Monday, October 11, 2010

Guest Blogger, Jody Hedlund

It’s my pleasure today to welcome debut author Jody Hedlund as the special guest blogger at Thoughts in Progress.

Jody’s historical romance novel, THE PREACHER’S BRIDE, made its formal appearance on store shelves Oct. 1. Jody joins us today to talk about “enjoying our gifts.” In addition, Jody is giving away one copy of her new release to one lucky person who comments on her blog between now and 8 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Oct. 18. Be sure to include your e-mail address if it’s not included in your profile. Now, here’s Jody.

“Writing is a way to escape from the hard realities of life,” my stylist said as she lifted a long strand of my hair and snipped. “Really, when I write, I feel like I’m getting a break.”

“I can completely relate.” I held my head still even though I wanted to jump up and down and nod in agreement.

“My husband just doesn’t get it.” Her fingers and the scissors danced around my head. “But after working full time and taking care of the kids, I need something to take my mind off everything else. My writing and reading do that.”

“I hear you. I need something else to focus on too—besides my kids and homeschooling.” My hair-standing-on-end, wet-dog reflection in the mirror stared back at me. “When we’re busy and life is crazy, writing is really—well, like a gift. Isn’t it?”

The recent conversation with my stylist is similar to ones I’ve
had with other friends over the past year. Maybe not all my friends are writers like my stylist or me. But many of us are struggling with the same issues—being busy and trying to balance our time. The pressures and demands of our hectic lives begin to take their toll on us.

What I’ve realized is that writing really is a gift. At this point in my life, when I’m busy with the demands of mothering and teaching and running a house, my stories give me a lovely escape, something else to focus on for a little while besides the everyday craziness around me.

Sure, I still look at my writing as a job, something I take seriously. But it’s also a pleasure and an enjoyment that adds refreshment, creativity, and joy to my life.

Don’t we all need something like that in our lives, something out of the ordinary that takes us away from the mundane tediousness of everyday life?

Maybe it’s gardening, or playing the piano, or running, or reading, or any number of activities. Whatever it is, if it makes us a healthier, better person, then we should embrace it, see it as a gift, something special to treasure.

Life is short. It happens in a blink. And sometimes we get going so fast and furiously that we forget to take the time for the things that bring us joy.

I don’t want to get so caught up in the crazy pace that I forget to savor the pure joys of living—the shared giggles with my twin daughters, the butterfly kisses with my youngest daughter, the whispered dreams of my little guy, and so much more.

And my writing. For all the hardships that accompany the writing life, I don’t want to forget it really is all about the pleasure of weaving stories. It truly is a gift, especially at this busy season in my life.

What about you? Are you savoring life? Are you taking the time to do the things that you enjoy?

Jody, thanks for blogging here today. You make pose a couple of excellent questions. Sometimes I think we don’t stop long enough to savor life or take a few minutes out of the day to truly enjoy something. For me, reading is one of my pleasures so I’m thankful that writers, such as yourself, enjoy writing.

Here’s a brief synopsis of THE PREACHER’S WIFE: In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.

Now for a little background on Jody. She is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently Jody makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.

Jody is represented by agent Rachelle Gardner and her debut book, The Preacher’s Bride, is available online and in most bookstores. You can also stop by her blog, Author, Jody Hedlund, where she chronicles her journey to publication and dispenses more of her two-cent writing wisdom


  1. I;ve put Jody's book Preacher's Wife on my TBR read list since I see it all over Blogdom. I think this is a book I can read with my wife. I have two more books ahead of it and can read it beginning of November. Looking forward to it and best wishes for Jody and her success.

    Stephen Tremp

  2. Congratulations on your release, Jody! And I completely agree with you that writing is a gift--and we should savor it.

  3. It, writing, IS a gift, and you have it - glad to see you putting it to good use. Best wishes with your debut book!

  4. Jody, thanks for stopping by today and talking about your gift. I'm thankful everyday for writers.

    Stephen, Elizabeth, and Marvin, thanks for stopping by. Each of you have the wonderful writing gift too.

  5. Jody's post really struck a chord! It is tough to strike a balance, For us, certain times of year are busier than others and it's tough to find time to decompress--whether it's reading or catching up on a new fall show with my hubby. The Preacher's Bride looks good too, I haven't read any Puritan based stories for a long time. Congrats on the new release!

  6. Hi Jody! You're everywhere in my Google Reader today. :)

    Just this past year I decided to take my writing seriously and I can feel the change in my attitude. I feel happier and more productive after I've spent time lost in my stories. Thanks for making the point and reminding all of us to enjoy life!

  7. To be able to call our passion our work is a great place to be in. It just doesn't feel like work when we're immersed in something we love.

  8. Lovely post Jody. I hope you will continue to find evasion in your writing despite having deadlines. It's such a treat to enjoy your job.

  9. Hi Everyone!! Thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement! As writers, we're so lucky to be able to do something we absolutely love, aren't we?

  10. Congratulations on your new book which sounds like a great read. Writing is a gift, and we should take advantage of our opportunities to use it for good! Balancing time never gets any easier, I've found!
    Thank you for your post.


  11. Writing is a gift, but it creates an amazing balancing act. Left to my own devices, I'd probably be a hermit alone with the computer. I'm glad I have people who keep me from that.

  12. Mason, thank you for sharing Jody with us.

    Jody is a supportive writer. She shares her knowledge with no need or want in return. I have learned so much from her. I have her book on my birthday wishlist.

    Thanks for sharing, Jody. I am so envious. My stylist speaks only Greek. It is a dot-dash-dot type of conversation that we enjoy. :)

  13. It's not always easy to find balance in our lives. I'm still working on it.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with a fellow writer. Isn't it fun to have someone to talk to!

  14. I do feel like writing is a gift, one that gives a great deal to me but one that takes a great deal from me as well. It's the kind of work I think of as a labor of love. At times it can be exhausting; at others it can be energizing. But it's almost always enjoyable.

    Thanks for sharing Jody's post. Please don't enter me in the drawing. I have an autographed copy of her book. =)

  15. I love this approach, and it is very much mine. I love to write and it is an escape, a fun trip to fantasyland that hopefully, if you're good enough, you can turn into a paying gig... :D

    I've seen her book. Will add to TBR list~ :o)

  16. Mason, thank you for sharing about Jody and her new book, and I'll be heading over to her blog for a visit.

    Jody, congratulations! I agree that writing is a gift and whatever our gifts are, they can make us better people and should be treasured.

  17. I agree with your sentiment, Jody. I don't want to get so caught up in 'things' that I forget to live.

  18. So well put! For me, writing is still not a job, only a wonderful way of escaping from what *is* work.

  19. No, I'm not. Or at least I haven't been. But writing is a bright spot in a lot of disappointment. And I do find that it helps concentrate the mind and give a secondary purpose to my life.

    Congratulations on your first book, Jody!


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  21. My copy is right next to me right now!

  22. Jody's book is on my TBR list. I've been following her blog for quite some time, it's chock full of great advice for writers.

  23. This book is already on my TBR list.
    I am a follower of her blog.
    You have a wonderful Gift!
    Thank you!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.