Friday, January 29, 2010

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

Hi Ya'll, this is Jenni James. Nikki and I swapped days. From here on out, I'll be your new Girl Friday & Nikki will be writing on Sunday.

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.

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!


If you want to know more about my series or me and my crazy life you can go to my website:


  1. Your secret is CONFIDENCE!! You have confidence in yourself and confidence that Lord wants you to succeed and will answer your prayers. That's always been your secret in everything you do!!

  2. What an amazing journey you have had! I wish I had the same enthusiasm as you! I'll work on my confidence, and hopefully something will become of it someday!:) Great post!

  3. You will succeed because you are an AWESOME woman. You can tell by the passion you have for writing that failure is not an option. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  4. What an incredible experience. Well done and you have a marvelous attitude. I'm very happy for you.

  5. Great post Jenni! How fun to get to know you better as a writer. I'm so thrilled for your success and I'll be looking for your book to come out.

    I see no secret here - just one woman who discovered the magic of writing, then had the daring and drive to do it and stick to it.

  6. I agree with Nikki. Confidence in your path has lead your way. It will happen for you.

  7. Hey, Jenni! You and I must be cut from the same cloth, a lot of things you do I do as well! Thank you so much for stepping up and out and sharing your game plan with the world!

    You ROCK!

  8. Nikki--um, guilty. It's true, the lord tells me to do something, I don't look back--I just leap.

    Chantele--You can do it! I know you can! If you've been feeling the need to write, then the sky's the limit for you!

    Christine--Spoken from one awesome woman herself!!! Thank you! And no, failure is not an option--well, I may fall and fall hard, but I will not fail.

    LT--Thank you! I can't wait to meet you, are you going to be at LTUE?

  9. Rebecca--LOL! I see no secret either--and thank you! You're wonderful!

    Amber--Confidence. Hmm... you know I was raised to believe I could be whoever I wanted to be... so this all goes back to mom and dad, doesn't it?

    Elizabeth--Wahoo! I love you already!



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