how many projects do you work on at a time?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Post Reply
User avatar
Crystal
Posts: 92
Joined: December 16th, 2009, 9:43 am
Contact:

how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Crystal » January 15th, 2010, 5:54 pm

I am, as you know, working on my first novel. I love it and I really want to finish it. However, recently a new idea has started to creep into my mind and has kind of taken over.

So I was wondering, would it be bad to start a second project? How many do you usually work on?
Working my very first attempt at a mystery novel. 1st draft

User avatar
taylormillgirl
Posts: 138
Joined: December 28th, 2009, 9:02 am
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by taylormillgirl » January 15th, 2010, 5:59 pm

One. Same goes with reading. I like to finish one book before starting another.

But I had a similar issue come up. Instead of diverting my time and attention from revisions, I started a word document for my new story idea and left it open all day. Whenever a tidbit comes to mind, I add it to the list (I have 3 pages so far!)

I'm sure plenty of folks can write more than one novel at a time, but I'm not one of them. I have to live and breathe my story to make it work. Having another set of characters running around in my head would be too distracting.
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

lynsouth
Posts: 2
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 8:48 am
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by lynsouth » January 15th, 2010, 6:23 pm

Generally, I work on one major project at a time in terms of writing. But, during some down time, I also generate ideas for new projects, do research, etc. I also have a website and blog that I maintain, so there's a lot going on.

for the heavy duty writing & editing, though, for right now...it's one project at a time.

Tzalaran
Posts: 53
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:30 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Tzalaran » January 15th, 2010, 6:51 pm

as many as i have to, the key is just to know when you are dividing you attention to so many projects that progress in all of them stop. Each person has a different limit for this, and some people can't be productive without 3-4 projects sitting on their plate.

i have to limit it to 2-3 or i get nothing done in anything. Find what works best for you and go with it.
I'd rather hate myself for failing, than hate my life for never having tried.
"Success leads to stagnation. Stagnation leads to failure." - Vlad Taltos

LydiaSharp
Posts: 37
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 4:49 pm
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by LydiaSharp » January 15th, 2010, 7:29 pm

Currently, I'm doing rewrites on one novel and writing the first draft of another. I'm also working on a handful of short fiction. I like to multi-task (obvs).
Lydia Sharp
Science Fiction * Fantasy * Women's Fiction
http://www.lydiasharp.blogspot.com

User avatar
Crystal
Posts: 92
Joined: December 16th, 2009, 9:43 am
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Crystal » January 15th, 2010, 10:23 pm

thanks for the responses.

so it sounds like it's a good time to use trial and error. So opening another word file and writing what is coming to me may be a good thing, but if I find it keeps me from doing my first project, place it on hold. :)
Working my very first attempt at a mystery novel. 1st draft

Vio
Posts: 11
Joined: December 14th, 2009, 9:51 am
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Vio » January 16th, 2010, 9:31 am

One and one only. If I get "the best idea ever" while I am on a project (which happens), I write a note and put it in a drawer for later.

Richard A Kray
Posts: 18
Joined: December 18th, 2009, 1:04 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Richard A Kray » January 17th, 2010, 10:55 am

Okay. This is something I have intimate knowledge of.

I've written since I was maybe 7 years old. That's over 21 years of writing. I always had more than one project going.
I've only recently started to take it seriously.

So, when I begun my first novel, and then got another idea, I naturally said "Awesome! Now I can have something to do when I'm stuck on a part in the other book". This is how I like to work. It keeps things fun and fresh and interesting for me. Unfortunately, I have been known to get obsessive over the new thing and forget about the old one. It is very easy for writers to fall into that trap and never, ever finish a novel that way.

That's probably why my agent, when I asked him about which idea I should use for my next project, said "Dude, why don't you finish this one first?"
The way I see it - he's the manager of my team, so I do what he says. He knows this stuff way more intimately than I do so his advice is usually spot on.
But I also took the question seriously. "Why don't you finish this one first?" My answer was "Because I want to do this other one!" It sounded like the 10 year old me switching short stories because the first one started to bore me. I'm an adult now. I can follow through on what I start. And that's what I plan to do.
- Richard A. Kray
http://braineatersanonymous.blogspot.com
(Go follow it. No, seriously, you won't be disappointed.)
(No... seriously.)

