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?


  1. I love your four steps for what is most important. It always seems like there is no time writing, but when you are able to check off that first thing, it makes a difference! I am definitely going to try it out! Thanks!

    1. Yes, doing my writing first seems to really help. Then I don't skimp on the most important job! :-)

  2. Thank you for this great post. I'm trying to balance getting ready to promo my next release (Sept), finishing edits on ms I want to send to my agent early next month, and write a synopsis for my editor. Plus I need to prep for a RWA panel. It can be overwhelming at times. I need to set up a priority schedule like you, Jody.

    1. Hi Stina,

      I hear you. It's overwhelming at times! There are a LOT of other little things that creep into our schedules too, like preparing for conference workshops, critiquing, reading for endorsement purposes, planning book covers and blurbs, etc.

  3. Hi, Jody! I love posts like this, because they're always inspiring and educational, especially for a busy Mom of a large family. But I admit, they also always invoke more questions in my mind.:-) You have 3 teens, who are probably pretty self-sufficient at this point. But like me, you also still have little ones. What do you do when they want Mommy to play with them, or read them a book, or they just want to tell you things throughout the day, that usually drag out into long, detailed accounts?:-) I have found that children aren't concerned whether or not their timing is convenient. How do you handle those kinds of interruptions to your carefully crafted work plan?

    ~ Betsy

    1. Hi Betsy,

      Even though my teens are self-sufficient, they still come to me at all times of the day, even when I'm working (almost as much as my little ones!). I think that is one of the blessings of being a work-from-home mom, I CAN be available to them whenever they need me. But the down side, is that it's much harder to set boundaries and teach them to wait for some of my time and attention for when I'm done with my work. Most of the time I err on the side of stopping my work (even if I'm in a great flow!) to listen, help, or "go see" whatever they need or want me to! That makes for some late nights for me, where I'm editing long after they're in bed. :-)

  4. Jody, Congratulations on being named a finalist in the Inspirational Readers Choice competition. You've shared some excellent information, all of which brings home what some aspiring writers tend to forget--if you're successful, writing is an occupation, and demands the same attention and time as any other job. But it's worth it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Congratulations to YOU too, for being a finalist in the IRCA competition!! :-)

  5. I love seeing how you organize your time. Like you, I'm a mother of 5 with 3 teens (I feel your pain!!!), and I am a multi-published author, feeling like my brain is being pulled in a thousand directions. I'm going to take your advice and put writing first, editing second, and marketing third. Hopefully everything else will fall into place. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. I'm sure you can TOTALLY relate to what it's like!! My older children are running in a thousand different directions and I get dizzy trying to keep up! LOL Every day is a challenge. And I've learned to just take things one day at a time and to the best with the time I've got each day. :-)

  7. Great post, Jody. It is hard to go in so many directions, but at least they are all connected with the common thread of writing duties. I like what you shared about giving your WIP you best hours of creativity and maintaining your word count goals. I could use some of your self-discipline and I appreciate your sharing what works for you so I can come up with my own game plan.

  8. Congratulations, Jody. I've been following you for some time and seen your book list multiply. Your books really show all the hard work you put into them and your articles are truly helpful to aspiring writers.

  9. Hi Jody -

    This is a timely post for me.

    When I started this writing journey, I worked with my husband in a home business. Last year, my part-time job outside the home went full-time. This coincided with the release of my debut novel and the upcoming launch of two more.

    I've learned more shortcuts with social media. Plus, a dear friend serves as blog tour coordinator. I couldn't manage it without her. Still, there are days when some things slip through the cracks.

    Susan :)

  10. I got tired just reading all you do. But then I remembered, I do all that too! A writer has to be a good juggler.


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