Saturday, August 15, 2009

One project or many?

I find that I cannot work on more than one project at a time. It's tempting to try, but whenever I do try, I get completely blocked on all projects.

How about you? Have you ever revised one novel while drafting another, for example? Do you write a short story half-way through, set it aside to write another, and then go back and finish the first story? Do you think you can get the same result from multi-tasking your projects that you would get if you worked on one at a time?


  1. Can't do it. I have to work on one book at a time.

    I am thinking about my next one, while editing the current one, but that's about as far as it goes.

  2. I sorta work on multiple projects at once. I only draft, edit, or right new material on one at a time, but I will flip flop from one to the other. I usually try to stick to one project, but if I'm having problems on my current wip I'll go an edit another or write a short story. That sorta thing.

  3. I'm on deadline for a first draft due to Berkley Prime Crime on Sept. 1, promoting a release from a different publisher that came out on Aug. 1, and writing a 3rd. And it does trip me up, definitely. I'm just trying to prioritize what I need to do each day. I'd love to hear others' tips.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. I was going to say I write a few first chapters of different stories until I pick one and run with it, until I read Elizabeth's comment. Wait, I still said it...

  5. I can only work on one WIP at at time. I usually have to finish it before I can move on. However, I can leave something in "editing" phase and work on another project, then come back to it.

  6. I've just focused on one thing at a time in the past. I don't think that I've even tried more than one creative project at once.

    Fun picture on this post. The multi-tasking that I do (or attempt to do) is just everything in life on top of writing, so I can still relate to the picture.

  7. I can work on around 2-3 different projects (character development, plot points, etc) at a time, but I can't work on two projects of the same vein (i.e. 2 different stories' character developments) if that makes sense.

    My problem has always been actually FINISHING something! hah I have all of these started and abandoned projects, but no endings in sight!


  8. Hey LG!

    I also work on one at a time. Too many CIH otherwise (characters in head). However, when I'm working on a new draft, I'm often editing an older, different WIP. It requires different parts of my brain and I like the change.

    Great post!

  9. I seem to be in the minority as I need to have multiple projects going at once in order to be really productive. I usually have a priority project and then other WIPs at earlier stages of development that I use to free my mind up when I get stuck on the main project.

  10. I'm such a writer who must outline -or at least get the whole story drawn out in my head- before I undertake the task of writing it out. I've read that many writers start writing a story or novel without the ending in mind, so that they have to keep writing to see how their stories turn out. (I suppose (and not that this matters in the least) that these are the writers who really believe that the stories they write are already written, and they're just tapping into the [ethereal] creative genius).
    But to answer the blogger's question: I, a writer who hasn't yet finished a novel (this is the one, though; I promise), have tried to mutlitask before, but it hasn't worked. Right now, I'm working on a novel that I have tried to write before and have given up and restarted several times. During some of my previous attempts, I've tried to work on other stories/novels, but in the end, I'd only give up on both of my works, not wanting to work on either at some point in time. (Lately, motivation has come down to finishing the work for its own sake).
    When I'm lying in bed at night trying to get to sleep (which is the only time that my muse is conscious), I get ideas for other novels, but I now know better than to abandon the one I'm working on. I write down the idea, or as much of the idea as is in my brain, and file it away for when (or, if) I finish the one I'm working on.
    I always dream of finishing a manuscript and filing it away for several weeks (as Stephen King suggests) before I go back and edit it; during that time, I suppose I MUST work on something else, even though I will feel like I'm leaving my completed manuscript as a WIP.

  11. I'm with Lady Glamis - while I'm writing there is only one story at a time. When I edit that, however, I'll start working on the next.

    That being said, while I'm writing one novel I'm always writing short stories and articles for magazines/websites, so there's always more than one thing on the table.

    I need that variety, though. When I get stuck I have to have another outlet, or I'll get frustrated and then freeze. This helps me keep going.


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