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View Full Version : Do you write more than one book at a time?



MaLanie1971
04-22-2009, 05:52 PM
I am not sure if I am forming a bad habit or not, but I have a novel I am working on currently at 11,000 words, and the other day I had this idea pop in my head for another story.

I sat down and began writing as this amazing creative flow would not allow me to do anything else at the moment. Before I knew it I had 2,000 words typed out! And now I have another idea developing for another story, and I am feeling the tug to begin that MS as well!

Do you guys do this? If so, are you keeping it balanced? If not, how do you keep from losing that creative energy when it hits you?

CaroGirl
04-22-2009, 05:56 PM
Some people can juggle multiple projects simultaneously, some can't. The only way to know which kind of person you are, is to try it. Do you manage to finish them both? Or are you so distracted by idea #2, you never complete idea #1? I think you need tremendous discipline to work on more than one major project at a time.

As for me, I typically work on one novel at a time. I will, however, write short stories here and there at the same time.

Bubastes
04-22-2009, 05:59 PM
I can write and finish multiple short stories at one time, but not books. As CaroGirl said, the key question is whether you can finish multiple projects. If not, then focus on finishing one project before moving on to the next.

Paging NeuroFizz, who always has something wise to say on this topic....

fringle
04-22-2009, 06:01 PM
I'm working on a novel and an MG kids' book at the same time. It works really well for me bc I find that when I'm working on one and I run out of steam for the day, I can switch to the other and start fresh. I'm spending more hours a day writing using this method.

DeleyanLee
04-22-2009, 06:04 PM
I am not sure if I am forming a bad habit or not, but I have a novel I am working on currently at 11,000 words, and the other day I had this idea pop in my head for another story.

I sat down and began writing as this amazing creative flow would not allow me to do anything else at the moment. Before I knew it I had 2,000 words typed out! And now I have another idea developing for another story, and I am feeling the tug to begin that MS as well!

Do you guys do this? If so, are you keeping it balanced? If not, how do you keep from losing that creative energy when it hits you?

Do I do that? No. Could I do that? Certainly, especially if I'm in a rough spot in whatever I'm working on.

This is a great part of creativity, but for me, it's something I had to train to be productive instead of disruptive. I'm not sure how I did it (this was decades ago), but I taught myself to only pay attention to sparks of ideas that have to do with the present MIP and not let myself get distracted by new bright, shiny ideas.

Hope you find your balance.

Manix
04-22-2009, 06:08 PM
I think something happens to my brain when I'm in the writing zone. My thoughts take off on all different tangents and I come up with a bazillion ideas and have to write them all down before I forget. Later, I can chew on them and flesh them out, but I don't dare skip over because those are my brainchilds (brainchildren?) Anyway, it works for me, because later on I have dry spells where absolutely NOTHING shows up on the page. That's when I go back to those ideas, rough drafts and outlines.

scarletpeaches
04-22-2009, 06:11 PM
Anyone can start multiple projects.

How many are you finishing?


I can write and finish multiple short stories at one time, but not books. As CaroGirl said, the key question is whether you can finish multiple projects. If not, then focus on finishing one project before moving on to the next.

Paging NeuroFizz, who always has something wise to say on this topic....

Yeah, where is that wise ol' geezer?

Darzian
04-22-2009, 06:33 PM
I can't imagine doing more than a project at a time. I simply can't squeeze another novel into my timetable. It obviously varies from person to person. I'm quite astonished at the efficiency of writers who work full time but are still able to work on multiple projects. Congrats to them.

Wayne K
04-22-2009, 06:49 PM
I can write ten books at once, my brain is strange. Once I mull an idea over I have it all right there and for all intents and purposes it's written, It's hard to explain.

yet I can't remember what I had for breakfast.

NeuroFizz
04-22-2009, 07:28 PM
Someone stomping up above? Do I need to come out from under my bridge and do a little geezing?

As others have already said, this is different in different people, but there is a very easy way to determine which side of this arc your behind finds turf. Do you finish your projects? No other consideration is important. Writers finish their projects. If not, you are not a writer, you are just someone who writes stuff.

Here is the problem. A novel-length story is a spouse/long-term partner. The relationship is all flowery and mind-spinning at first, but for the long haul, there will be bumps, and it will require work, sometimes hard work.

But its easy to be seduced by someone new, someone who can return you to that flowery, mind-spinning state, and it's easy to ditch the other, work-requiring relationship to dive into the heady bliss of the new thing. And once that gets a little old and needing some work, damned if there isn't another sweet young thing knocking at your door, asking you to come with her/him, where it's Spring again.

The problem with this constant seduction is nothing gets finished. So, you have to find out if you can become a finisher. Some people can finish while working on multiple long projects. Others have to be single-minded about it. For people new to writing, who haven't yet established that most important trait of writers--self-discipline--the jump from idea to idea is probably most dangerous of temptations out there.

The competition in this business is harsh, and one can't even enter into that arena until a project is completed. Some people avoid the fear of failure by jumping from project to project so nothing gets to a form that requires submission. These people are not writers (as mentioned above), even though they may be really good at writing stuff.

So, find out if you can finish something. Find out if you can stick with an ongoing project when the writing gets a little tough, where the flowerbed requires weeding, and fertilizing and maintenance (in other words, hard work). Find out if you can stick with a project when it requires that you put some emotion into it, instead of you just sucking the emotional highs out of the newness of idea after idea.

I have to do my monthly chore of trotting out the John Wooden quote now:

Never mistake activity for achievement.

Find out what kind of self-discipline you have to develop to achieve--to finish off your projects.

MaLanie1971
04-22-2009, 07:46 PM
LOL NeuroFizz, no wonder they were summoning you! I only have one completed MS. So, I am still wet behind the ears and I should stay out of those tempting singles bars. I am glad I asked before I started biting off more than I could chew. I don't want to be a cheater!

