Ask the Agent: Finding Time to Blog

“If you’re so busy as an agent, I’m wondering how you have time to write a blog too. Is it really not as busy as all the agents claim?”

No, agenting really is an all-consuming job. But here’s my secret: I have a nanny for my kids, a housekeeper to keep things clean, I serve PB&J for dinner every night, and I pretty much ignore my husband. The dog sits under my desk so he gets more attention than anyone. Simple enough, right? Leaves plenty of time for blogging.

(Kidding, okay?)

I always find it kind of funny that we ask each other, “How do you do it all?” We make time for the things we want to do. Some people work full time and are parents and still have plenty of time to watch TV every night; or in your case, you probably do all that plus find time to write your books. Everyone makes their choices. I don’t watch much TV, don’t see many movies, don’t play computer games, and there are many other things I don’t do that I’d love to fit into my schedule, but I can’t because they’re not my priorities. (See A Lot of Things I Don’t Do on my other blog.)

I blog because I work from home and frankly, it can be pretty isolating. I enjoy the online community as a substitute for water cooler talk. I also think of it as my pro bono work, a way to “give back” to the writing community.

I typically write my blog posts in advance. I can sit down for a few hours on Sunday night and knock out two week’s worth. So it’s not like I slave over the blog for hours a day. (Sorry to ruin your impression of me.)

So… don’t worry that I’m slacking off in the work department simply because I blog. Don’t wonder how I find the time. Just know that, like you, I find the time for the things that are important to me. And, oh yeah… just to clarify… my kids have never had a nanny or been in daycare, I don’t have a housecleaning service, and between my husband and I, we manage to get a pretty healthy dinner on the table every night.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Jennifer F. on July 30, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    >I can really relate to this. The #1 question I get asked from my site is “how do you have time to blog?” since I have three children under four. Like you, it’s my main (in my case, probably my only) hobby, and it’s a way I connect with the world since I’m at home.

    I’ve also found that the TV factor is huge. A lot of my friends who ask me how I find time to blog watch at least a couple TV shows a night, which adds up to about two hours of TV per day. Not that I have anything against watching TV, but it’s amazing to me how much more time I have since I only watch it like once a week. I think people often underestimate how much time that uses.

    Anyway, thanks for another great post!

  2. elaine @ peace for the journey on July 17, 2008 at 12:54 PM

    >I am blessed for your making the time. Thank you.


  3. Elizabeth on July 16, 2008 at 9:21 PM

    >great post. it’s true…we find the time for things that we consider high enough on our list of priorities. i am a sahm and aspiring novelist and always find time to blog…it’s cheaper than therapy!

  4. Chatty Kelly on July 16, 2008 at 8:41 PM

    >I think this was my favorite blog you've done. It just made me smile, the beginning "PB&J every night" and then end – "just kidding!"

    I'm a stay at home mom and one would thing I'd have tons of time for writing, yet I only blog 3 days a week, and haven't really pushed out many articles. My kids are little and time consuming. But I have them such a short time before they grow up on me, I can hold off writing for a while.

    Now if I could just find someone else to do the laundry, life would be nearly perfect. 🙂

  5. Eric Dabbs on July 16, 2008 at 8:03 PM

    >If you love to do something, you’ll end up doing it at some point in the day. Since I work full-time, I can only dream about rising in the morning with a cup of coffee and settling before my laptop. Sometimes I get to do that on Saturday mornings, until the wife pushes me out the door to cut grass.
    As for now, most of my writing comes after working hours. That is nicely intermingled with an eight yr. old boy and a three yr. old boy fighting over anything related with Transformers. Add to that my wife loudly suggesting nicely that I take out the trash and unload the dishwasher.
    So if I complete a chapter a week, I’ve done good. Sometimes it takes much, much longer.
    As for how Rachelle is able to read query after query and proposal after proposal and even book after book…I don’t know. I can see how it could be an all consuming job.
    But then again, if you’re doing something you love, then spending lots of time doing it is not an issue.

  6. Courtney Walsh on July 16, 2008 at 7:13 PM

    >I’ve been blogging for awhile now – I started it as a way to get back in the habit of writing everyday. But I work from home too – and I have to say, I do miss adult conversation.

    I have to tell you though – one thing I WOULD recommend is having someone come clean the house just once a month. I can’t believe what a difference it made in my overall perception in feeling soooo behind on everything. With a clean house – everything doesn’t feel so out of control.

    🙂 Oh, and I do scrapbook. But those other things on your list… I don’t do those either!

  7. Pam Halter on July 16, 2008 at 1:33 PM

    >I had to laugh at Sue’s comment about the person asking about your time when they’re spending their time reading your blog! HA!

    Like me … right now, I’m reading this blog instead of cleaning the bathroom. But when I’m done, the toilet brush is mine!

  8. Marla Taviano on July 16, 2008 at 12:50 PM

    >I like you more every day.

  9. Anita Mae on July 16, 2008 at 11:48 AM

    >Okay, I’ll admit, I had wondered how you had time to blog b/c I’ve seen your happy pics with your daughters and I read your end-of-month stats.

    But my wonderment is out of respect and envy for everything you accomplish in your day.

