Life can get a bit hectic at times, with a full-time job, a family, a house, bills, garden, renovation, kids activities and a second career. If you take a step back and look at all the things you manage to do in a day, week, month and year, you might find yourself a little shocked. I know I do. It might seem mad then to actively work on multiple writing projects at the same time.
I currently have three manuscripts in the works - two full novels and a short story that may well stretch to ‘novella’ status by the end of it. Add to that the blog posts, both my own and the guest posts I seem to frequently commit myself to, plus all the marketing and businessy side of being a writer (you know, that boring bit that no-one likes to talk about) and it’s a wonder that my brain isn’t melting out my ears on a daily basis.
If you’re the sort of person who can only focus on one writing project at a time, then this probably doesn’t apply. If you’re like me, with a gazillion different things flying around your head that just keep demanding to have your attention and if you don’t concede to those demands then you wind up miserable and unable to produce anything then these tips might apply.
Set a limit
As I said, I have three things that I consider to be active projects. There are about ten other things that I have buried at the back of my head somewhere that can come to life when one of the three is complete, but I’ve been working with three things on the go for a while now and it works. Start with two and then work your way up to a number that you feel comfortable with, but make sure you limit that number or you become at risk of being a starter but never a finisher.
Don’t fight it
Seriously. If one day you want to work on project A but the characters from project B start chattering away, then listen to them and work on that one. This can get a little tricky if you have committed to writing a piece to a deadline – in that case I can recommend that you always work ahead of the deadline. Say you need to hand in something by 1st June… aim to get it completed by 1st May, just convince yourself mentally that the deadline is a lot sooner and that will allow for the days when your brain won’t comply to your plan.
Switch it up
The best thing about having lots of projects on the go is that there is no excuse for writers block. If you get stuck on one then simply shift your focus to another. This allows for constant productivity and almost eliminates the days sitting around mourning the fact that you can’t write.
Have a good filing system on your pc so you can find whichever document you need within two clicks from the desktop. Wipe out the frustration stage of not knowing where that piece you started three weeks ago was saved.
Above all, make sure you write every day. A hundred words or so is better than no words. A thousand words is better still, regardless of which novel you add to.