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More Tips for Writing Takeaways

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

The two key tips for writing takeaways for a devotional are this:

  • Keep it simple
  • Focus on one principle

A devotional’s takeaway, also called the “application,“ is the third element in the 3-part structure. (A devotional’s 3-part structure explained.) The takeaway is practical. It gives the reader an action step she can take in order to apply the devotional point.

Take note of these extra tips for writing takeaways. 

Tips for writing takeaways for devotionals with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

Use Strong Verbs

Takeaways are framed with verbs: “a conflict to resolve” … “a promise to claim.” There is a good reason for that: verbs are action words. Your takeaway challenges the reader to action. When writing your takeaway, use action words — verbs.

Consider Both Internal and External Actions

Takeaways can prompt external action (such as reaching out to a family member) or internal action (such as changing a thought pattern.) Action is action, whether it takes place on the outside or the inside.

Avoid “Yes” or “No” Takeaways

As you write your takeaway, do so by using open-ended questions or statements. The point is to get the reader to personalize the takeaway. If the takeaway can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” then re-phrase it. Extra tip: use how, what, or why to ask takeaway questions.

Use the Most Appropriate Format

Will you format your takeaway as a prayer? A memory verse? A task? A question to ponder? Know how the publication for which you’re writing prefers to challenge readers to take the next step. If you are publishing your own devotionals (whether in print or online), then choose how you will structure your takeaway to have the most impact for your target reader.

Use the Most Appropriate Point of View

If you are writing for a specific publication, be aware of how it structures viewpoint in the takeaway section. Some prefer first person (“Today, I will …”) and some use second person (“Today, how will you …?”) 

Use the Most Appropriate Length

The takeaway is usually short — about 25-50 words at most. If you’ve done a good job in the illustration section, then you won’t need more space than that to challenge the reader to action because you’ll have already made your point.

All that is left is to personalize it. Which is what a takeaway should do.

More Writing Tips for Devotionals

Getting Started Writing Devotionals: A Free Mini-Course ...

Christian Writing Resources for content creators, freelancers, bloggers ...

What is a devotional?

How to Write Devotionals: Use a 3-Part Structure ...

Journaling to write devotionals ...

Save Time: Identify the Devotional Point Before You Write ...

Writing a takeaway: keep it simple ...

Templates for takeaways ...

Writing Devotionals That Stick: a step-by-step writing guide ...

More devotional writing tips on our Pinterest board ...

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