Author Spotlight on Jenifer Jennings

This month's spotlight is on Biblical-historical-fiction-author, Jenifer Jennings. She is one of my favorite people! We met through our affiliation with the writing critique group, Word Weaver's International. However, we worked together prior to attending meetings as we'd agreed to beta read for each other. I discovered first-hand that she was both a great writer and a Bible scholar. I am blessed to personally know this beautiful woman and her delightful family. Put your hands together and welcome to the author's stage, pure synergy—Jenifer...

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

The journey to being a writer was such a gradual one for me that I don’t really recall a moment that I said, “I should be a writer.” In school, I enjoyed language arts above my other subjects, but never so far that it was all I thought about. After I encountered Jesus at the age of seventeen, I started to write poetry to work through some things I was dealing with. When I got halfway through college, I started writing about a few places in the Old Testament that seemed to time jump too much for me. I wanted to know more about specific events so I would research and brainstorm about possible explanations. After I got married and had my son, I found a local writers group that was forming near me. I was a stay-at-home with a young one and decided it would be something fun to do that would get me out of the house. The leader was awesome. She took me under her wing and pushed me to grow and challenge myself. One year, she encouraged me to try NaNoWriMo; National Novel Writing Month which is a yearly challenge in which you write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. We spent two months working on research and outlines. Then I sat down to write my novel and ended up meeting the goal of 50,000 words in only 13 days. When I told my leader, she encouraged me to try my hand at self-publishing it. So, I did and that got me hungry to keep writing. I found I really enjoyed writing. It was my personal way to connect to God and by diving deep into His word I found His peace and creativity to keep producing more stories. I wrote a short story that was accepted in an anthology with a traditional house. When it was published, it was such a thrill. Unfortunately, that house closed so I decided to stay with self-publishing. With each book, I invested in learning more and expanding my business. After only two years, I started making a profit and gaining a following so I just pressed harder into using my author business to honor God.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Each project can take a different amount of time. The average for me to write the first draft of a book from beginning to end is about 3-4 weeks. That time relies heavily on spending weeks beforehand researching and outlining and life not going sideways during the writing time. I will then work on as many drafts as I feel needs to happen before moving on to editing. Most of the time I’m working on two projects at once. One that is either in the outlining or writing stage and another that is in the formatting or marketing stage. I believe balancing both sides of my brain helps with not getting burned out. If I don’t feel like I can be creative one day, I will switch and do something more analytical on the other project. This gives the creative side of my brain a rest so I can try again another day. This is my personal process that has been developed over the years that works for me. I tell writers to do whatever works for them. Not everyone can produce content that quickly and that’s okay. You should never measure your creative process against someone else’s.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m a stay-at-home mom and writing is my full-time job. So, if it’s an ideal week of writing, I will spend 4-5 days writing for about 5-6 hours a day. Typically, I can write about 1,000 words an hour. So, in a great week, I can knock out 20-30,000 words. The other days of the week are spent setting up social media, marketing, or working on my newsletter. If it’s not an ideal week, I may only get 2-3 days of writing for about 2-3 hours a day. With each season comes unique challenges. I’ve learned to go with the flow and try not to get frustrated or work against what’s going on. Taking a step back and figuring out a way to adjust and adapt my writing time to the season I’m in has helped tremendously with my mental and spiritual health. I can recognize a lot quicker now when things start changing that I need to take that break and come up with a new plan. It’s not always easy and sometimes it may take a day or so for me to let go of my expectations and realized that God remains