The Hectic Life of a Multi-Published Author

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

I thought about titling my post, "The Hectic DAY of a Multi-Published Author." But then I realized that I don't have normal, typical patterns to my days. In fact, the only unchanging aspect about my days is that they're crazy and busy.

For those who don't know me well, I'll start by saying I have five kids (three of whom are teens). Ah, yes, I can hear your sighs of sympathy and you telling me to stop there and say no more. You can already see the piles of dirty dishes in the sink and clothes on the floor, and you can hear the unending questions about going here and doing this or going there and doing that.

All that to say, I don't have a typical writer's day. So instead of sharing about a day, I thought I'd share what life is like in a typical week.

The truth is, the idyllic days of writing for hours on end (if there really ever were such days in the first place), are over. I can't just write anymore. As a professional, multi-published author, I have a multitude of other responsibilities that need my attention every day in addition to the writing.

So what kinds of things do multi-published authors have to juggle?

Here's what I'm working on this week:

My WIP (work-in-progress). I recently started writing a book that's due to my publisher at the beginning of November. After spending a number of weeks researching and plotting, I'm now about one-quarter into the actual writing of the book.

Galleys Edits. Last week I talked about working on two sets of Galleys at one time–one for my novella that releases this fall. And the second is for my first lighthouse book that releases in December.

Marketing for my newest release. Captured by Love hits shelves in about a month (officially July 1). So I have posts to write for a blog tour. I've been collecting names and addresses for my Influencer list. I've had to write up Q & A for my publicist, update business cards, proof bookmarks, plan a book signing, etc. And those are just a few of the many things I'm working on for the book.

Miscellaneous. Every week I squeeze in time to write blog posts for this blog and my group blog, along with attempting to keep up with emails and social media. Lately I've also been corresponding with my agent more frequently as she's been working out additional book deals (I hope to have good news to share soon!).

Obviously, I can't only work on one thing at a time. I can't stop writing my WIP to work on galleys. I can't stop writing to market. And I can't stop writing while I'm consumed with new book deals. If I put my WIP on hold every time I had something else come up, then I'd never get any writing done.

Instead I've learned to organize my time carefully and to prioritize my responsibilities so that amazingly everything gets done when it needs to. Here's how I usually prioritize:

Do my writing first. I give my WIP my best and most concentrated time. I spend several hours completing my daily word count goal. I try to put my freshest and most creative energy toward my stories.

Do in-house editing second. I've calculated how many chapters I need to edit a day in order to meet my deadline. So, I literally don't go to bed at night until I edit the number of needed chapters.

Work on marketing third. Since I have a book releasing in a month, I've bumped up marketing to high on the priority list. Every day I spend some time working on my personal marketing plan. I look at my list and decide which things need to be done now (a month in advance) and which things can wait until closer to release.

Everything else gets squeezed into my schedule wherever I can make it fit. I write blog posts while I'm waiting to pick up my kids from activities. I check social media over my lunch break. I usually respond to emails late at night or early in the morning.

While it's not easy to juggle everything, it IS possible. And it's even possible to do it all well. I've learned that I can't get side-tracked by non-essentials, that I sometimes have to say no to good things (I can't do everything!), that I have to outsource anything I can (like I'm currently paying one of my daughters to help with marketing administrative details).

In other words, I have to be organized, efficient, and diligent with my work time. I can't dilly-dally. I simply have to put my whole heart into the task at hand, work hard to get it done, and then move right on to the next thing needing my attention.

At times it's grueling! But there's nothing more rewarding than knowing that readers are enjoying my books. Just last week I learned that my summer release, Captured by Love, got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. And I also got the news that Rebellious Heart finaled in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award.

What about you? How do you juggle all of your writing duties? Do you have a system that you find helpful?

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