In the first years since I left my desk job to pursue writing freelance, my personal and inspirational essays found homes in several anthologies and in some magazines, too. Yet suddenly I found myself feeling tapped out in that arena, as though my supply of heartening stories was running dangerously low. At that moment, I examined not only what I was writing but why I was writing. I wanted my words to have a positive impact on the reader’s life – just like the words that I read in my devotional and Christian magazines each morning as part of my prayer and meditation time.
That was my “a-ha” moment. I picked up my supply of Christian publications and started studying. I made note of my favorite writers, then went to the Internet and researched their publishing credits. BINGO! Just as I had thought; there was a whole slew of other publications out there I had yet to learn about. I sent away for sample copies and studied them for style and subject matter. Many of these publications, I noticed, also advertised that they offered devotionals or meditations based upon scripture posted on their websites daily. I read those, too. As a result, I became aware of the possibility of placing a different slant to the stories I felt led to tell and many new ideas followed. There were so many ideas, in fact, I needed to keep a separate notebook to contain them all.
One day, I sat down with that notebook and wrote devotional after devotional. By the end of the week, I submitted what I had written to the appropriate publications and many were accepted.
Soon after, with the rhythm of Christian writing drumming through me, I was ready to apply the formulas I discovered to my existing work. With the help of a good Bible concordance and a few newly purchased Bible handbooks I recycled some of my older essays to fit into a Christian theme by including corresponding Bible verses and parallel Bible characters. And many of those sold, too! As a result, I gained the confidence to continue to write more and more Christian-themed pieces.
Now I look at each story that I feel compelled to write through two lenses: Christian and secular. In this way, I am not only able to reach a whole new set of readers, but have expanded my market by about 25%, a nice bonus indeed.
Monica A. Andermann lives and writes on Long Island. In addition to several credits in both the Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort collections, her work has been included or is forthcoming in such publications as Skirt!, Sasee, Woman’s World, The Upper Room, and The Secret Place.
WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION: ADVICE FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
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