Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, writes the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. She additionally currently writes the K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense about a ranch where dogs are trained, as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne. And yes, they all involve dogs. Her most recent release is her 46th published novel, with more to come…soon.
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I’m thrilled that I’m having four novels traditionally published this year. I love being busy.
But can you be too busy doing what you love? Oh, yes!
I’m used to having deadlines, of course, with my fourth book this year to be my 50th published novel, as I mentioned before. And I’ve always been able to negotiate deadlines that work for me.
This past week, though, was a bit nuts. I already had a February 1 deadline for the fourth book of the year, which will be my last paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne. I then received some detailed copy edits for my fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery, which will be published in May by Midnight Ink–and the revisions also had a February 1 deadline. And in the middle of this, I had to take time out to come up with some additional title ideas for the second of my K-9 Ranch Rescue romantic suspense novels to be published this year by Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
I also had family things to do, including responding often to my dogs’ requests to go outside while I’m sitting at my computer working. Obviously that can’t be ignored. Neither can demands to be snuggled. Plus, I’m taking my younger dog to her second round of obedience classes and need to practice what she learns with her. We also had family in town whom we got together with a lot for meals and more. And then there’s the normal stuff: sleeping, eating, shopping and more.
So how do I deal with it–and how should you, whether or not you’re a writer, handle it all? For whoever you are, and whatever you’re doing, we all face times when there’s more to do than we hope or expect.
The answer? Just dig in and do it! And yes, I recognize that we all have lives in addition to our writing. Some of us have full time jobs, young families who aren’t only pets, and other responsibilities as well.
So… expect it. Plan for it. Think about it, don’t obsess–but do it. Schedule things the best way you can, and recognize that those things may change as you go along. You’ll adapt. You have to.
So where am I? Well, I sent in my title ideas and received word that they chose something similar to, but not identical with, one of my suggestions. I finished and sent in my Barkery edit comments first, and I’m currently finishing the manuscript for my last Nocturne. I feel pretty good about how I’d been able to work it all out, although all I had to do meant I haven’t had much time to work on two ideas I’ve had in the meantime for some additional stories. But that’s okay. February 2 is on its way, and then I’ll only be under a June 1 deadline for my next book.
Soon it’ll be time for ideas to flow!
14 thoughts on “Hot to do Everything by Linda O. Johnston”
“Just do it.” Great advice for anybody… period. It doesn’t matter what one’s job is, if you sit and worry, you get nothing done. And the more lines you draw through finished projects, the fewer things you have to finish. And here’s a secret: the more you do, the more you KNOW you can do. It really works. We are all impressed with those 50 books under your belt, Linda. You let us know there are really people who can do it. And maybe, just maybe, we can do a little more ourselves. Thanks for the pep talk. Now I have to get back to my 20th book. At least it’s a start.
Twenty books? Fantastic, gbpool! And I’m sure you’ll keep at it.
Four novels! Good grief–I had ONE published last year and it practically took over my whole life. I don’t think I could have managed four. But you are so right: just dig in and do it, as best you can. I have many of the same distractions that you shared with us, but there are ways to work around them if you keep your goals in sight. I think that’s the key–keep the long view in mind and work towards it. My mantra for those crazy times: “I’m doing the best I can.” Perfection may go out the window, but the essential job gets done, right?
I suspect perfection is there, too–especially since you’re doing the best you can, Bonnie! Just keep writing.
I’m in awe! One book a year is my goal and I have to push to get there–so your energizing pep talk was wonderful. And I must give you Kudos, Linda–your accomplishments are quite inspiring. Great post.
Thanks! One book a year sounds great. Whatever works for you is the way to go!
Just do it! I love it. Thank you so much for reminding us that simple advice is the best.
Like Bonnie, I will let one book take over my life (I’ll even let a task do that). I imagine that your legal background gave you good time management skills as well. The most productive authors I know were, or are, lawyers.
I see that you’re on the list for Malice. I look forward to seeing you there.
I was a lot more efficient in my use of time when I was both practicing law and writing–but I somehow manage! And I’ll look forward to seeing you at Malice, too.
Oh, the stress! It can hammer down on your head, or it can kick you in the butt. Deadlines, whether contractual or self-imposed, are like that for me. Your advice – to “just dig in and do it” – rings true. Better to let the stress motivate you than grind you down. And congratulations on the 50 – quite an achievement!
Thanks, Miko. Yes, stress can be difficult, but it also helps provide incentive to keep on going!
I find the older I get, the more I forget. 🙂 As long as it makes it to a written list, I have a 50% chance of getting it done. I wish I had your energy.
Written lists do help–and I do a lot of them on my computer to keep all my characters, locations, etc. as correct as possible since I write multiple series at once. And energy? I wish!
I, too, am so impressed with all that you accomplish, Linda. And you always seem so organized to me. You must be to have written 50 books. And yet you still have time for your family and your dogs. Impressive indeed. Thanks for an insight into your working day.
Me? Organized? Not really, but thanks for the assumption–and for the comment. 🙂