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Old 02-13-2013, 04:50 AM   #1
Ashwood
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Trend I've noticed: More than one project at a time

I have one story I'm working on. It completely takes up my free-time. I am compelled to get it out of my head and onto paper.

But so many of you are working on more than one story. I'm so utterly impressed! I mean, I do have multiple ideas, but if I focus on more than one at a time, I'd go bonkers!


How do you guy guys do it?
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashwood View Post
I have one story I'm working on. It completely takes up my free-time. I am compelled to get it out of my head and onto paper.

But so many of you are working on more than one story. I'm so utterly impressed! I mean, I do have multiple ideas, but if I focus on more than one at a time, I'd go bonkers!


How do you guy guys do it?
I'm like you. I have lots of ideas, but I have to focus on one project at a time.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:57 AM   #3
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It's the cool off period.

Write like a mad(wo)man.
Stick it in a drawer.
Write something else.
Stick that in a drawer.
Come back to the first one in a month. Revise. Be writing something else.
Finish first revision of first one. Put it in a drawer. Pull out second one. Still be writing the third.
Revise second one. Finish Third. Stick it in a drawer. Start side project writing a short for a contest.
Stick second projects first revision in a drawer. Pull third project out, revise. start finding beta readers for #1. Start Query letter for #1. Finish short story for context, do cursory edit. Stick it in a drawer.
Finish revision of third project. Get feed back from first project, start revisions. Find beta readers for 2nd project. Start revising short story for context. Begin outlining project #4 to figure out if you need to do some research on 12th century shoe designs or if you can get away with writing "clogs" 100 times. Polish Query for #1


... etc.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:13 AM   #4
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I only work on one project at a time, through to completion. I have tried working on simultaneous or parallel projects (eg - work on one story in the am, the other in the PM - rather than switching among stories), and may do it again. If I have extra ideas I make a mental note. If the idea is really worthwhile, it will keep.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:14 AM   #5
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I got a lot of practice in college. I was a Creative Writing major, with a specialty in Fiction. I was writing on different projects in every class. It was certainly hard. It seemed like one work would get the majority of my love and I'd just go through the motions with the others.

Now that I'm out of school, my focus is pretty singular on my new YA novel project. That doesn't mean I might not dabble in some short fiction while I write it, but I'm really digging this project, so I think it's gonna get all my lovin'.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:32 AM   #6
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I always work on multiple projects. It's my happy place. If I don't feel like working on the dragon thing with its three POVs and weird-ass worldbuilding, I can work on my next wiccan haus book. If I don't want to work on the WH book, the dragons are ready and waiting. If I don't want to work on either of those, I can convince my cowriter that we need to make progress on our contemporary romance.

And when all else fails, there's that space opera thing which might never sell and yet might be the finest thing I've ever written. Lotsa love for that too.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:49 AM   #7
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I actively work on one project at a time. I try and finish one draft before I move on to another, so while I'm writing the draft of one project that's it as far as full-length drafts go. But I can't stop my mind from coming up with possible ideas for future projects, or possible dialogue/details for future projects that I've already decided to work on after I've finished my current draft. I make note of these ideas, write them down quickly once I think of them, but then move straight back to the first project.

I also tend to move on to my next project when I'm letting the previous draft sit, though that is generally outlining. So I'll work on outlining my next project for a week or two while the previous one sits, then move back to editing the draft while letting the outline sit. It's all rotation, for me. I work actively on one project, but I 'subconsciously' work on multiple projects.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:16 AM   #8
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I work on one project until it's finished. However, when the suggested edits come in from my editor I drop whatever I'm doing, take care of the edits, then pick back up where I left off. Of course, that means that I might be working on two or three different things within the same week or two. But I don't switch back and forth between different mss during the writing phase.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:18 AM   #9
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I work on several projects at once, but there's no special way of doing so. It's just how my mind works.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ashwood View Post
How do you guy guys do it?
I can work on one story at a time sometimes, but the time I can spend on them is very short. A lot of the time, I have to skip around from story to story. It’s hard for me to explain, but it’s goes this:

