How to Write Religion and Spirituality Books
Aside from books about religion that are meant to educate and inform and may even cross the line with scholarly books, writers in the religion and spiritual genre frequently write very personal books derived more from their hearts than their heads. As a result, while being an acknowledged expert in your subject never hurts, you can establish your voice of authority by drawing from your own personal experiences as well as that of others.
Since you do not have to be an acknowledged authority to write a contemporary spirituality or religion book, what matters most is your writing. While the general techniques in writing nonfiction apply, you must be able to convey the information and your message in a style that inspires and enriches the reader.
Consider the previous list of bestsellers. Ayaan Hirsi Ali relies on her own struggle to free herself from the oppressive grip of fundamental Islam to guide other women to do the same. In a different vein, Anne Rice writes of her internal conflicts with Catholicism. Neither Ali nor Rice are theologians or religious experts but because they are good writers and can utilize the techniques of the genre, they are able to convey their messages effectively.
Uplift the Reader
If you are going to write a religious or spiritual book other than one purely to educate, you should plan on making the reader feel better about things by the time the last page is turned. For the most part, people seek out spirituality and religion so they can be elevated above the mundane. In order for your book to attain this effect, your writing style and tone has to reach the reader and evoke these emotions. In other words, you must write in an uplifting and encouraging style.
While many religion and spiritual books inspire, do not confuse such books with the inspirational genre. Inspirational books come from a wide range of experiences often unrelated to religion and the spiritual: the paraplegic who completes a triathlon; the blind golfer; the African-American woman born into poverty to become governor of her state.
Mastering the writing skills of spiritual and religion books can be accomplished in the same way you would become adept writing in any genre; read in the genre and practice some of the techniques. With this in mind, study the following excerpts as examples and try your hand at the exercises that follow.