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.
An online devotional for writers
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)
I stared at the email. “Please review our writers guidelines. Your submission does not meet our publication’s requirements. We do not accept personal experience articles.”
I had broken a freelancer’s cardinal rule. I did not study the publisher’s writers guidelines thoroughly before submitting my article.
Publishers take the time to clearly define their audience. They know what those readers want and need. Writers guidelines clarify those parameters for would-be contributors.
Two passages demonstrate this principle. Each describes the function of scripture for a particular set of readers. One is written to Jewish Christians steeped in rigid tradition and legalism. It reveals how scripture can work to tenderize the spirit and bring about heart change. “The word of God is alive and powerful ,” says Hebrews 4:12. “It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Meanwhile, Christ-followers in Rome needed compassion for one another and perseverance to stand firm against the brutality around them. To them, Paul explained that scripture “gives us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” (Romans 15:4, NLT)
Both passages describe the role of scripture. Yet each was written to a clearly defined audience. The writers knew what their readers wanted and needed.
So do publishers.
I’ve learned my lesson. These days, I read and follow writers guidelines thoroughly. Do you?
Follow writers guidelines carefully to meet readers’ needs.
You understand your people. Your Word is applicable to our different needs that arise at different times. Let me respect the publications and readers I serve by understanding their needs . Let me write to meet those needs.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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