The Writing Process: Not for the Faint of Heart

31 Mar

There is a saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” I don’t know anything about cat skinning, but what I do know is that the writing process differs from author to author. When aspiring authors reach out to me and say, “I want to write a book. Where do I start? What do I do?” I probably look as confused as they do. I’m not sure what to tell them because what works for me, may not work for the next writer. But one fact remains true—writing (at least high quality writing) is not for the faint of heart. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, time-consuming, heart wrenching and grueling work, but the beauty of creating an influential piece of literature is well worth it. As part of an ongoing blog hop, I’ve been asked to share insight on my writing process. Enjoy!

What am I currently working on?

I’m actually working on two projects at once—Singles 101 and Suicide Watch. Singles 101 is the fourth book in the Wife 101 Series. Since the original novel, Wife 101, single women have been begging for a book in the series that emphasizes singlehood. Interestingly enough, Wife 101 actually follows the life of a single woman (Amber Ross), yet my single, female readers don’t seem to fully embrace Wife 101 as their official novel. After penning the second book in the series, Husband 101, I had a Daddy Download (the term I use to refer to hearing from God) that following the third book, Couples 101, there was a need for a singles’ focused novel. Three years after the release of Wife 101, I am finally writing and preparing to release Singles 101, a novel that will specifically address a variety of the concerns of unmarried men and women. The exciting aspect of this novel is that readers will get a closer look at the lives of some of the crazy single friends/family members of the Hayeses, as well as be whisked away to the infamous Las Vegas, Nevada.  Singles 101 will be released on July 1, 2014 by Divine Garden Press.

In addition to Singles 101, I am also working on a supernatural thriller titled Suicide Watch. Most of you are aware that I write thrillers under the pseudonym Janell. Suicide Watch is the second novel by Janell and the sixth title under this pen name (Janell has also penned four published short stories). Suicide Watch considers the physical and supernatural realms of suicide, questioning the root of depression and suicidal ideation through a colorful cast of fictional characters. Release date TBA.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My books are considered Christian or Inspirational fiction. I believe my work differs from others because I tend to blend fiction and nonfiction writing styles to create entertaining novels that are also educational. I often pull from my educational and work backgrounds in psychology and educational leadership to develop stories that examine human behavior and personal growth. I am highly interested in helping people to make positive interpersonal and intrapersonal changes, as well as build a better relationship with God. My writing is very message and lesson-oriented, and I hope by the end of each work that readers directly or indirectly experience God’s grace and love.

Why do I write what I do?

I feel that my work is a part of my bigger purpose for living. I love books and reading, so in a way, I write the books that I would want to read. But even more so than that, I write the stories that I write because I know these lessons are needed in today’s world. My stories often focus on either relationship building or social issues. In a society that is overwhelmed by hurting people, writing therapeutic stories is my way of making a positive impact at both individual and global levels.

How does my writing process work?

I usually know my title first. When I receive a story idea, the title is usually made known at that time or soon after. Because I’m always working on something, I typically will write down the idea for later development. By the time I’m ready to write the story, I’ve pondered the idea for months (or years) so I have some basic understanding of what the story is about or what I might like to include the story. I am a “by the seat of my pants” writer, meaning I don’t do much outlining before writing, but instead, I let the story come to me as I write. When writing the Wife 101 Series books, I do some very light outlining to help bridge the nonfiction class aspect of the story. Surprisingly, I develop the books in that series by writing the introductory chapters, then writing the class teachings. Once I have the classes completed, I go back to the beginning and work the storyline around the classes that are already in place. Another interesting part of my process is that I tend to write the ending of a book about halfway through the story. When I get to a certain point and I sort of know what the conclusion is going to be, I will stop where I am and write the ending. I’ll then go back to the middle and work towards that ending. It’s a very unusual process but it seems to work well for me.

*Special thanks to Gretchen Roberts for connecting me to this awesome blog hop opportunity. Visit Gretchen to find out more about her writing process at

Who will we meet next?

Submissionary PMUp next is an author whose books I’ve come to love and appreciate.

Multi-published author, dynamic speaker, teacher, wife and mother, Sherryle Kiser Jackson hails from Prince Georges County Maryland. She is the author of seven Soul-Satisfying reads.

Visit Sherryle at


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