The Writer's Life with Children's Author Karen Cioffi

Writing itself has a number of rules that need to be adhered to, but that said, I don’t think any two writers have the same writing routine, and while I’m sure many writers have a typical writing day, I’m not one of them. Although, I am working on becoming more structured in this area.

Between babysitting my grandsons two days a week, taking care of a house and cooking . . . and a husband, and throwing in doctor appointments, my weeks themselves vary. Add to this ghosting projects and other writing projects that come along and, well, it’s tough to stick to a routine. But as my writing coach, Suzanne Lieurance always tells me, you MUST make the time to move your ‘real’ goals forward and stick to a weekly writing schedule if you want to realize your personal writing goals. So, I’m working hard at it.

In general though, my routine is to check my emails when I first get on the computer. While this can be a ‘bad’ thing, I do it in case a client or someone else in the writing world is trying to contact me. If I have a timely project that needs to get done, I’ll forego checking my emails in the morning.

My problem with checking emails or going online isn’t because of social networks or entertainment – I get sidetracked with informative emails. A writing or marketing article, webinar, etc. will have me off and running. I do try to watch it though. If I’m busy, I’ll save the email and go back to it at a later time.

I do have one rule that’s consistent - my clients’ work always gets done on time.

After I do the needed writing for the day, I’ll check in on my writing groups. There are some days I’m just too busy though. Depending on what I’m doing, If it’s something timely or I’m engrossed in, I’ll be at the computer till around 11 PM. But, the days I babysit, I don’t get much done.

As far as where I write, I wish I had an office. Unfortunately, I work in a corner of my dining room at a computer desk that has two additional shelves above the monitor area. The keyboard slides out from under the monitor shelf. Under that are two shelves that have paper, books, the router, lots of wires, and the computer box. Above the monitor shelf is another shelf that holds my printer and telephone, above that is another shelf that holds my fax machine and pictures of my grandsons.

Along with my business writing, for my personal creative writing I use the computer. I’ve tried writing on paper, but my thoughts are just too fast for my handwriting. Another feature I like that the computer offers is the ‘backspace’ and ‘delete’ buttons. As soon as I realize I want to change something, like magic, it’s revised. I do keep notepads around to jot down ‘sparks of inspiration’ or to jot down something I forgot to do or need to do. But, the computer is my favorite writing tool. And, I just upgraded to a new Dell computer with 6 GB of memory and a 1 TB hard drive, along with MS Word 2010, so I’m in writing heaven.


Mayra Calvani said…
It's a pleasure having you on my blog today, Karen!
Magdalena Ball said…
It was fun to read about your work habits and environment Karen. I also have my 'work area' in an open area - right in the living room, though I'll often take my laptop to another room if I need quiet.
Karen Cioffi said…
Mayra, thank you so much for featuring me during my book tour!

Maggie, My dining room is quiet enough for me, but I do take my laptop with me when I go to my daugther's to babysit.

Thanks so much for visiting!
Karen Cioffi said…
Mayra, Not sure if it's me, but your Share buttons below the post don't work. Just a heads up. :)
Donna McDine said…
Hi Mayra:

Thank you for hosting Karen today. Your support is always appreciated!

Hi Karen:

I enjoyed learning more about your writing day. Flexibility as an author who freelances is imperative. Keep up the great work!

Best regards,
Award-winning Children’s Author
The Golden Pathway story book Blog
Write What Inspires You Blog
Unknown said…
Hey Karen,
Good to hear about you and your work. You are an amazing and inspirational woman.
Unknown said…
I loved learning more about your life.

Bravo on the new cover-it has a warm and cozy feel and a big world, big dream quality that touches my heart.
Kathryn said…

Thanks for sharing your "Writer's Life" with us. I find making at least one hour a day "my" hour to work on goals, helps me to get the momentum going. Then that one hour often leads into two or three hours!

Love the cover of your book. It is very warm and welcoming!

NancyCL said…
Thanks much for posting! Great article!
Kate Dolan said…
It sounds like you have a pretty balanced approach to your home life, creative and other writing. I know I am too random and waste a lot of time (though it never seems "wasty" at the time) I need to take the words of your writing coach to heart!
Cheryl said…
Life sure is a juggling act, isn't it? Keep up the great work, Karen.
Anonymous said…
Karen, I really enjoyed learning more about you.

I also prefer my computer for writing because I can type as fast as my mind is going - not so with pen and paper.

I heard your "Book Bites" interview, too. Much success with Day's End Lullaby!

T. Forehand said…
Wonderful to read about your work and the writing life. Congratulations on your success.
Karen Cioffi said…
Blogger is acting up and hasn't been taking my comments. Here I go again,

Donna, Flexibility is really key to the freelancing life. Thanks so much for your support.

Billie, Thanks so much. It's a struggle, but time is going to pass whether I strive to achieve my writing goals or not - might as well strive away. :)

Kathy, Yes, Kurt did a great job on the illos - thanks for recommending him!
Karen Cioffi said…
Kathryn, Thanks so much for stopping by. I try to keep asking myself: Is this working toward my goals or making me money? And, if I forget Suzanne reminds me. :)

Nancy, Thanks for stopping by!

Kate, I struggle with staying focused all the time, specifically because of emails. I currently have close to 700 emails and over 350 are unread. It's kind of stressful having so many. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Karen Cioffi said…
Cheryl, thanks so much for stopping by. And, yes, life is a juggling act!

Kathy M, Wow, I'm so glad you hear my spot on Book Bites with Suzanne. I never think anyone is listening. :) And, thanks so much for stopping by.

Terri, Thanks so much for your support!
Anonymous said…
Wow Karen, you are one busy lady! You definitely have to keep flexible to get everything done for your writing.

I think that it's great that you get the chance to spend a couple of days a week with your grandchildren.
Karen Cioffi said…
Susanne, Thanks so much for stopping by. And, yes, I love the time with my grandchildren. It's a lot of work, but I love it! :)
Karen Cioffi said…
Kathryn, You're the 3rd place winner from the book tour, but I can't find an email address for you.

Please contact me at:
karenrcfv - at - yahoo [dot] com