View Full Version : Has anyone worked on a novel and a non-fiction project at the same time?

07-18-2010, 03:30 AM
If so, how did you juggle your time between projects? Did you have enough brain space for both of them? I'm curious to hear if anyone's managed to pull this off and how the experience was. Thanks!

Margarita Skies
07-18-2010, 04:25 AM
Answer to the title of the thread, I have worked on two novels at the same time, but I have never written non-fiction and I don't think I ever will. Shorter answer: No.

07-18-2010, 06:47 AM
Doing it right now. It's two different parts of the brain, two different processes, and two very different projects, so...

Diamond Lil
07-18-2010, 09:23 AM
All the time! I write lesson plans when teaching, and then nonfiction articles for local publications, short stories, and always, plugging away at my novel.

I like the challenge. Balancing projects brings some personality into my nonfiction and grounds my fiction. I finish the nonfiction pieces first, though, because I see them as work. Fiction is for fun. During the school year, though, I can only squeeze in fiction on the weekends.

Wayne K
07-18-2010, 10:57 AM
This past Spring I wrote the swecond half of my memoir as I wrote a romance. It was challenging because of the time and work involved, but I didn't have as hard a time as I thought I would, keeping it all straight in my head.

It helped me get out of my head. I tend to start writing memoir like a diary, and the novel helped me keep it more narrative

07-18-2010, 11:16 AM
In a way, yes. My day job as a tech writer requires juggling multiple non-fiction projects on a daily basis (well, at least I promise my boss they're non-fiction ;)), and in the evenings and on weekends, I work on my novel.

Yes, it's different parts of the brain, but yes, brain space for both can be a major challenge. That's probably actually been my biggest challenge ever since getting into tech writing: the job requires creativity with words, and when I get home, there's not always a lot of that left.

Luckily for me, I've recently been able to go part-time and now have four-day weekends EVERY weekend, so I have more brain space for my fiction. Yay! And yet, if work is particularly demanding (like this week), it can take a couple of days for my brain to un-numb enough to make any real progress on the novel.

One strategy that's been helpful for me is not to work on my fiction at a computer. After spending all day wriitng at a computer, it's hard to go home and spend more time writing at a a computer. I used to write long-hand, but now I use an AlphaSmart. That way, I can carry the device anywhere I want to (a park, a pub, the sofa, the garden, my bed) and still write without feeling like I'm physically doing the same thing I did all day.

07-18-2010, 03:03 PM
Thanks for sharing your experiences, everyone! Terie, I hear ya on the Alphasmart. I swear by mine.

Hmmm, I also need to figure out where the writing-intensive day job fits into all of this as well. Blarrrrrgh.

07-18-2010, 09:42 PM
At times, I have two novels going, three or four nonfiction projects going, several short stories going, and sometimes a screenplay.

It doesn't take any extra brain space, it just requires the ability to turn one project off and another on.

But I do keep them compartmentalized. Each is allotted its own writing time, and that's all the time it gets. When it's time to work on a novel, I work on the novel. When it's time to work on a nonfiction project, I work on that.

I think it's always a bad idea to have multiple projects going if your attitude is, Hmmm, which one do I want to work on today?

07-19-2010, 02:45 AM
Yep, one of the ways I feed myself is writing various non-fiction. I tend to get all my non-fiction stuff done first during the day (deadlines dictate this) and then work on any web work that comes my way...after that fiction. I'm revising one novel, outlining and writing another...plus several short stories. My day usually ends around 3 or 4 but I will write fiction at night if I'm on a roll.