What Shall It Be Today: Taking on Multiple Projects at Once
I cannot, for the life of me, work on a single project at a time. Or at least, I don’t think I can.
Anyone who would take a look at my files would see lots of folders with lots of titles. But anyone who clicks on those folders would see lots of unfinished projects. So many novels and stories that have seen the light of day once, possibly twice, in their short lifetime, only to be shut away in the darkness of my hard drive. I can obviously count them all, but doing so would not solve my problem in any way: I am working on many things at a time.
I don’t believe this is uncommon. Writers and artists can come up with ideas almost immediately, and having to put a hold on their current project may be the only method in satisfying the muse begging for their attention.
In my case, I am currently working on a series. And then, I am also working on a novel that has taken up 10 years of my life to finish. There’s also the TV pilot I’m working on for a contest, as well as the poetry I write on the side and am submitting to various lit mags.
In short, it’s a lot. And the sheer volume is overwhelming.
I had previously mentioned in a post how we need to take our own writing advice, and I mentioned how a lot of it had to do with choosing our own battles. And while I still think that’s true, I also believe that jumping from project to project at random can also hinder you.
So then, what to do when you have too many projects on your hand? I think there are a few things to keep in mind when having trouble.
- Make a list of what you’d like to work on: Even on non-writing related tasks, I make lists for what I need to do during my day. If I try to keep it all in my head, it tends to get scrambled up with the rest of what’s in my head, which is pretty much everything I know, feel, question, etc. So making a list has been pretty helpful in keeping me on task.
- Consider deadlines for each project: One thing I did at the beginning of the year was promise myself I would submit my novel to agents by the end of 2019. At the same time, I also promised to update my series at the beginning of each month. This gives me an incentive to work on one of these projects more than the others because they need to be finished sooner. At the same time…
- Know which one is more interesting to you: Sometimes I have to finish something soon but may have no interest in it. Maybe I’m stuck on it and need to put it away for a while. Or maybe I’m formulating ideas for another project. If that’s true and you have the time, then consider putting away the less interesting one for the one grabbing your attention. If your heart is not into your project, it will show in your writing and your readers will notice.
If it looks like point #3 has led us back to the same spot we began, there might be some truth to that.
That said, it also depends a lot on the writer. Some can work on multiple projects at once. Others need to focus on one at a time.
But the point is that working on multiple projects is possible. Writing is a creative endeavor that will take you down many paths. And though these three tips might not help everyone out, perhaps there are methods that work better for you and others.
Regardless, writers will work on what they can and must. Writers and artists are creators of works nobody else can pull off.
So no matter which one you work on today, just remember to love the process and have fun, as much as you can.