The Writer’s Life with Author Karen Cioffi

How does a writer write – what’s a typical day?

I’m sure no two writers have the same writing schedule. Life usually has a way of putting aside our best laid plans. Having said that, I know it’s important to have a plan, preferably a weekly plan so you know where you’re heading that week, and what you need to accomplish.

I start my week attempting to make a plan, but my mistake is always the same: I log onto my yahoo email account – my day is no longer my own. You would think I would have learned by now to get some work done before I check my mail. But, in my defense, I run an author tour group, and have a number of writing clients that I have to be sure aren’t looking for me. Okay, I know that’s an excuse, I guess habits are just hard to break. 

And, it’s not just the mail that draws my attention and time away, it’s also all the emails from marketers. Which ones should I open? Which ones may I need for my clients’ article writing? Which will teach me new marketing strategies? Which will have great writing advice? Depending on the number of marketing emails, my morning disappears. If I’m really behind on my work, I just delete all non-essential marketing emails – out of sight, out of mind! 

Anyway, in the morning, before I go to the computer, I try to get household chores done. Then, I wander over to the computer. After I check my mail and respond to what I have to (each day the amount of time varies), I tackle my work. And, I forgot to mention, I babysit my two little grandsons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so those days I may not get on the computer at all. 

Interestingly, I seemed to have strayed from writing for children exclusively. I ventured into ghostwriting, first for children’s books, and then for article writing for businesses, as well as editing/ghostwriting other works. I think because of my accounting background I have a knack for this type of writing and keep getting more clients. This definitely takes away from my own children’s writing. I have three works-in-progress that are sitting on the back burner for the time being. And, my children’s fantasy in contract with 4RV isn’t due to come out until the end of 2011, or the very beginning of 2012. 

What’s a little difficult about the ghostwriting is that you never know when a client will want additional work that week, so it’s hard to have a steady schedule. Or, if you get a new client on board. . . What some writers may not realize is that having a freelance business isn’t just about writing – it’s bookkeeping, managing, organizing, corresponding, and writing. And, if you need to hire subcontractors there is even more work involved. Okay, sorry, I’ve strayed off topic. Often I find myself playing catch up. So, that’s my typical writing day.


Day's End Lullaby

Learn more about Karen and her book at


8 comments on “The Writer’s Life with Author Karen Cioffi

  1. E-mail. I love to hate it, but it still draws me in! Why is that something that is supposed to make our lives easier just ends up making life more complicated! Anyway, congrats on your many writing projects. You sound like you juggle quite a lot, and manage to do it well!


  2. Thanks for being a host Kristi.

    Karen, your writing life sounds like mine somewhat. The part where you watch your grandkids is exactly what I do too. By the time I get to the computer I am tired. The main thing is to focus and genres change. I don’t have much going on with writing for children but the beauty of being a writer is the opportunity to write about your passion. Congratulations on your success.


  3. First off, congratulations on having a ghost writing career that hopefully is bringing you in regular income. I know many who would be more than willing to put their own personal writing on a back burner for a paycheck.

    I have a little different problem. As soon as I get up, I hit the computer. I check to see if I have email responses to submissions or critique feedbacks. Then I immediately start reviewing and rewriting. Before I know it, a couple of hours have past. Good thing I work at home. So when I get around to doing housework, I use that time to muse over new writing. My vacuuming last week inspired me to write a devotional about exercising my spiritual muscles.


  4. Thank you so much for featuring me today, Kristi. And, thank you Donna for stopping by.

    I’m on my laptop by my daughter’s and it’s so slow it’s driving me crazy!


  5. Kristi:

    Thank you for hosting Karen today. Ahh, the lure of email. I know the feeling all to well. I too try my best to work first than tackle email, but you already know how that goes. It’s amazing how we think we are going down one path and then we get directed somewhere else. Sounds like you are doing well, keep up the great work!

    Bests wishes to you both,


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