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ishtar'sgate
09-22-2009, 01:26 AM
Have any of you successfully worked on two novels simultaneously and had both publsihed? I have two very different novels in the works. Both have been researched and the opening chapters are written. My problem is that I'm not sure I can do them justice by working this way yet I'm strongly pulled to both of them. What do you guys think? Is it a bad idea?

Topaz044
09-22-2009, 01:35 AM
I've tried to work on two novels at once, very recently. It got to a point where I felt like I was being too distracted, and decided to focus on one at a time (although that may change soon, considering that a have a new contract in the works).

My short answer is-if you can do it, then go for it.

CheshireCat
09-22-2009, 01:40 AM
I have worked on two novels at once -- up to a point. I can't recall how far I'd worked on both, but at some point one of them was clearly occupying more of my thoughts and energy, so I put the other aside until the first was finished.

I did the same thing several times -- early in my career. Not now. What happens now when I get a second, strong idea while dealing with a WIP is that I take a few notes so I'm sure to remember what my plan was, then put that idea on the back burner to simmer undisturbed while I'm working on the first one.

I almost always get a better book if I allow it to simmer like that.

As for what works for you ... Hate to say it again, but you'll have to figure that out for yourself.

Good luck.

:)

scope
09-22-2009, 01:52 AM
I have worked on two stories simultaneously, but not equally. Although in time both were published, at the time I had no idea that would happen. I don't think I could spread my time equally over two books and do either of them justice. I just can't work that way, and although I'm always working on two or three at once, one is always foremost and the others take a back-seat to it. I concentrate on the one work at hand and only work on the other when I need a break, distance--whatever--.

ishtar'sgate
09-22-2009, 05:29 AM
Thanks everyone. It's interesting to see what your experiences are with this. I expect I'll have to concentrate on one at a time. 'Course now I have to figure out which one to do first.:D

Terie
09-22-2009, 09:40 AM
Actually, there are no rules. Some people can multi-task that way and others can't. If you're working on two books and don't think you're short-changing either of them, there's no need to change what you're doing. Especially not 'because a couple of other published writers said they can't/don't'.

Personally, I'm great at multi-tasking...right up to when I try writing two novels simultaneously. Then, EPIC FAIL. (On the other hand, I'm a tech writer for my day job, and usually am working on several other manuals at the same time that I'm working on a novel by night, so maybe it's not as much of a FAIL as I think. LOL!)

dgiharris
09-22-2009, 10:14 AM
I don't mean to start a shit storm, but the term 'multi-task' is one of the most abused concepts in modern day business/life. It is a myth that we can do multiple tasks as effectively as if we were focusing on one task at a time. What is true in physics is true in life, there is no free lunch.

If you can do task X at a 95% level and task Y at a 95% level, then doing both tasks simultaneously will result in completing them at something like 70%. Now if 70% is fine, then sure, have at it. But if you think you can do both tasks simultaneously and still get that 95% level for each, then you are dreaming.

Similarly, we must distinguish between being able to do something versus a preferred method.

Can I chop a tree down with a sledge hammer? Sure. Does that prove its the preferred method? No.

Can you write two books simultaneously? Sure. Does that prove it is the preferred method? No.

IMHO, writing two books simultaneously isn't that hard. Writing two books of publishable quality simultaneously is the kicker.

I personally am a fan of what CeCe said. Namely, writing notes/outlines of that 'other' great idea so you don't lose anything and can come back to it later when you can give it the attention it deserves.

Yes, I know we like to say "What works for you." But in this regard, I will have to throw the flag on that. Write one book at a time. Or put another way. One book should be the 'focus' and the primary while the other book can be on the back burner.

So if you have to split your energy, do something like 90% - 95% on Book A and 5% - 10% on Book B.

Why am I being such a hardass?

Well, it is my belief that starting a book and writing a book is fairly easy. The challenge is FINISHING a book and making it your best. Trimming the fat, finding the write words, REWRITING and EDITING until looking at it gives you a headache.

It is my belief that you need a certain 'focus' and momentum to get you through the entire process. And if you are spliting your energy you may not have enough of that momentum to finish. And before you know it, you end up with a bunch of half finished books.

Anyways, that is my take on all this. Of course, it is just a random opinion, take or leave as you see fit.

Mel...

colealpaugh
09-22-2009, 10:27 AM
If you can do task X at a 95% level and task Y at a 95% level, then doing both tasks simultaneously will result in completing them at something like 70%. Now if 70% is fine, then sure, have at it. But if you think you can do both tasks simultaneously and still get that 95% level for each, then you are dreaming.


Just for the sake of argument, this theory strongly suggests quitting day jobs and perhaps getting rid of nagging spouses.



I'll need a note from you, Mel.

timewaster
09-22-2009, 02:40 PM
Have any of you successfully worked on two novels simultaneously and had both publsihed? I have two very different novels in the works. Both have been researched and the opening chapters are written. My problem is that I'm not sure I can do them justice by working this way yet I'm strongly pulled to both of them. What do you guys think? Is it a bad idea?