1) Work on story A
2) While writing story A, I get an idea for story B or finally figure out that annoying passage in B
3) Try to continue A while mentally filing away info (or jotting down notes) for B
4) B pounds away at the inside of my head until I can no longer work on A
5) Give up on A, work on B
6) Story C scratches at the inside of my head until I give up on B
7) Move from B to C
8) A knocks on my brain
9) Move from C to A
10) Repeat forever

Basically, I go bonkers if I don’t switch when that happens. Forcing myself to work on one story is hard, and I burn out much quicker that way.

Occasionally though, I can get into this total “write awesomely” zone that allows me to work on one story for a few months all at once. It’s nice.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:06 AM   #11
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Well I actually do lots and lots of related side stories as part of a world building exercise that wont be in the final novel.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarawrites View Post
I got a lot of practice in college. I was a Creative Writing major, with a specialty in Fiction. I was writing on different projects in every class. It was certainly hard. It seemed like one work would get the majority of my love and I'd just go through the motions with the others.
It's like this for me, too. I start a bunch of projects together, write them, and love one more than the others. That's the one I edit and work on the hardest. The others? There's something not really working with them, so I'll come back to them later. Also, the notebook of plots and rando ideas sits on my desk, waiting to be used.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
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I switch up between drafts, so I'm not truly working on multiple projects at once, even though I have several WIPs.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorky View Post

1) Work on story A
2) While writing story A, I get an idea for story B or finally figure out that annoying passage in B
3) Try to continue A while mentally filing away info (or jotting down notes) for B
4) B pounds away at the inside of my head until I can no longer work on A
5) Give up on A, work on B
6) Story C scratches at the inside of my head until I give up on B
7) Move from B to C
8) A knocks on my brain
9) Move from C to A
10) Repeat forever

Basically, I go bonkers if I don’t switch when that happens.
This is exactly how my brain works. I am currently giving all of my focus to one novel, but I have been working on the preliminaries for my next project. I'm surprised I am even able to focus that much on a single work.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorky View Post
I can work on one story at a time sometimes, but the time I can spend on them is very short. A lot of the time, I have to skip around from story to story. It’s hard for me to explain, but it’s goes this:

1) Work on story A
2) While writing story A, I get an idea for story B or finally figure out that annoying passage in B
3) Try to continue A while mentally filing away info (or jotting down notes) for B
4) B pounds away at the inside of my head until I can no longer work on A
5) Give up on A, work on B
6) Story C scratches at the inside of my head until I give up on B
7) Move from B to C
8) A knocks on my brain
9) Move from C to A
10) Repeat forever

Basically, I go bonkers if I don’t switch when that happens. Forcing myself to work on one story is hard, and I burn out much quicker that way.

Occasionally though, I can get into this total “write awesomely” zone that allows me to work on one story for a few months all at once. It’s nice.
You've just described my creative process. That's oddly creepy.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:19 AM   #16
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I can only work on one project at a time. I'm in the editing stage of my current WIP and I can't work on anything else until it's in the hands of my agent. I took a couple of days off to work on a short story for the Valentine's Day Challenge and the whole time I felt like I was betraying my WIP.

So don't worry, it's not just you. You work the way you work, don't worry 'bout how other writers do it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:44 AM   #17
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I usually only work on one project at a time, but always have multiple projects at various stages of completion on hand. I have switched between them a few times, but only when I got really stuck on my primary project. A little time with a secondary project and a solution to the primary's problem usually pops in unbidden.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:50 AM   #18
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I've tried to resist starting new projects while in the middle of another as I have a horrible habit of not finishing things, which I'm trying to break. Plenty of partially-finished and abandoned novels littering my hard drive.

