Friday, August 2, 2013

Multiple Projects at Once

A while ago, I discovered fast drafting, and I loved it. I vowed never to edit as I wrote again. I whipped out books in a matter of days—8 being my record. Sure, I had my work cut out for me during revision, but I love revising so I was totally okay with it. I was on a roll.

Then summer came, and fast drafting went out the window. Not only could I not devote five and a half straight hours a day to writing, but I ended up doing something I swore I'd never do. I worked on more than one book at a time. The whole thing made me really uncomfortable. I battled with myself over why I was breaking my rule of finishing one book before starting another.

Here's the conclusion I came to. Every book is different, and sometimes it's because of what's going on around you. My summer schedule is crazy. Not only are my daughter and husband home but I'm also working on edits for three of my 2014 titles. I can't do it all. 

So, I'm doing what I can. I'm working on two novels in pieces—between my edits. Am I happy about it? Not really. LOL But if this is what the summer has in store for me, then I'm going to have to accept it. After all, September isn't that far away and then I'll be back to fast drafting.

Can you write more than one book at a time? Or edit one book while writing another?

47 comments:

  1. It's absolutely true - every project is different not only in itself, but because you and your life don't stay in the same place. You have to try new things and be adaptable, and it sounds like that's exactly what you're doing. Good luck! :-)

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    1. Yeah, I resisted this flexibility for a while, but there's nothing I can do but adapt. So, I'm doing what I can. :)

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  2. I've discovered that drafting multiple projects at the same time actually helps me get more done without burning out. So now that's what I'm doing.

    But I can not and will not edit and draft at the same time. Just doesn't work.

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    1. I said the same thing, until I had no choice but to do both at the same time to meet my deadlines.

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  3. You're right that every project is different, and sometimes you have to work on a couple things at once out of necessity. I actually prefer having more than one project going at a time as long as they're in different stages (drafting one, revising another, for example). Good luck!

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    1. I feel like I have to have a split personality to write two books at once. LOL

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  4. I'm actually having the same problem and I vowed to NEVER work on two books at once. I started a new WIP that I've been waiting to dig into (unfortunately I'm not a fast drafter). But just as I really got into that WIP I got an idea for another book and I started making notes, character studies, writing whole scenes and before I knew it I was switching back and forth between the two books...and no, I don't like it.

    And now I'm starting my big edits for a 2014 release so I have those on top of the WIP which just won't stay quiet. The characters are relentless--fighting for their turn to have their say.

    I also have my children (three) home from school and we have all the fun summer stuff to do together, which I love and wouldn't trade for anything, but it does take away from writing time.

    Fortunately for me, the two WIPs are in different genres and the characters are vastly different. I think this helps me switch back and forth. There is a distinct disconnect from one WIP while I'm working on the other.

    It can be frustrating, :)
    Michelle

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    1. Yup, sounds like we are in the same boat because I'm doing edits for three of my 2014 titles on top of writing these two books. LOL Crazy! Good luck with yours. Maybe we can cheer each other along. :)

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  5. Each project is definitely different and because of that sometimes it helps me to be able to work on multiple things (as a mind break). I can see how that might drive a writer crazy, all those characters floating around in ones head is not good for sanity LOL.

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  6. I can work on more than one project so long as I'm not actually drafting both of them. So I can brainstorm, plot, write-up character sheets, etc. But I can't draft a second project. I have to let my brain immerse in a project in order to write well.

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    1. Yeah, it's tough to draft two. Total craziness.

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  7. "Every book is different"- SO TRUE.

    To date, I have not been able to first-draft more than one at a time, but I can edit/revise more than one.
    As to stopping and starting another story, I have this fear that I will leave countless unfinished stories tucked in every crevice if I allow this even once... So it's still a firm rule to complete a first draft before starting another. Sometimes fear is a good driver ;)
    I commend you for overcoming your rule about this successfully, and remain as productive as ever.

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    1. I swear it's a case of whenever I say "I will never..." I end up having to do just that. I jinx myself!

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  8. I don't think I could write two books at once, but I do work on multiple projects at once. I wrote shorter stories while writing the book. I know this is bad because then the book takes longer, but I haven't yet stopped myself. It's probably like going on a diet. I just have finish one project at a time....yet, I am having more success with getting my shorts published while I collect rejection letters from agents. Maybe it's a good thing doing both. I'm not sure.

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    1. I've always written short stories while writing novels. That doesn't bother me. It's the two novels that kill me.

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  9. I can always go back to the novel after writing a flash piece or a short story, but to start a novel while working on another, I don't think I could do that. It would feel weird, like I was being disloyal to the one on the shelf while writing the other. I would imagine myself looking back at the shelf, hoping the other manuscript wasn't watching me.

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  10. I'm ALWAYS working on many projects at once. It's just what I need to keep me interested when I don't have time to fast-draft something (though I take more like 3-5 weeks instead of your few days... THAT blows my mind).

    So if it's working for you, then do it. Sometimes I like taking a break from one project to work on another when I get stuck!

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    1. I think I'm learning that I don't have a set "this works for me" and maybe that's a good thing.

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  11. I totally understand what you mean, Kelly. Every book has its own personality. Some are a struggle. Some fly off your fingertips. No two are exactly alike. There's no cookie cutter process to writing. It's the most idiosyncratic profession on the planet.

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  12. Glad it is working for you! I like to work on one thing at a time- but hey- we all have to adjust to our crazy schedules. The good thing is you are doing it and it is working. :) Best of luck!
    ~Jess

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  13. I can work on more than one at a time if they're not too similar--say, in the same exact genre. Any way you can get work done is a good way, especially during those crazy summer days.

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  14. Kelly,

    I have the EXACT OPPOSITE of your situation.

    I used to be able to only work on one project at a time.

