Friday, January 29, 2010

The Secret To Writing Books While Raising Kids or Writing 8 Books in Less Than 2 Years.

LOL! So it's a long title I know, but so many people have asked me what it is that I do, to crank so many books out so fast, especially since I have 6 kids and one on the way.

Um... Can I say I'm not sure? Is that allowed? Because I'm not really sure. However, I will give you a rundown of my day(s) and maybe you can find my secret--because I'm obviously not seeing it.

First off, I never wanted to be a writer--I always thought it would be boring. No joke. So when I did finally start writing, imagine my surprise when I realized it was actually super awesome! For me, it was so much better writing my own story, than reading a book (which I honestly never thought would be possible). I'm a bit compulsive by nature, so once I start something exciting, I HAVE To finish it. HAVE TO.

Because I started out rewriting the Jane Austen novels, I had somewhat of a storyline/outline to follow --Jane's books. But after that, I just let the characters take control. They could tell a story so much better than I could. And it was really fun to see what would happen next, as I never, ever had a clue. Which is another reason why I just HAD to finish, i wanted to know what was going to happen!

That said, these are some of the things that help me daily.

* I find if I help another friend by editing their story, mine just flows faster afterword. So if I have to know what is going to happen in my book, I quickly spend an hour working on a friend's novel, and then sit down and start typing my own.

* Generally every morning I spend time doing a quick edit and read through of what I wrote the night before. It helps me get back into the story and even if I don't start typing right away, it lets me get into the groove and think about what will come next.

* I pray before I actually sit down and write. Or just say a quick prayer in my head, asking for my mind to be clear and that I will know how the story is supposed to go.

* When I get writers block, I know this means something has happened in my story which isn't right, and the whole thing screeches to a halt. I usually step back, say a quick prayer and see what it is that I'm missing, or what I'd just written that wasn't right. Usually, it's someone else needing to enter right then, or my characters needed to speak about something else--or something completely unexpected was meant to happen, like a kiss or something, I wasn't even thinking about.

* From 5-8pm every evening is family time. It's the only way kids get their chores done, homework done, I make dinner *grins,* baths, prayers, etc... I found before I started a regular scheduled family time, my life was a mess, being controlled by the other worlds I was typing.

* Almost as soon as I started typing my first book, and realized this was going to be a full-fledged novel, I made writing a full time job. I don't do anything halfway, so if I was going to spend days, weeks, months of my life creating and rewriting and editing this book--then it was getting published, period. By the time Pride & Popularity (Jan 2011) was finished May 2, 2008, I was already working on a website, and reading up on famous authors' marketing strategies and learning their secrets, learning the craft of editing, and researching the best way to get an agent.

* I don't give up. Some people call it drive. I call it insanity. Yes, I cried like a baby during the whole process of the *hard* editing, rewriting, querying...and ugh! Don't even get me started about how bad I cried while I wrote my synopsis. That was like death, I'm not kidding--DEATH! LOL! But, my hours of persistency paid off, by August 5, 2008, I had an NY agent who LOVEDLOVEDLOVED Pride & Popularity. And couldn't wait to read Persuaded which I had finished while querying the 50 agents I queried in the month of July.

* I also asked the advice of great editing/book reader friends of mine. Anyone who I knew would give me good, honest advice whether hurtful or not, that would improve the story, I included them in my circle of critique friends--and helped them edit their works in turn.

* I woke up one morning and decided, I was going to LOVE editing. I was tired of wasting my time complaining about something for hours, that should only take me moments to do. Ever since then, my attitude has changed, and now--editing is like school for me. I'm constantly learning and growing from it, and I take the challenge it provides and use the opportunity to fall in love with my characters all over again. The longer I wait to edit, the more I convince myself the book is worthless--yet, I always find when I go back to reread--it's good, better than I imagined.

* Whether you believe in God or not, I truly believe there are always two forces working on you--good and evil. The evil will constantly whisper and tell you what you're doing is worthless, and horrid, and no one will ever want to read it anyway. You become depressed and anguished and disgusted with yourself--giving up, before you've even began the real work of rewriting, or even finishing the book. The evil force is especially good at making you feel like you'll never finish your novel. Once I'm in that sluggish middle part--Ugh--I just chant constantly--come on, Jenni--this is the middle. You know the middle is hard, lets get through it.

* I have always been able to visualize myself as a successful author at book signings and speaking events, school visits, TV interviews, etc. Sometimes I was overwhelmed by the road I had to take to get there, especially the parts that turned dark on my path in front of me, and I had no idea what was to come next. But the excitement and almost scary prospect of seeing my future and where this path would lead me--has helped tremendously in achieving that dream.

* I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. So when an agent turned me down, or a publisher... I just took it in stride and realized that I wasn't meant to work with them. Now, I'm so, so, so grateful for all of the editors, publishers, and agents who turned me away. Because had they not, I would've never found my awesome agent, Kirsten Manges, or THE MOST AMAZING PUBLISHER IN THE WORLD--Valor Publishing. I know now, had I went with Penguin, S&S, Random House, etc... I would've NEVER, EVER had the backing and awesome marketing Valor is doing for me. Never. As it is, my dream of those TV interviews, books signings, school visits, are all coming true. Don't believe me? Just scroll down and see my all expense paid summer tour Valor is sending me on. They want my success just as much as I do.

