The Writing Process 2015: Multitasking for Novelists

Multitasking for Novelists

If you’re new to The Writing Process 2015, these posts are a chance to share my journey through my latest novel, starting right at ground zero.

What do you get when you cross promotion and creativity? Nothing simple, that’s for sure. Truthfully sometimes you get a cranky novelist who loses the thread when she’s writing her new book because she’s still thinking about last year’s book that just hit stores.

Multitasking for novelists isn’t a modern hazard, but these days we’re asked to do so many different things, and do them immediately, that more often than not we find ourselves switching from one to the other at the speed of light. I don’t think Dickens ever had to figure out the mysteries of Facebook algorithms, or, bless him, think of a website as anything other than a place for spiders to hang out and spin.

This week that cranky novelist would be me. The Color of Light came out on the 28th of July, and with it a need to let my readers know it was for sale. After all, what’s the point of all the work of writing a novel if nobody knows it’s now at bookstores for them to enjoy?

So the past two weeks have looked something like this:

  • Write the next chapters of When We Were Sisters.
  • Conduct a page count of what I’ve written and decide which plot threads to sever, which to tie off, which to add.
  • Answer truly excellent questions about The Color of Light for
  • Find the perfect giveaway for one of my faithful newsletter readers that captures the book.
  • Blog about The Color of Light here and elsewhere.
  • Create and send a newsletter featuring The Color of Light and announce the giveaway.
  • Rewrite the back cover copy for When We Were Sisters because I don’t like what I was given.
  • Rewrite the back cover copy for When We Were Sisters because my editor didn’t like my alternative.
  • Rejoice that now editor and I are on the same page–no pun intended–at last.
  • Add new pages for The Color of Light to my website.
  • Learn to use website management program to add those pages.
  • Ask for new website program for pages I can’t change.
  • Research foster care and documentary film making specifics for When We Were Sisters.
  • Post on my Facebook Page, answer mail, and tweet about both books.

Get the idea? Two books, two different skill sets needed.

Right now The Color of Light is holding its own at bookstores and with reviewers, and I “think” I’m in the final third of When We Were Sisters. This means I’ve gotten through the dreaded middle, and I’m heading for the home stretch. I haven’t yet read everything I have. I’m debating when to do that. Will it help or hinder, because I’m incapable of reading without making changes as I go. Biologically incapable. Sometimes I stop at this point to read and reassess, and sometimes I don’t. I’m still weighing the possibilities.

Blend into this all the activities of the summer season at Chautauqua Institution, my informal job editing a book my husband has written, and time in Cleveland with family.

Multitasking for novelists is a fact of life. The good news? This job is never boring. And going back and forth between these two books is like chatting with an old friend while learning tolove a new one.

I may get cranky from time to time, but two books? Don’t worry. I know how lucky I am.


  1. Jeanne Adamek on August 4, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I understand your crankiness, you have a lot on you plate. I would like to tell you, though, I am reading The Color of Light and loving every moment I can spend reading it, it is wonderful.

    I am also looking forwards to reading When We Were Sisters…


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