Five Minute Friday · Intentional Living

On Being a Writer

In second grade, I had a teacher that encouraged writing, and I remember making book after book from folded paper and markers, writing little stories and sharing them with my family. I had a few other teachers that nurtured my writing skills, but at some point, I stopped writing. I caved into the idea that I couldn’t possibly write. I wasn’t “good enough” for that. So I devoured books and wrote secret stories in my head, pushing down the inner writer.

Until I began blogging, and met many wonderful people who were beautiful writers, and encouraged me to let it go and just write. After a while, I began to embrace the term “writer”, and began to enjoy every minute I spent writing.


I was recently asked to join in on a blog hop with my friend Holly, and this week is my turn to answer a few questions and introduce 3 writer friends. Next week, those 3 friends will answer the same questions and introduce three friends. And on and on it goes!

1. What am I writing?

I currently have two writing projects. You’re reading one of them: my blog! I’m working on becoming more consistent and intentional with writing here, so keep an eye out. 😉

For the past several months, I’ve also been working on my first novel. *gulp* It’s a little scary to admit that. I have wanted to write a novel since, well, I could write. But I also never thought I could. The past few years, I’ve come to own the title of “writer” and have allowed myself to explore novel writing. As crazy and difficult as it is, I’m really enjoying the writing process and hope I can get it into a final draft in a few months. Here’s a teaser I’ve written for my novel:

Naledi is a 17 year old girl living in a rural area in South Africa, living in dire poverty. With a sick mother and a deceased father, Naledi has been thrust into caring for both her sick mother and younger siblings. She tries to juggle her role as parent and breadwinner with her role as daughter and student as best she can, until tragedy hits the family.

Andrea is a 16 year old girl living in the capital of South Africa, excelling in school and surrounded by the love of her friends and family. A service trip with her church opens her eyes to a whole new world within her country, as she leaves the city behind and travels into rural Africa.

The lives of these two girls, both on the brink of adulthood, collide in an unexpected way, leaving both their lives changed forever as they encounter both hardship and joy, bonding them together in a way neither could have imagined.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

With my blog, I try to be real (much like many of my awesome “blog friends”). I write about real food, photography, and faith, among a few other things. So I mix in with a lot of different bloggers, but there are some unique things. I am single and am embracing this period of my life. It’s a period of exploration and discovery, and the Lord is having me here for a reason. I believe part of my faith journey is to live a simple and sustainable life, as much as possible. So I would be considered a little crunchy. 😉

With my book, it’s definitely a deviation from the normal. My writing is based on my experiences living in a rural village on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. I spent two years there, working and living among incredibly kind but incredibly poor people, and their stories are woven into the novel. The story follows two young ladies who are coming to age in two completely different settings, but whose worlds collide in an unexpected way. It deals with themes such as extreme poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, racism, and inequality. The title, Enduring Hope, reminds us that even through the most difficult of circumstances, hope remains.

3. Why do I write what I write?

Some days, I ask myself this. I write because the words are fighting to get out. There are messages that need to be written, and if I don’t write, I am suppressing the writer inside. I allowed myself to do that for too many years, afraid of what others would think. These words won’t be bottled up anymore.

With my novel, it started out as a way to process my experiences in South Africa, and it grew from there.

4. How does my writing process work?

Umm….word vomit? Seriously though, I’m not a draft writer. Five Minute Fridays are easy for me because that’s how I write. I sit down and let the words flow.

So, as you can imagine, writing a novel has been a whole  new experiences. The rewriting and editing process has taken much longer than the first draft did. In fact, I wrote the first draft in two weeks. And I’ve been editing and rewriting for months. Part of that was allow the story to rest a bit while I readjusted to American life and could come back and edit with a different lens. But still…I don’t do drafts.


Now for the fun part!

I’m introducing three of my blog friends to you all today. Below are three fantastic women, and I hope you enjoy learning how we “met” and why you should read their words.


I met Jolene through the Five Minute Friday (#FMFParty) community. Her words tend to strike a cord with me, and she has some great insights into faith and life. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her through #FMFParty, and recently, she has started a #BlogItForward series to encourage other bloggers. Some people have brilliant brainwaves! In the spirit of “paying it forward”, you can link up someone else’s blog anonymously. I love random acts of kindness, and #BlogItForward is a great way to bless another blogger.

Jolene Underwood writes about “living for Him with faith-eyes” at Through a number of trials over the years she has been challenged to step forward in the faith she professed to have.  God has continually beckoned her to “be strong and courageous”.  Through fear and failure, God’s grace has broken through.  God’s grace has brought freedom.  On the blog you will find stories of fostering, faith, family, fear, failure, freedom & grace. She’d love to connect with you in the journey to live with “faith-eyes”.