    But now I need to embrace the multi-project route.

    I'm working on edits for my debut novel, and after fearing YA land for so long, one of my WIPs may be heading to YA territory, wish me luck there.

    I resisted the "Fast Draft" movement you and other authors have jumped on for so long, because I didn't want another 10 YEARS to go by with only ONE book to show for it.

    I still can't draft "Fast" but I can divide attention between different books. I'm just now at the point where I can write bracket notes for myself

    Especially because there were times when (Full Disclosure) I queried my debut too early, but I did it not because I wanted to get on the author fast track, even now I don't think that, but I didn't want my fear of how high the bar is just to be read to stop me from having the courage to put my work out there.

    Because the tightest written books on Earth won't get their chance if we NEVER share them.

    Too many people let fear prevent them from just hitting "SEND!" on what they want to work toward. Whether's that's selling a book, getting that agent, or succeeding in any other career path, you know?

    I just had to know I can push past fear of the "High Bar" of quality sometime before I die (I'm half-kidding but I hope you know what I mean...)

    I can't build up my potential "Quantity" of work that way.

    While the old adage "You just need one good book" has truth to it, I need quality of a certain level just to be READ, something I feel more established authors who began in the pre-ebook era don't always understand, or least give off that sense, even if they truly don't mean to. I say that not in judgement.

    It took me 10 YEARS, and FOUR different versions of my MG debut novel, before I got it in a state that my editor at G8 Press offered me a contract, and you can expect to be in my acknowledgements page.

    My editor even said my book is a different experience for her, another reason I was kind of skeptical of trying G8, even at your recommendation, and I know you wanted Gabriel to succeed almost as much as I do, but I'm glad I trusted you, and most of all myself to send that query and sample chapters, look where I am now.

    It also helped me see there are still small presses out there that help authors get started.

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    1. An aside, I feel authors today need a quantity of quality books, because some books aren't ready for the world, and it's not because the quality's not there, or will never be there, you know?

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    2. Aw, thank you for the mention in the acknowledgments. That means a lot to me. I'm a big Gabriel fan. :) I can't wait to see your book in print, Taurean.

      I agree that you need quantity and quality to do well. I'm working on it.

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  15. I got a small taste of editing one while writing another in July. But really, it was more consecutive than it was simultaneous.

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    1. Simultaneous is tough. I'm hoping I get used to it soon.

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  16. I'm still trying to get the first book written, lol. I suppose times like the summertime we just have to adjust things to suit the circumstances, as much as we'd rather write etc.

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  17. I can- when I'm in the right mindset for writing. It helps when the two projects are a contrast to each other, I think.

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    1. Yes, I think it's easier if the projects are very different, but mine are the same genre. LOL

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  18. I usually work on 2-3 projects at a time. I like switching and it gives me a few days off from one manuscript while I work on another--that's good thinking time to ponder the plot of the one that's resting. Summer's the best time for me since I'm on vacation. Once I'm back at work, it's going to be harder.

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    1. I'm trying to channel your multi-tasking, Medeia. I think of you often and tell myself, "Medeia does it." :)

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  19. Recently, I had no choice but to succumb to juggling two projects. As much as I would like to say I'm a master at multi-tasking, this couldn't be farther from the truth. With that being said, I'm still trying to find a comfortable and reliable medium in order for me to still enjoy both genres of my writing. My main focus for a while was on my children's picture books, however, recent events have called upon my heart and my writing has been moving into a different direction. With that being said, I'm embracing this journey head on since I won't be able to experience incidents like these ever again. As much as I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one, I wish you the best in trying to figure out what works for you! Thanks Kelly!

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  20. That sounds really unbelievably amazing to me... I'd never heard of fast drafting. I don't think my brain could handle that. I don't even like starting another book until I've finished the last one. I do like the concept of getting the whole story out without editing quickly, but then completely edit it before starting the next. But even that amount of focus might be beyond me. At least while I have to work full-time.

    I wish you the best with this and completing all your edits. And thanks for your comments during my blog tour at Medeia's. :) Writer’s Mark

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    1. I couldn't fast draft while I was teaching. I just didn't have the time. This is something I started doing when I moved to writing full time.

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  21. Fast drafting -- yes! Just vomit it out and clean it up later. I work on short stories during the school year, usually with one in progress, one undergoing revisions, and one just needing to be polished up before it goes out the door. Summers are for noveling, and yep, I have 6 in various states of disarray -- and they've been that way for years, unfortunately. I'm querying one that's polished, and I hope to have another one ready next summer.

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    1. Six? Wow! I don't think I could do that and stay sane. More power to you, Milo.

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  22. Yes, I juggle multiple projects at a time. It gives fresher perspective to come back to one after the other!

    All the best to you!

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  23. I think if I'd ever written two things at once, one was original fiction and the other was fanfiction.

    But I'm on the brink of juggling multiple projects where the source of my interest/attention changes everyday.

    *I have THE story I'd been working to get published (more like represented so it can be published... no such luck) that I'd gotten a few bids from people who want to help me in giving feedback. As of last year around this time, I stalled in my rewrites, wondering if I really want to take my editing in this direction.

    *One I recently reread brainstorming notes on. Fanfiction I'd worked towards making my own material and rewriting certain areas to accomplish that. My plan is to split it into three parts, therefore lengthening it quite a bit.

    *What my current playlist of Lady Gaga, Karmin, Nelly Furtado and Britney Spears has been fueling. Still quite a bit of brainstorming and characterization left to go before leaving the starting line that is "chapter 1"

    Unfortunately juggling might lead to my work suffering unless I can regain that focus :-P

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    1. Just read your latest blog post and saw how you are juggling several ideas. Good luck with them, Jackie. Characters can be demanding sometimes and when several are trying to occupy all your attention at once, it can get kind of crazy.

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