LydiaSharp
Posts: 37
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 4:49 pm
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by LydiaSharp » January 17th, 2010, 3:33 pm

Oops... Yeah, I guess I should have mentioned that I have more projects set aside right now than I can count, waiting for my attention. I only pointed out the ones I'm working on right now. "Finish whatever you're working on first" is always good advice. Even if you decide to do nothing with it once it's done.
Lydia Sharp
Science Fiction * Fantasy * Women's Fiction
http://www.lydiasharp.blogspot.com

User avatar
shadow
Posts: 302
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 5:06 pm
Location: The moon
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by shadow » January 17th, 2010, 3:36 pm

I try to focus on one, but I jot down all my ideas for next time. Because I don't want one Idea to overtake my current one and then what if I come up with another and another and never really finish a novel?
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

ImageImageImageImage

lmjackson
Posts: 40
Joined: January 12th, 2010, 10:06 pm
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by lmjackson » January 17th, 2010, 9:41 pm

I'm working on two projects right now. One is my main project I'd say, and the other has been digging in my mind and basically won't rest unless I work on it occasionally. The two are completely opposite both in genre and plot so when I'm not in the mood to write for one I can work on the other. Maybe as I get further along I'll decide there's one that I want to focus on exclusively and put the other one aside. But if I didn't at least attempt to work on both I'd never know.
Junior student studying at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Loves reading, writing, photography, dance, and long walks on the beach :P

robena grant
Posts: 10
Joined: December 24th, 2009, 5:10 pm
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by robena grant » January 17th, 2010, 11:35 pm

It's amazing how when you get to the hard part of your novel (usually for most of us it's the horrible sagging middle) something new and shiny takes our attention. It whispers in our ear, "Write me. I'll be good. I'll be easy. You'll have me on the page in no time." DON'T LISTEN. It's a trick. Make notes and put them in a file for future use if you must, but do not let yourself be swayed from finishing that which you have started. Push through the hard parts (think of childbirth) and just get that baby out there so you can admire it and know it's the most amazing thing you've ever done. : )

Getting side-tracked happens to all of us, so my advice is ignore it and finish what you've started. I think there is a problem in working on two projects at the same time and that is they can co-mingle. You can end up with a less than pure character development. The main character from book one can take on characteristics from the main character in book two and then you fall into that trap of writing a character that doesn't stay "in character" and that can kill the story for the reader.

For me, somewhere around the end of the first rewrite, new stories start to emerge. I play a little. Type out a character bio. Or a first chapter. Or do a rough outline. Then I do a third rewrite on my original manuscript. By that time, usually the new story will begin to get stronger, and I'll be sick to death of the first one. I start visualizing the new story as I walk the dog. I talk to myself. I get a sense of the characters and the theme and premise and I'm off and running. That's when it's time for me to start putting things on paper. I know not every writer works this way, but for me it's important to keep each work seperate.

Anavaz
Posts: 18
Joined: January 19th, 2010, 1:08 pm
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Anavaz » January 19th, 2010, 2:21 pm

Okay now I don't want to post after reading the post that comes before this one (Robena Grant). For the record, listen to what she wrote, I'm a lost cause, a lunatic? - yes, probably. I am working, when I say working means I wrote a scene a couple of ours ago on one story. That said I have 5 other stories that are in one stage or another (beginning, middle, almost end). I did make myself do a 1st. revision of my only truely finished MS, that's done. The reason I have so many stories is simple, the ideas just pop up in my mind and won't be able to concentrate if I don't get them out. Making a note just doesn't work for me. But like I said that's just me.

User avatar
Seamus
Posts: 67
Joined: January 5th, 2010, 12:56 pm
Location: Rockville, MD
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Seamus » January 19th, 2010, 3:37 pm

I am now working on novel #2, while trying to hook an agent for #1. I never anticipated the hooking part (no pun intended) to be so all-consuming. I'm having hard time getting to novel #2, and when I do, I have to re-acclimate myself before I can write. My first lottery winning priority (after buying a real car), is not going to a day job so I can devote more time to both. (The lottery also doubles as my retirement plan - and is equally as realistic.) Anyway, until my numbers hit, this is as far as I can go.
J. Seamus Welsh
welsh.john.seamus@gmail.com
Blog (a playful place to experiment with character voices): http://oh-thereyouare.blogspot.com/
Website (shameless self-promotion): http://www.inwrittenform.com

Kaitlyne
Posts: 103
Joined: December 6th, 2009, 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: how many projects do you work on at a time?

Post by Kaitlyne » January 22nd, 2010, 3:09 am

Uno! I don't even like to write one novel while editing another. I'll put one of them aside, work my butt off to complete the other, then go back to it. That's mostly a tone/voice issue for me. My stories don't all necessarily sound or feel the same, and it's harder for me to get into one if I'm trying to switch back and forth. Whenever I get a new idea, especially if it's a fleshed out one, I either make a story idea file, or a notes file. Notes is obviously going to be more descriptive, and I'll start outlining, adding character descriptions, etc. Sometimes random bits of dialogue or scenes go in there as well so I don't forget them.

I've known some people who can work on multiple projects at once and be fine, and others who never get anything finished because they constantly switch to new projects. Just do whatever works for you. As long as they get finished that's what matters.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 1 guest