Inspired Prompt: Not an Ending, But a New Beginning

By Jennifer Hallmark

My last post at Inspired Prompt.

I have mixed feelings, to say the least. Sad to complete this small part of my life and work. Excited at what lies ahead on the journey.

Not an ending.

*Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler…

A new beginning. For me. For the Crew.

We still would love to stay in touch with all of you wonderful folks out there in cyberspace. This last post is dedicated to sharing where you can find us and hopefully connect there so we can remain friends.

I think Michael W. Smith said it best. These lyrics are for you.


Betty Thomason Owens
You’ll find her on her Facebook author pageTwitterGoodReadsPinterestInstagramAmazon Author Page. And she posts weekly on her blog, Hello, Thursday Morning, found at https://bettythomasonowens.com/.
Gail Johnson
You can find Gail online—at her blogFacebook, TwitterInstagram, and Amazon Author Page.
Tammy Trail
Connect with Tammy at Facebook and Twitter.
Harriet E. Michael
You can follow her at www.harrietemichael.blogspot.com and find her books at amazon.com/author/harrietemichael
Carlton Hughes
Connect with Carlton at Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon.
Bonita Y. McCoy
Drop by at Facebook or her website bonitaymccoy.com.
Shirley Crowder
Find Shirley at www.ThroughtheLensofScripture.com,  Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook.
Fay Lamb
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author Page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. She’s also active on Twitter. Fay also invites you to visit her website and sign up for her newsletter.
Cammi Woodall
You can reach Cammi at https://www.facebook.com/cammiwoodall or follow her at https://pinterest.com/cammiwoodall.
Kristy Horine
You’ll find Kristy on Twitter as @Kwriteone and Facebook and her website: https://writeonereallife.fistbump.press/.
Karen Richardson
She can be found online on Facebook and Twitter @KHRWriter, Instagram KHRichardson5, www.KHRichardson.com, or her blog KK’s Candor, www.KKSCandor.com.
Christina Rich
Visit Christina at Facebook and her Amazon author page.
Jennifer Hallmark
Visit me on my website, Amazon author page, Facebook,  Facebook author page, Twitter, and Pinterest.

*Poem fragment from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

A Fond Farewell

By Fay Lamb

The Inspired Prompt page has been a way to reach out to authors and to writers. I applaud those who brainstormed the idea, started it, invited me to join, and kept it going.

Lately, I have been looking back over my long journey as a writer, and I have at times been highly encouraged and determined. At others, I have been discouraged as I run into walls. Inspired Prompt and the friendships I have made have always been a light in the darkness. I was surprised when I first learned that we would no longer be blogging, but I soon understood, that a page is not what brought us together. Our like minds and our love for God drew us like magnets to one another. When the blog is gone, it does not mean that the Crew will be missing in action. Far from it. We will be cheering from the paths of the different journeys we will take, and those journeys will never be too far from one another. Nor will it take us far from our readers. In fact, in some cases, I am sure that God means for us to draw closer to our friends who made this blog so popular.

In our current world crisis, God actually took me from another project in which I thrived. I had to find a new direction for me. Then I received the word that Inspired Prompt would end, and I was saddened. So many things are changing. Did this have to change, too? As I pondered that question, I realized that God’s answer is “yes.” Change is hard, but pushing back against God’s direction in our lives is so much more difficult.

My prayer for each of the members who wrote for the blog and for those who read it, is that in this time where we are all enduring change, that we all look to God, ask Him where He is working, stand where He is, and do the job that He has for us. I pray that the paths of each of the Crew members and each of our readers will continually cross, because God has been awesome to bring us together. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to encourage one another.

God bless you, our wonderful readers. Thank you, friends—readers and writers alike—for your encouragement. Thank you, Crew, for the opportunities.

A Fond Farewell: Inspired Prompt Crew to Our Writer and Reader Friends

By Jennifer Hallmark

April 27, 2012. I had been journaling, blogging, kind of for six years, and had about a dozen dedicated readers. What was I doing wrong?  I really put the matter to prayer. God whispered to my heart that I needed to use the blog to give back instead of sharing my thoughts and I immediately thought of the #WritingCommunity that had given me so much. I talked to two ladies in my ACFW critique group and Betty Thomason Owens and Christina Rich helped me start a blog by writers for writers. Cool name, huh? 🙂

We didn’t have a clue what we were doing. Well, I didn’t anyway.

But over the last eight years, our blog grew. We changed format, the name, and our website creation tool but one thing remained the same: A blog by writers for writers.

It’s time.

I’ve known for a while but I’d shake the thought off and keep going. My innermost being, everything, is invested in what I do, including this blog. It’s just the way I operate. When the time comes for a shift, I struggle, fight, and search for a way to combat change.

Then, I remember that to move forward, I often have to embrace change. Go with the flow. Climb the next mountain. Follow the light. Let go and let God. (Betty, these clichés are for you.)

It’s time.

The Inspired Prompt has had a wonderful run and much success in numbers, especially in the last two years. The most important thing, though?

You. Each person who is or has been a Crew member. My hat is off to you. You are amazing people and writers who graced our blog with your words. Each week, I read your posts and am blessed. Christina, you helped me so much with the tech stuff in the beginning. Betty, we are BFF’s always. ❤

You. Our readers. Wow. I’ve made so many friends through this site. Readers, writers, reviewers, publishers, editors, agents, to name a few. I’ve enjoyed the interviews, the guest blog posts, and most of all, the comments. You would open up and share a little from your life and it made my day. All the Crew’s day.

I would start to name you but I would miss too many of you wonderful people. I pray each of you is blessed:

  • In the city and in the country.
  • In your body, your family, and everything you call yours.
  • In your work.
  • In your coming and your going.
  • In the presence of your enemies.