But I do allow myself to plot out potential future projects, and I will probably start writing my next project while editing the one I just finished. I'm just trying not to abandon projects during the writing phase, because of my habit of never returning to them.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:20 AM   #19
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For me I've come to the point where I am just FORCING MYSELF to only work on story #1 and that's it. I do have a word doc always open for emergencies when a scene from another just vomits itself out of me against my will. The other thing is, if story #2 really wants to come out right now, I'm not going to 'not allow' myself to write it, sometimes I do put\story #1 'on vacation' and spend time with story #2. You have to go with the flow. But a little discipline goes a long way.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #20
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I only work on one novel length fiction at a time. I may think about the next one, and get the plot straight in my head, but it waits until the previous one is done and reread.

I do sometimes pause a novel to write a short story for something.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finis View Post
It's the cool off period.

Write like a mad(wo)man.
Stick it in a drawer.
Write something else.
Stick that in a drawer.
Come back to the first one in a month. Revise. Be writing something else.
Finish first revision of first one. Put it in a drawer. Pull out second one. Still be writing the third.
Revise second one. Finish Third. Stick it in a drawer. Start side project writing a short for a contest.
Stick second projects first revision in a drawer. Pull third project out, revise. start finding beta readers for #1. Start Query letter for #1. Finish short story for context, do cursory edit. Stick it in a drawer.
Finish revision of third project. Get feed back from first project, start revisions. Find beta readers for 2nd project. Start revising short story for context. Begin outlining project #4 to figure out if you need to do some research on 12th century shoe designs or if you can get away with writing "clogs" 100 times. Polish Query for #1


... etc.
I am getting to this point. The more the merrier!
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #22
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If I didn't work on several projects, there would be too much wasted time, not writing

So, last few months it's been like this

Send off Project A to editor, and wait for edit notes
While waiting, work on Project B.
Finish first draft project B, leave to marinate
Start Project C, first draft
Edit notes come in for Project A. Deal with them
While dealing, if at any point, brain turns to cottage cheese, work on Project C to clear it
Tidy up Project B and send to betas.
Finish Project A edit notes, send back to editor
While waiting for copy edits on Project A, carry on with C.

I could have just stuck with Project A. But then I'd have all that time wasted while waiting, doing nothing, and I wouldn't have a finished first draft of project B, or half a first draft of Project C by now

But that's me. I can't be Not Writing at all. Others need time off between. Whatever floats your boat.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:21 PM   #23
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I work on just the one book or story at a time although that doesn't mean I don't plan or think about another piece while writing. Once the first draft is finished, I leave it alone for a couple of weeks. While I wait, I come up with a short story or two and do any of the practical stuff about writing - researching markets, checking outstanding subs etc. Then I get into the edits, finish and start something else.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:28 PM   #24
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I tend not to try to work on more than one draft at the same time. That can mess with my head. Also I play them off against each other. If I'm having trouble with one, I can work on the other, and still feel virtuous. Whereas if I was just messing about while avoiding working on the stuck one, I'd feel guilty enough to get on with it.

But especially now I'm sold it would be common that I'll be working on a draft or editing of one project and have to put it away for a few days when edits from my publisher come through. So I've learned to switch between the two without too much trouble.

I can more easily work on different projects if they are in different stages. In fact I've found it's essential to work on more than one and switch between them, because there just isn't a nice neat sequence of write it, edit it, submit it, write next one, edit it, submit it... There's always something to mess up a schedule like that.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:18 PM   #25
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Every writer will have his/her own best method of writing, and while it is helpful to experiment, once a successful method is found it is best to stick with it no matter what others are doing. And the method that is "successful" is simple to evaluate--are you finishing your stories and getting them submission ready? Some writers can work on multiple stories and finish and polish them all. Others can only work on one at a time to get them submission ready. Regardless of method, we should all establish a pipeline of projects, so when one is finished, we are working to finish the next story (or stories).

The important question is not how to work on multiple projects, but how to finish those multiple projects. There are many successful writers here who can give good advice on that latter question.

And I don't think there is a "trend" favoring one method of writing over another.
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