Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Writing Journey: Should Writing Be Your Permanent Residence?

Edie here. Today I'm excited to introduce you to a long-time writer friend of mine, Jennifer Hallmark. We've supported each other through this writing journey and now Her debut novel is now out and it's one you're not going to want to miss. Be sure to give her a warm TWC welcome!

The Writing Journey: Should Writing Be Your Permanent Residence?
by Jennifer Hallmark @JenHwrites 

Writing is a journey, one that starts, much like that yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz, in a sweet little town far from fields of sleep-inducing poppies and scary forests. Unlike the broom and professor ending, however, penning words is an excursion that can last a lifetime.

People put words on paper for many reasons: therapy, enjoyment, fame and fortune, and to spread a message. So many think they have a book inside of them. Do you?

You enjoy reading. You like crafting or maybe even composed stories or poems in your youth. Is it time to buy a computer or a journal and gel pen? Maybe. Just begin and enjoy creating for any of the reasons listed above. It’s a great hobby. But do you want to write as a career?

Let me start with a warning: Don’t quit your day job! Stepping into the creative market takes time, patience, and perseverance. Hopefully, if you’re considering a career as a freelancer or a novelist, you’ve already wet your toes in writer’s waters and penned words.

Maybe you’ve reached that point, like I did, where you love being creative and picture readers enjoying your work, lives changed by your prose. I totally understand.

But we need to look at those three must-haves I mentioned to take your writing to the next level.
  1. Time: Write and read as much as you can. Take classes, network, then write and read some more. Experiment within the craft to see what works for you. Then start setting up your place in social media as a writer. I stepped out by taking my first writing class in 2006.
  2. Patience: You likely won’t earn money immediately. Begin with a willingness to write for free. My first published words were on non-paying websites, my personal blog, and as a guest blogger. Doing so helps you establish yourself and is good practice for later on.
  3. Perseverance: Don’t quit. Beside free writing, try contests and paying magazines, both online and in print. [Another warning: Caution needed with contests. There are a lot of scams out there. Never pay a lot of money to enter a contest.] Ask around to find the best ones. And remember they are subjective. What one judge likes, another might dislike.

My first paid work was for a short story I sold to a small print magazine in 2011, five years after I chose writing as a career. I sold three stories in all to them, then over the next six years took part in four different book compilations. In 2017, I sold my first book, Jessie’s Hope, to Firefly Southern fiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Eleven years after that first writer’s class.

That’s a long journey.

Again, how serious are you? I see you lift your chin, point to yourself, and declare. “I’m in this to stay. New York Times bestseller list, clear a spot for me. I’m on my way.”

It’s great to be confident. I applaud your courage. 

Here are five questions you need to ask yourself.
  1. Are you willing to set aside time for writing? How about next week, next month, for the next ten years? Are you willing to study and ask questions of other writers?
  2. Are you willing to limit television watching, social media time, and forego social activities to pursue your dream?
  3. For you aspiring novelists, will you still write if it takes eleven years to sell your first novel?  (The one I sold was not the first I’d written.) And then wait more months to be published? What if you’re never published?
  4. If you’re planning to self-publish, are you ready to invest the time and finances to develop the expertise to master writing, publishing, and marketing?
  5. How long will you write if you’re not selling anything?

Important questions to ponder if you’re considering making a career out of this most interesting of fields.  I encourage you to attend a writing retreat or conference. Edie Melson is the director of BRMCWC and I highly recommend this place to learn, grow, and enjoy the company of other like-minded people.  While you keep company with different writers, some serious and some not, and ponder the five questions, you will likely reach a decision between hobby and career.

The balloon—or maybe the brightly colored shoes—await to take you where you want to go. Close your eyes and click your heels together.

There’s no place like the writing journey…

Let’s keep the conversation rolling. If you’re an established writer, how did you decide when to move from hobby to career?


Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and fantasy, an interesting combination that keeps the creative juices flowing. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, released on June 17th, 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on her two blogs. She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Jessie’s Hope can be found at 

Jessie’s Hope 
Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie's high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie's grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for "his Jessie," one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles--including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather--highjack Jessie's dream wedding?

June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza 
June 10th - June 30th
Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Pageto enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:
June 13th-Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud/Jennifer Slattery
June 15th-Inspired Prompt/Betty Thomason Owens
June 17th-Author Trish Perry/Trish Perry
June 18th-Author Liz Tolsma/Liz Tolsma
June 19th-Inspired Prompt/Betty Thomason Owens
June 21st-Snark & Sensibility/Linda Rondeau
June 24th-Fear Warrior/Jerusha Agen
June 24th-Author June Foster/June Foster
June 25th-Trumpet Tuesdays/Julie Arduini
June 26th-Seriously Write/Sandra Ardoin
June 28th-Heartfelt, Homespun fiction/Cynthia Herron
-->June 29th-The Write Conversation/Edie Melson


  1. So glad you're my friend on this writing journey, Edie ❤

  2. Jennifer, my journey was long like yours. Until we're in Heaven, we won't know the reason. I've always believed that perhaps one on the people my words were supposed to reach wasn't ready yet. And had I published years before I did, that person wouldn't have read them.

    1. Wow! What a beautiful perspective Ma. Ane. I love this ma'am. Thank you!

    2. That's a good thought. But as far as me, I don't think I was ready. lol

  3. First, welcome Ms. Jennifer. You've been contributing to The Write Conversation for years now; and I am g;ad to see your byline. What encouragement from your post. For me, my day job (now as a sometimes-employed writing consultant) is what funded/funds my Christian writing pursuits, This is my way of repaying God's career gift to me. God's blessings as you move forward in your writing career ma'am.

    1. Thank you, J.D. I appreciate your kind words...

  4. Jennifer is a great writer and great encourager. :-)