Sunday, April 4, 2010

Juggling Multiple Writing Projects



Credit for Picture:
www.shadowscapes.com

Klo recently asked me in the comments if I have a hard time juggling more than one writing project at a time.

The answer is no! In fact, I need to have several projects going on to keep me on my feet. I usually have 1 major WIP, and then a few shorts to keep my writing fresh. Sometimes I get stuck on my WIP and need time away from it to think things over, and I want to get to my 1k word count for that day, so I work on something else.

How do I do it?

* I keep lists next to my computer. Whether it be word building lists, chapter lists, POV lists, whatever to keep the characters, setting, and plot straight.

* I always read the previous day's writing before going on to submerse myself into the world.

* I always have the next chapter or event planned out in my head before going on. I do this while driving to my ridiculously far away job at the University or while folding laundry :)

Thanks, Klo for asking! Who has multiple projects going? How do you keep things straight?

25 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I have multiple writing projects : a YA fantasy {think AUNTIE MAME meets THE TWILIGHT ZONE meets JOHN WAYNE}, two sequels {one to a historical fantasy set in 1853, the other in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.}

Whew!

I take the same tack that I used while getting my two university degrees. I tackle a bit of each one every day. Read the research books a bit every day too {reading multiple books at the same time is also a habit picked up during university days.} And some days, I just lay fallow. I mean, if even dirt needs a rest from being leeched, doesn't the human mind?

Come check out my blog, will you? You may like it. http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.com/.

A wandering cyber-pilgrim, Roland

sarahjayne smythe said...

I've generally got a couple of things going at any given time. I currently have my WIP that I'm hoping to have a finished first draft of in a little less than six months, and I have a short story I'm submitting sometime in April. I'm pretty good at prioritizing. :)

Charmaine Clancy said...

I usually have many projects at once but at the moment I have an editing project and a writing project and I do find sometimes my brain doesn't switch from one to the other. After editing I try a relaxing writing exercise to switch into creative mode.

I am a notebook junkie and keep every project in a separate notebook - I also have to shop for the perfect notebook before I can start, the style has to reflect my narrative - but that's more of a shopping issue I have than writing. :-)

Christi Goddard said...

Well, I'm lame. I'm querying one, writing one, and blogging. That's it. I probably have time for more, but I'm a terrible procrastinator.

Michelle H. said...

I have multiple projects going also. I have a completed ms I need to do a final read-through and finish off the query before submitting to agents. I need to revise another ms before resubmitting. I have two blogs I need to update periodically. And I have several freelance articles I need to work on.

I don't keep notes on anything except the articles - for research. Other than that, I keep everything pretty separated inside my head.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Thanks for the kind words on my latest post. The tact I have taken on my novel allows me to tackle the questions that haunt us all. I am allowed to view them now from multiple perspectives : from one of faith, one of wistful agnosticism, another of grasping ego, and so forth. It has added depth to my novel I think. Thanks again for caring enough to write.

You have a beautiful blog, Roland

Summer said...

I definitely juggle projects. I'm revising one MS, finishing/revising another, revising a short story, and I'm always open to new ideas for short stories or poems. Keeps the mind fresh, you're right!

KLo said...

I am jealous : )

(Or else just really, really disorganized ... guess I found my new improvement goal :-))

Thanks for starting a conversation on this topic--it's great : )

Christine said...

I like to have a novel going and a short story. I don't like doing more than one short story at a time. I like to focus in and get one done at a time. Then there's querying and editing on the side!

I hope you had a Happy Easter! I wish I had a sense of taste to enjoy a little chocolate. I don't have one now with this darn cold!

Sandy Shin said...

I am jealous that you can juggle multiple writing projects at the same time. I always have several projects that clamor for my attention, but I can only focus on one at a time, though I do let the others stew in the backburner, sometimes jotting down plot ideas if they hit. I'm definitely keeping your advice in mind when I venture to write multiple projects at the same time!

M. Gray said...

If I could have it my way, I would only work on one story at a time. So I'm impressed you like to juggle several. I get so obsessed with a project that I get impatient when I have to wait for others' critiques. Good for you--that's all I have to say!

Theresa Milstein said...

That's great that you can juggle multiple projects. When I'm doing something new, I want to stay in that voice. If it's editing and new or editing and editing, then I'm okay.

Hope you're enjoying this wonderful weather. 'Bout time.

Jackee said...

These are great tips! I'll be stealing some, thanks!

I have a little magnet board where I rotate projects around between "phases". Basically it's a queque where they know when it's their turn to be written, plotted, or revised. :o)

Lana Griffin said...

I'm always behind on everything these days! I find that when I try to juggle too much, I get lost in the tangle and nothing moves forward sufficiently.

Cherie Reich said...

I, too, do multiple projects, although I do try to keep my short stories one at a time.

Most projects are in my head. Every so often, I'll get out, write a chapter here, edit a chapter there, plan the next chapter in my mind, and then I'll have another project idea that I'll work on an outline for or something to that effect.

I typically read the last chapter I wrote, as well, before I write the next one or the entire short story before I continue where I left off, depending on which it is.

I must admit, though, that I do the majority of my writing in my head before I ever type it up. I keep it departmentalized in there, too. I imagine boxes or files in my brain filled with information on whatever projects I'm working on, then I'll go there when I need to work on that project. *laughs* I'm a little strange, though.

Lola Sharp said...

This is my first time here (somehow)...hi!

I can only work on one novel at a time. I do other creative things, plus blog, and I read a book/day-ish.

But I am constantly writing down shiny new ideas in my notebook. But I don't start on them until I'm finished with the on I'm working on...or else the lure of the Shiny New Idea will pull me away from ever finishing the last idea,

Great blog. I hope you don't mind if I stick around.

Happy Monday,
Lola

Julie Dao said...

I'm the sort of person who is more productive when I have more things going on. I have a novel that I'm revising, and another that I'm trying to complete very soon. It keeps me on my toes and it helps to switch between them. Keeps things fresh :) I also have a notebook of lists that helps me stay organized.

Bethany Mattingly said...

I've had multiple projects before, though not right now, and I end up mixing all the information I have on all the projects in one bunch which isn't too helpful now that I think about it...hmmm, something to work on ha ha ha

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Awesome tips!! I have a couple writing projects at any one time, but I only really give my full attention to one. I switch to another only when I'm seriously stuck with the first.

Have a fab day!

Talli Roland said...

I find it hard! I'm under deadline for some non-fiction travel writing I do under another name... but I keep that separate by looking at it as 'work' rather than my fiction which is pleasure! I write fiction in the morning then do non-fiction in the afternoon - I need lunch in the middle to keep them separate!

Carol Kilgore said...

Yes on multiple projects, although usually only one is new - where I'm actually creating.

Southpaw said...

Same here as far as multiple projects. I have a couple of flash fiction pieces I’m working on and brainstorming my next major project.

Elana Johnson said...

Cool! I used to be able to write one project and edit another. I haven't been able to write on two projects at once before. And now I only have time to do one writing project at a time.

Kris said...

Aubrie - thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I don't always have multiple projects, but sometimes! I just finished two freelance projects, but the WIP took a break during that time. Now, I'm back to revisions and thinking about the querying process...Good luck with your multi-tasking!

CMZ Art/ Rustic Goth said...

I don't have writing projects, but I sure do have plenty of other projects going at the same time.
Sounds like you have a plan that works..perhaps I need to get myself as organized.