Anyway, the point is, just because you think it's horrid to get a rejection, just remember, that rejection may be because something more amazing is waiting for you just around the corner!

LOL! Okay, I think that's it. So did you find the secret? Let me know!



  1. yep, the secret is that your crazy! j/k I love all the great info, you really are amazing. Now all I have to do is visualize being Jenni. LOL! That makes my head spin!

  2. :) some people have it, some others don't. :)

  3. The secret? Time. Persistance. Prayer. Repeat.

    This was a great post. So perfectly honest. I know I related to this in many ways. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. This is a wonderful post. You offer many really great ideas here, Jenni. Loved it. :-)

  5. Great insite to Jenny's life....When you come to England let me know maybe we could do lunch...Cant wait to read your books!

  6. The only thing I found is an incredible woman that must have more self-discipline in one day than I've had in my entire life!

  7. I think it must be your sweetness and faith. And, if I'm being honest, British chocolate must've helped in some way.
    Thanks for your post!

  8. So wonderful! You are driven. I never wanted to be an author either. I always said it was too much work! lol! Yeah, I was right about the amount of work. I just didn't understand then how satisfying it would be!

  9. I need to decide to love editing too. I'm just feeling grouchy today and I don't want to do anything with my book that I thought I just finished.

    Congrats on all your books -- and the upcoming baby!

  10. It's because you're just all around amazing. If I had even a quarter of the drive and determination you have, I'd be on to the querying process already.

  11. Jenni, if you can do it, I can do it. Persistence does payoff. I'm hoping to share the secret of you of making it work. Congrats my friend on your success and next baby! Xoxoxo

  12. I think one of the things your post proves is that you need to choose your goal, and acheive it. If you don't make the choice you will float around aimlessly.

  13. What an amazing e-mentor you are to all who read this post! Thank you for the uplifting encouragment. It helps me know I'm on the right track and I had better get my rear organized if I'm going to get anywhere!

  14. Jenni--I have to apologize! I saw your comment on MMW about my contest! It is one that I am holding on my personal blog! All you have to do is leave a comment, you've already done the rest.

    Again, I am so so so sorry. :(

  15. Nikki--LOL! Who are you kidding? Visualizing me is making my head spin! LOL!

    Breezy--LOL! So that's what it is... I've always wondered.

    Laura--Ooh, I like that motto! Thanks!

    Shannon--LOL! Did I? Thanks! I'm glad you were able to get stuff out of it!

    Angel--You are SO on! I'm be sure to let you know!

    Debbie--Ha! Good one. You are one of the most amazing women I know... Don't let her fool you guys, Debbie is AWESOME!

    Kristy--LOL! Oh yeah, british chocolate went a long way! LOL!

  16. Nisa--Isn't writing so awesome? I just can't get over how much fun it is. And now the *work* is fun too, I'm having a blast. This has got to be the COOLEST job ever!

    Elana--I tell you it makes all the difference! Now I can't wait to edit. LOL! But I hear you on the grouchy part. You should've seen me! LOL!

    Shanti--Your book is so awesome! I can't wait to read about your success--it'll happen, I promise!

    Kristen--Yay! Thank you! We're so excited about the new baby! Good luck!

    MTeacress--LOL! Who said anything about being organized *looks around nervously* did I give you that impression? Maybe I'll have to reread this post! LOL! (thank you by the way!)

    Elizabeth!--No worries, heading over now to enter!

  17. Great story, Jenni. As always, you help me think of ways to better use my time. :) Thanks for sharing.

  18. Awesome post. Thanks for the insight, Jenni. It's hard for me to find much time for writing, lately, but I've been trying to put my family first and I figure the Lord will open up a way.

  19. Out of everything, this little secret leaped out to me: "scheduled family time." And the ability to look at rejections differently, doors closing that weren't meant to be.

    I admire your drive, your tenaciousness, and your spunk. Oh, Jenni, I love you!

  20. wow! this is inspiring. i write too - sure you never heard that one - but i don't do novels, more of the short-true-life-story in the David Sedaris style of writing. i'm pushing myself further all the time, writing more, spending more time writing, starting a podcast, and next on the list is figuring out how to make a go of it. writing is my passion and while i have always loved to tell stories -verbally- i never realized how much i would love writing them too.

    thanks again for the encouragement and insight to all writers everywhere

  21. Fantastic post, thank you! Believe it or not, this really helped me see what is slowing me down. Your insight on how to deal with writer's block is helping me get past mine. Not sure if I'm up to 4 books this year, but maybe I can finish one now ;)

  22. WOW. Thanks for posting this. I was actually wondering today how you do it? Where are you kids during the day, before 5? I have a 3 year old and a 15 month old and feel like I can't work during the day because I'm cheating them out of Mommy time. Yet, at night, I have rehearsals to go to, mtg., etc. almost every night of the week. Don't even get me started on cleaning the house. I loved the part about evil forces working against you- I was supposed to read this post today because that is how I've been feeling! Thanks for the encouragement!!

  23. I have to say this is very inspiring. I am going through a similar time of thinking everything I write is worthless, and just given up. After reading this, I realize maybe I'm wrong, and I should try to pray more before and after I write. Thanks Jenni, to be honest I was a bit envious of you, but now I'm happy for you and see that you deserve all thats going for you.