Tips for Adult Writers

If you are an adult writer who has never have tried writing for youth before, here are a few tips from the devozine staff.

The Basics:

  • Be simple, honest, vulnerable.
  • Be original. (Don’t quote a lot from other sources. For any quotation you use, please include a copy of the excerpt and of the title and copyright pages of the book or magazine.)
  • Be personal (not just general).
  • Use a conversational tone rather than a scholarly, academic tone.
  • Write about a theme we are featuring in an upcoming issue (rather than a random topic). You can always find upcoming themes on this website or send us a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to receive a printed copy.
  •  Offer a scripture suggestion that ties in to your meditation.
  • Write a reflective element at the end of your meditation (prayer, thought for the day, reflection question, journal or action suggestion). See Writers’ Guidelines for more information.
  • Stick to the suggested word count.
  • Use inclusive language for God and humans.
  • Be open to editing.
  • Don’t give up if your meditation is not selected. Try again!

Some things to try:

  • Ask a teen to read your meditation before you send it in and to give you feedback on its relevancy to his or her life. Besides helping you become a better writer, this practice will help you to build trust and stronger relationships with young people.
  • Try writing a meditation with a teenager and share the byline.
  • Try using a different format from time to time: poetry, song, psalm, litany, prayer, prose, letter, and so forth.

And a few things to remember . . .

  • The Upper Room® is an ecumenical, interdenominational publisher; so don’t write denominationally-specific material. If you do, we will probably make it more general or add parenthetical explanation for our broader audience.
  • Your material will be relevant to teenagers if you understand them and their world. Spend time with some of the teenagers in your life. Listen to them and try to understand their culture.
  • Be patient with us (the devozine staff) about your submission. You may not hear back from us for a while, especially if you submit a meditation for themes appearing later in the year. If we do not choose to publish your meditation and if you have not sent us a self-addressed stamped envelope, you will not hear back from us.

 Thank you for helping us to encourage young people to spend time with God!

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