Check out Jolene’s blog here.

Beth Anne

Beth Anne is another #FMFParty friend (see a trend here?) and happens to be a single blogger, like myself! It can be hard to find other single ladies to fellowship with, and I’ve been blessed to know Beth Anne. She’s always upbeat and has wonderful things to say, and her blog is full of all sorts of great things, from single living and couponing. Plus, I love her 30 before 30 list-a bucket-type list for us younger ladies. It’s something I might have to think about doing!

Beth Anne is a twenty-something blogger who currently resides in North Florida and blogs at BethAnnesBest. She blogs about everything in her life including being single, her cats, her travels and her faith. She is currently recounting her recent trip to Europe. Some words she uses to describe herself are: disney addict, catholic, social media junkie, and extreme couponer. When she isn’t blogging you can find her on twitter  or instagram. She also enjoys spending her free time at the beach, experimenting with new recipes, traveling, and avoiding responsibilities like chores and keeping her house clean.

Check out Beth Anne’s blog here.


And last but not least, my friend Marisa. I met her through #FMFParty (surprise!) and we were in the same group for my first round of #FMFPartySnailMail in the spring. We’ve bumped into each other online more than once, and our friendship has grown. Marisa is a fun-loving, chatty-in-the-good-way lady who writes beautiful posts. She never fails to put a smile on my face! We’ve bonded a lot over gardening, snails, and #FMFParty, and her friendship is a blessing.

“Born and raised in Kenora, Ontario Canada, Marisa was a teen mom who has overcome incredible circumstances in order to provide the best life she can for her small family. An avid reader, blogger and a God-loving Christian, are just a few of the titles Marisa holds. Reading the Word and learning about God and His plans for her life are her current mission.”

Check out Marisa’s blog here.

I encourage you to check out each of these blogs, and next week, keep an eye out for their posts and the friends they introduce. It’s a great way to meet 3 sweet ladies and some of their friends! Also, don’t forget to check out Holly’s post, where I was introduced last week.



20 thoughts on “On Being a Writer

  1. Loved learning about your writing process, Jen! “Word vomit” cracked me up! Also I wish I could do that more often, so I might be a little envious of your process. And love all three of the gals you have introduced us to. Thanks so much for participating. Much love to you!

    1. There’s good and bad with the “word vomit” process! I’m trying to plan a little better and write in advance, but with summer and the craziness of my very-much-outside job, it doesn’t always happen!

      Thank YOU for reaching out to me! It’s been great to participate, and I can’t wait to see what these three ladies have to say next week. 😀

  2. Love your post! I had no idea you had been sorting things out in the form of a novel! I am excited to read it!! I think i vomit words all the time because like you, i don’t do drafts and I rarely edit except maybe spell-check. FMFParty is fun because I don’t even need to do that! hehe Love you girl! It’s nice to know a bit more about your WHY for writing 🙂

    1. I knew we were kindred spirits, word vomit and all! 🙂 This whole writing drafts for a novel thing is KILLING me! 🙂 But I love it as well.

  3. Hello Jen! I am so enjoying this blog hop for the opportunity to get to know other writers better and to meet their friends. How exciting to be writing a novel and sounds like a wonderful one. Prayers lifted for you as you go through that process.
    Btw, I just love Holly!

    1. Hi Beth! Isn’t this blog hop just fun? And thank you so much for the prayers…I certainly need them as I weave this novel together.

      And btw, I just love Holly too! 😀

  4. I so loved learning more about you! Isn’t it amazing that one linkup could bring so many people into your life! I am finding the same thing. And so grateful for Holly who reaches out to so many. And it is fun to see who we each introduce. Keep on writing! Don’t give up. Your novel seems to be an exciting work in progress! Blessings!

    1. It really is a sweet way to meet new people and learn more about what they are working on and how they go about their writing. It’s pretty cool to see how the stories make it onto the blogs and such! And thanks for the encouragement about the novel. It’s a scary process, but most days I enjoy it hehe

  5. Jen-I was honored to be introduced on Holly’s blog last week and realized that you were one of the three that I did not know yet. I actually follow you on Twitter! 🙂 I loved hearing about “why you write” and hope that our paths continue to cross in the blogging world. I am newer to FMF but am loving joining in the fun at Lisa Jo’s place. Keep on writing!

    1. Hey, it’s nice to meet through Holly! I’ll keep an eye out for you this week for FMF. Are you joining in on the twitter party (#FMFParty) beforehand?

  6. Like everyone else, I love your reference of word vomit…. except your words seem like very organized, very thoughtful vomit 🙂 More like word painting…. beautiful writing. Keep doing what you do. Please don’t stop word vomiting. P.S. I love Marisa too.

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