Some people find that it helps them creatively to move from one thing to the next -I'm not one of them. Sometimes I might edit something while I'm in the middle of writing something else and when I write proposals I might plan two or three books at the same time but when it comes to writing I prefer to work on one thing until it is finished. I am just not very good at keeping two books in my head at once.

There isn't anything wrong in doing two things at once if you can- some people thrive on it. Why not give it a go and see if you are one of them?

Terie
09-22-2009, 02:53 PM
IMHO, writing two books simultaneously isn't that hard. Writing two books of publishable quality simultaneously is the kicker.

As you say, that's your opinion. I have friends who do and can write multiple books of publishable quality simultaneously, and their books are on bookshop shelves to prove it. I will add, by way of caveat, that those who do don't have day jobs but are full-time writers.

I stand by what I said....there are no rules. Each writer has to find out what works for them.

sommemi
09-22-2009, 06:22 PM
I don't mean to start a shit storm, but


:e2shower:
lmao!




One book should be the 'focus' and the primary while the other book can be on the back burner.

So if you have to split your energy, do something like 90% - 95% on Book A and 5% - 10% on Book B.

Why am I being such a hardass?

Well, it is my belief that starting a book and writing a book is fairly easy. The challenge is FINISHING a book and making it your best. Trimming the fat, finding the write words, REWRITING and EDITING until looking at it gives you a headache.

Definately to each their own... but just sharing my experience with you because I can relate to this particular bit of advice...

I have a book I've been working on for... oh, I don't know... 10 years or so?!?! It's huge. I have a lot done on it. I could probably finish it in 2 weeks and be ready for editing if I just sat my butt down and concentrated on it. But instead, I keep doing little bits and pieces here and there, editing and re-editing chapters instead of writing new stuff... I just keep putting other things ahead of it... even though it is my hearts desire to see this book get done and published as a gift to my father. It's VERY important to me.

On the other hand... after coming out here and getting all excited about learning different ways of writing and reading through the different genres, I fell in love with an old story that has been in my head and started working on it... under the pretense of becoming a better writer. Now I'm obsessed with that story and yet still keep working on the other one. I knw if I sat down and concentrated on this new story, I'd have half of the storyline written within a month. I'm that excited about it! But....

I really need to put this other book to rest because it is still lingering in the back of my mind and I think about it and occasionally pop it up... and now it has been ages and this book should have been done long ago.

So I decided that this week I plan on finishing editing the part of the new book I already typed, and then just putting notes on the rest of the story in a book beside my bed so that I don't lose it. Then 'shelving' it... until this other one is DONE. Really DONE. To the point where editing and proofing are pretty much done and I can get a beta reader. Then I can work on the other one while the beta reader is getting ready to tell me if I wrote crap or not. lol


Just wanted to share my personal conflicts with you to see if that helps shed any light on your own situation. I think it depends on how well you are able to switch back and forth between stories, and how much time you spend writing every day. I have a family, a 40/hr job, needy parents, and way too many activities going on in my life. I can't dedicate enough time to writing to be able to work on two books and get either one finished in the next year. So I think it depends on your own situation... maybe you need to sit down and think about your own life's timeline and see what you want your goal to be? Just know that if you want one of them done.... it will get done if you have more of a focus on just one, and let the other one gather ideas in a journal. (I've heard lots of suggestions on journals here on AW too.)

Good luck!!! Let us know when we can read these wonderful works of art forming in your head!!!

ishtar'sgate
09-22-2009, 06:50 PM
:e2shower:
I think it depends on how well you are able to switch back and forth between stories, and how much time you spend writing every day. I have a family, a 40/hr job, needy parents, and way too many activities going on in my life. I can't dedicate enough time to writing to be able to work on two books and get either one finished in the next year. So I think it depends on your own situation... maybe you need to sit down and think about your own life's timeline and see what you want your goal to be? Just know that if you want one of them done.... it will get done if you have more of a focus on just one, and let the other one gather ideas in a journal. (I've heard lots of suggestions on journals here on AW too.)

Good luck!!! Let us know when we can read these wonderful works of art forming in your head!!!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It took me quite a while to write and sell my first novel even when it was my sole focus. At the time I was busy like you - a full time paralegal, two small children, yadda yadda yadda. Now the kids are grown and gone but time constraints remain much the same. I have a small income writing nonfiction and we're living in a 5th wheel while we build our house, so quite cramped conditions. I do my husband's books for two companies and I'm constantly being drawn away with the house - where do you want the lights, what kind do you want, what about kitchen cabinets, flooring, paint colors....Not complaining. I love that we're building but there are only so many waking hours in a day. One novel at a time seems like very good advice.

sommemi
09-22-2009, 07:10 PM
Oh man - construction takes its toll on ya, doesn't it? You'd think since you aren't doing it yourself it's easier, but... not always so. :)

Good luck! sounds like you have your work cut out for you! I'm glad I could help!