    I’m so thankful that after 30 yrs of outside work, I can now work from my home. I don’t have to commute, or even change out of jammies if I don’t want. But there are so many distractions or should I say ‘needs’ at home. Like housework and family.

    And blogging. Well, the blogging isn’t time consuming, it’s all the time thinking about the comments I want to make on other blogs that take up my time.

    So, when I see someone else who seems to be able to juggle it all and still come out smiling, I wonder how she does it.

    Well – I’m assuming you come out smiling…I guess I’ll find out at the ACFW conf, eh?

  10. Lea Ann McCombs on July 16, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    >We all have ways of unwinding for a minute. Some grab a smoke. Some play a quick game or two on the computer. Blogging has become a release for many people, a way to let off steam as well as connect with others.

    The older I get, I notice it is harder for me to embrace the swiftly-changing technology-based down-times, but I’m trying!

    Come visit my blog!

  11. SLING WORDS aka Joan Reeves on July 16, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    >Find time? No one finds time. One makes time for the things one wishes to do. It all depends on your hierarchy of priorities.

    One thing that helped me immensely was the scheduling feature Blogger rolled out. Sweet.

  12. Sue on July 16, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    >I love it when people question how I’m using my time, as they’re, you know, sitting around READING MY BLOG.

  13. Kristin Laughtin on July 16, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    >I think the misconception about you not possibly having time to blog due to your agent work springs from the fact that so many agents post on their blogs about how constantly busy they are. But to think about it rationally, there are 24 hours in a day, and blogging doesn’t have to take that long to do. We all make time for the things we want to do. Yeah, sometimes I wonder how I’m going to keep balancing writing with everything else in my life, either now or in the future, when really, there is plenty of time to do most things. It just requires some good time-management skills.

  14. LurkerMonkey on July 16, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    >Boy, are you ever right … I work from home, too, and sometimes I wonder what other people look like. I try to get to the gym every day as a way to get out, move around, get stuff done. Then I sweat at the keyboard all morning. A little gross, I know. But at least my body fat percentage is relatively under control 🙂

    I started officially blogging last week (not personal, but for a job), and it’s a greater challenge than I thought. My work blog involves research and original photography, so it actually takes a bit of time. I haven’t hit my stride yet. It makes me admire you consistent types all the more.

    But there is something nice about building an audience with a blog. It’s very … personal. Even more than other forms of publication. There’s a give and take with your readers that you don’t get in books, magazines and newspapers. It was funny. The first comment I got actually made me nervous. Thank goodness it was nice …

    Thanks, Rachelle, and enjoy your summer.

  15. Susan J. Reinhardt on July 16, 2008 at 10:15 AM

    >I started blogging the end of May. One of the things I had to decide was how often I’d post. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday work well.

    Time management is a challenge for me as well. TV and hobbies take a backseat to the important stuff: my relationship with the Lord, family, writing, blogging, my business, and my job. When my day job goes full time, everything will once again have to shift.

    I admire those who manage to handle children along with all their other responsibilities. Thanks, Rachelle, for writing your blog. (I might try writing a bunch of posts at one time. Great idea.)

    Susan 🙂

  16. sheriboeyink on July 16, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    >I’m with Kim. I just started blogging a few weeks ago and love it. It’s fun to “meet” other writers, see how they are doing, what their blog looks like, etc. I too wondered, Rachelle, how you kept up with everything. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Camille Cannon (Eide) on July 16, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    >Very true about what we choose to make a priority – and, if I’m honest, which happens on occasion, I may have chosen to make priorities out of things that don’t really belong at the top of my list and pushed ones that do belong further down the list. I could SAY I don’t have time for them…. and some who see my life on cursory glance might believe that, but you and I know better.

    I don’t have to find time to write or blog. I steal it from weeding, laundry, and toilet scrubbing. 🙂

    I guess you have to decide what you value and choose a healthy balance.

  18. Jessica on July 16, 2008 at 8:56 AM

    >You’re so funny! Too true. I have three kids under four and people ask me how I managed to write a book. But it’s all in the priorities, just like you said.
    I don’t drive around a lot, I’m pretty much stay at home. So I’ve got a lot of useful time on my hands to get things done.
    I like your blog and have never thought that you might be skipping work to write it.

  19. Rosslyn Elliott on July 16, 2008 at 7:40 AM

    >I completely agree that blogging can be a very healthy activity in a world that is increasingly non-communal. Our family has made major interstate moves twice in the last six years. When I felt lonely after the second move, starting a blog helped me regain a sense of connection to my long-time friends. I also found that the blogs of people at our new church helped me get to know them more quickly, which made me feel more comfortable in our new community.

    Our world moves at too fast a pace, and many of us don’t sit on front porches anymore to chat and drink coffee. Blogs are our new front porches. They allow us to slow down and have some of the conversations that would otherwise be precluded by time and distance.

  20. Kim Kasch on July 16, 2008 at 1:16 AM

    >I just started blogging on Friday and I love it. It’s just another form of writing for me – like a diary but less personal.

    Yours is different Rachelle. Yours is an unselfish forum, where you make time to help all of us newbie writers find our way in the wide-wonderful-world of writing.

    A giant “Thanks!” and if you want to stop by to peek at my not-so-personal (yeah-right) blog, it’s