And that God will open the treasures of heaven over your life.

Our last post will be on May 29th but we will leave the blog intact for the rest of the year so you can read and enjoy any articles you may have missed. We hope they help on your journey, whether you’re a writer or not.

Thank you again for your kindness. It will never be forgotten.

I Didn’t Write for a Month…And Lived!

By Jennifer Hallmark

I am a writer. My job in life is to pen words and share them with my world: family, friends, social media, and the Internet. My mission statement is “to write with God and bring hope and encouragement through my words, both written and spoken, to everyone I meet, both online and in-person.”

And on top of that,  I just found out that my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, finaled in the Selah Awards. Did I actually have the audacity to take time off?

Yes.

In taking a month’s sabbatical, my mission statement would be somewhat placed on hold. I found not writing extremely hard. After all, my life had been wrapped up in this chosen profession since 2006 when I attended my first local writing class. Fourteen long years of studying, writing, being critiqued, more writing, more studying, and attending meetings, conferences, and retreats. I’ve read over twenty-five books on the craft, listened to numerous podcasts, and taken tons of classes: in-person and online.

Factor in writing a few hundred blog posts, interviews, guest posts, three full novels and a couple of half novels and you can see I haven’t been idle when it comes to this writer’s life.

And that was part of the problem.

At first, I loved all of it. My hobby proved to be fun and for five years, I enjoyed penning words as a pastime. Then, I wanted more. Maybe a published author and, gasp, being paid money for something I’d written. Was that too much to ask?

My writing went to the next level starting with me attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference with lots of other writers. And work. My hobby became a job, second to being a mom and housewife and chicken farmer. 48,000 baby chickens raised every six weeks to be exact. Life was full but enjoyable.

My children grew up and moved out and before you could say empty nest, I had six grandchildren. Then my stepdad passed away and Mom moved nearby. As I think back, I really didn’t enjoy the grown children stage the way I would if I had it to do over. Parents, my word of advice: Enjoy the empty nest while you can.

In 2011, we sold our chicken houses and I started writing full-time.  And babysitting. And helping Mom as the only sibling in the state. Then a good friend became a widow and another good friend died. Life suddenly started to drain the life from me. Add in a few health issues of my own and I was totally being set up to fall apart. The plates I’d kept spinning for so long began to fall, one at a time, until I stood amidst broken glass, mourning so much change and so many losses.

So, I wrote faster. With longer hours to try and purge my soul of the pain that was piling up on me. I thought I could put these sorrowful thoughts on paper and they’d magically disappear. But they didn’t. I reluctantly contacted a therapist because I knew I was on the verge of a breakdown but didn’t know how to stop it. My first assignment? Read the book, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Life-changing. The book and my therapist began to show me what I’d done wrong. No boundaries. No self-care. An aging body and more people who needed me. So I made changes. I started going to the gym, then changed my diet. See my article on my new way to eat.

From January of 2019 until today, I’d lost twenty-seven pounds and kept it off, then added strength training. I felt so much better physically. But setting boundaries was still hard for me. I’m one of those people who found it hard to say no but I’m learning. Self-care became more of a way of life and everyone around me is benefiting from it.

My only problem? I was still totally and completely mentally burnt out. You can’t keep it all going, seven days a week like I had for too long of a time. I had spent less and less time with real people and more time in my office and I became emotionally burnt out too. We were created for relationship and hiding doesn’t heal anything.

I made a major decision. Eight months after I’d released my first novel and with my agent shopping my second novel, I would take a month off.

February would be a time of renewal which also happens to be my word for the year. No writing fiction, articles, and no social media. More family time. Did you miss me on Facebook or Twitter? Probably not but somehow I’d gotten in my head that I was indispensable to the online world. And guess what I learned?

Social media went on without me. My book sales did drop a little without me marketing but not as much as I feared. And the rest and peace I received were well worth it.

I went back to work on March 2nd with more wisdom I hope, planning a four-day workweek for now. I have a planner to help me stay on track and am penciling in “me” time, a lot more than I ever have before. And it’s okay.

Everyone has to work with who they are and what their situations are in life. I tried to pretend it all didn’t bother me and failed miserably. But God, my family, friends, and writing buddies didn’t turn their backs on me. My blogging friends at Inspired Prompt kept the blog running. My family gave me some space and though the needs were still there with the grandchildren and Mom, I learned to say no or wait or soon. Not always yes, this minute.

Does anyone out there relate to this at all? Maybe you could share a comment below and tell me how you handle it all. I’m always thankful for suggestions as I journey on this new part of life…

Click to tweet: I Didn’t Write for a Month…And Lived! #amwriting The emotional highs and lows of writing. #WritingCommunity

Inspired Prompt: Abundance in 2020

By Jennifer Hallmark

You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.” Psalm 65: 11-13 ESV

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! It’s hard to believe that 2019 has almost come to an end. And we’re going to begin a new decade…2020.

It’ll be a year of an abundance of great articles, guest posts, and interviews to help you along your writing journey with Betty, Gail, Shirley, Tammy, Fay, Harriet, Carlton, Bonita, Karen, Cammi, Kristy, and myself. We want to help YOU be all you can be when it comes to putting words on paper.

2020 is going to be our best year yet. We will explore such topics as:

  1. Staying fit for the long run.
  2. Classic love stories.
  3. Writing nonfiction.
  4. Short interviews with people in the industry.
  5. Historical fiction.
  6. Marketing

And so much more! Join us for our Monday and Friday posts on the topic of the month and our fun Wednesday interviews.

Maybe you’d like to be interviewed or be a guest blogger. If so, go to our guest guidelines page to learn more.  We’d love to showcase your book, blog, or yourself. 🙂

We’ll see you soon!

Happy New Year from Betty, Jennifer, and the entire Inspired Prompt Crew!