I think for now I will write down those brilliant ideas in my idea book and leave them at that until I get this one finished.

I love this site! Thanks!

NeuroFizz
04-22-2009, 07:54 PM
To be fair, MaLainie, you have finished one project. Give the waters a little test. See if you can finish the one you have going while also playing with the new one. But resist jumping to another one. Some people have already mentioned how they can finish multiple, simultaneous projects. One way to find out if that is you is to try it. But the minute it starts impacting the first one, or if it gets to be an emotional high-type of thing (like an addiction). Pull back.

Another aspect of this writing business is that writers who want to make some decent cash from the endeavor have to get a pipline of projects going, so as soon as one is complete, another is started (or continued for those who can work on multiples). This shouldn't be a major concern until one finds out how they can best become a finisher, but with the development of solid writerly self-discipline, one's approach to establishing a pipeline of writing projects may change (mature).

JamieMT
04-22-2009, 07:54 PM
Recently I've been wondering if I am able to work on multiple projects too...and I've come to the same conclusion as most: won't know until I try it. I've got good momentum going on my serial blog novel, and next month, I'm joining a short story challenge to write and submit one short story per month. I have several novel drafts complete and just sort of sitting around waiting for editing, so I'm also going to start editing one of those. All of this around my full-time job...

So I'll be continuing my serial novel, writing 1 short story, and starting to edit a completed draft next month, if all goes well. If not, I'll know I need to scale back.

CaroGirl
04-22-2009, 08:30 PM
Neuro: Are you saying that seven-year itch is the same thing as a mid-book slump?

Cool analogy, man.

justAnotherWriter
04-22-2009, 08:43 PM
I live in the world of my novels, so I can't leave that world to live in another and then just come back...it would be all wrong. I have a hard time writing if I put the project down for a week (when I go away somehwere, etc.) without reading several chapters before the current point to get back in the zone.

When I get the chance to write full time, I'm so absorbed in my project that I can't even think of anything else.

I'm wrapping up a novel right now (80K out of 95K), and it almost floundered because I got a terrific idea for a historical fiction that is just dying to get out, but I was able to shelve it for later. Had I started on it, this one would never have been finished. At least not anytime soon.

loiterer
04-22-2009, 08:56 PM
It has been over a decade now since I first sat down seriously to write a novel. To show for my efforts in this time I have a dozen part or half-finished novels. Every time I had "writer's block" I would start something else, figuring I'd eventually pick up once more the thing I'd been working on. But I didn't.

NeuroFizz tells it exactly like it is.

On the plus side, I have improved immensely as a writer in this time. But I have learned the hard way that I must work on only one thing a a time.

C.M.C.
04-23-2009, 12:10 AM
It's hard enough to focus myself and write one thing. Two or more would make my head explode from pent up procrastination.

The Lonely One
04-23-2009, 12:35 AM
If you feel fatigue from your WIP and think you can reasonably complete shorter projects at the same time, what about setting hard goals? For example, work on other projects only after finishing a chapter of the WIP or another pace which works for you.

Going with the wind might keep you from finishing, as others have pointed out, but committing yourself to certain deadlines or goals might keep your writing fresh and also keep you on-task to actually finish a longer work.

Just a thought.

KTC
04-23-2009, 12:35 AM
yes

The Lonely One
04-23-2009, 12:39 AM
ADDTN: I misread your post, I'm sorry. You're referring to multiple longer works at once? I can't and wouldn't attempt that, but what works for you (as that annoying saying goes) is fine. As others have said, it's a matter of commitment to each project.

It's impossible to write every story of every idea you have. Voices will always be tugging at your fingers, but your ability to channel the best of your best is a priceless asset to you as an author.

spike
04-23-2009, 12:48 AM
I work on multiple projects, in a way. When new ideas begin to gnaw at my mind, I'll play with an outline of the project. But I won't start writing until I've finished my current project.

I refer to that as paying homage to my ADD.

Fade
04-23-2009, 12:56 AM
I write down each idea I get so I don't forget it, but I only ever have the time to work on one at once. I tried two at a time, got twenty thousand words in the second one and said, "I'll get back to it later." It was stopping my first project.

Annabelle Lee
04-23-2009, 01:05 AM
If I come up with ideas I like while working on another project, I jot down everything I have in my head down in a notebook. I write using notes first anyways, so once I'm finished working on one project, I have notes for other projects ready to go!

firedrake
04-23-2009, 01:07 AM
I get ideas but I don't let them distract me. I just jot down some brief notes and leave it until I've finished the project I'm working on. It gives me the impetus to work if I hit a rough patch. I tell myself "If you finish this book, you can start the next one." I love the idea that there's more writing to come.

Bukarella
04-23-2009, 01:21 AM
I began to struggle with it recently.

I made a decision to stick to two projects and see where it takes me. Despite all the wonderful ideas that pop into my head, I only jot them down, but I don't get seduced. I'm staying focused.

Brindle Chase
04-23-2009, 02:22 AM
I was juggling 6 different novels at once... and I completed rough drafts on 5 of them so far, but I stepped back from all but one... and then was able to finish a "polished" manuscript for that one... so... yes and no. I juggle multiple novels at once, while rough drafting... but when it comes time to polish... I focus only on one.

Rebecca_Rogers
04-23-2009, 04:56 PM
I wrote three novels at once. I finished one. Now I'm working on one of the two novels more than the other. When I need to take a break, I switch...and so on and so forth.

Oh, and I agree with Fade and Annabelle Lee above me: keep a journal or notebook of any "random thoughts" that you might have. You can always go back and get great book/story ideas.