as in all my drawing please leave a comment here on the blog not on other social media. So, if you are reading this on Facebook click to come to the blog and enter. Thanks.

More About Martin:

Martin Wiles is an author, English teacher, and freelance editor currently residing in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as an assistant editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina. Wiles has authored Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books), Authentic Christianity (Smashwords) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), and Rise (Chaplain Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and also written for LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Open Windows, Proclaim, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, Upper Room, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, and Plum Tree Tavern. He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, and is a regular columnist for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal.

Buy links:

https://www.amazon.com/Grits-Gumbo-Going-Church-Martin/dp/1941103847

https://www.shoplpc.com/product/grits-gumbo-and-going-to-church

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/grits-gumbo-and-going-to-church-martin-w-w-wiles/1124477466

Visit Martin:

Website: http://www.lovelinesfromgod.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinwilesgreenwoodsc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linesfromgod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovelinesfromgod

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-wiles-5a55b14a

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/martinwiles

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/103365483951277333062

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