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How many projects do take on at once? : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

How many projects do take on at once?

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steve-in-kville
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How many projects do take on at once?

Postby steve-in-kville » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:27 pm

I've been working on my first large piece, something between a book of memoirs and an autobiography (I struggled with some addictions in the past - long story). I've been doing a few religious-based essays for a church paper as well as playing with some poetry just for fun. The auto I am in no hurry. I've dropped it for two months to refocus only to go back and rewrite the first few chapters and add some content. I am always working at shorter projects in between.

So should I do what works for me? Or would I be more effecient finishing one thing before starting another? This is all kinda new to me to have more than one piece in the works. Somehow I am making a go at it but don't know if I will hurt myself in the long run.

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shadowwalker
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby shadowwalker » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:20 pm

Don't fix what ain't broke - if it's working for you, keep doing it. If, at some point in the future, you realize that the memoir is getting further and further down on the priority list, then you might want to stop and rethink that. It may mean dropping everything else until you get "caught up" (ie, where you feel less guilty being), or it may mean just cutting back/rescheduling.
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Anya Kylash
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby Anya Kylash » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:55 pm

Like some famous author whose name I forgot said (Gail Carson Levine -I remembered!), you should write only one project at a time. Of course you'll get a brilliant idea, so write down whatever you need to keep that fresh should you come back to it. A page or two, a brilliant beginning, but then get straight back to that original project! Write and write until it's done, then you can move to another book.

I'd like to add that you should write and write until all the books (if it's a series) in your series are finished. Don't switch from one book in a series to another; give your readers a sense of continuity. Hope I could help.
Finished:
Race Against Fate -101k words
Loyalties Lost -121k words
Forgotten -100k words
Friends and Foes -113k words

Unfinished:
Alone - 32k words

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mammamaia
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby mammamaia » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:42 am

So should I do what works for me?

...YES!...

Or would I be more effecient finishing one thing before starting another?

...no one can answer that but you...
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TerryRodgers
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby TerryRodgers » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:24 pm


James A. Ritchie
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:27 pm

I've had time when I had more than a dozen projects going on at the same time. Working on more than one project at a time is a necessity for many who earn a living solely from writing.

There is no magic number. One is all some writers can comfortably handle, while another writer can handle twenty. There is no should or shouldn't, no right or wrong. It's all about how many projects you can handle at once. "Handle" means keep working on steadily until each is finished.

I manage several projects by having a strict schedule. Each project gets it's own writing time, and I often add hours to my normal routine to make sure everything gets finished by deadline. But when the schedules writing time for a given project rolls around, that's the project I work on, no matter what.

On the other hand, I know writers who take on many projects, but work on one at a time until each is finished.

You have to do what works best for you. As long as it actually does work, as long as you are finishing each project, you're doing it right.

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mfarraday
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby mfarraday » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:35 pm

I have two irons in the fire right now. one a sci-fi story that keeps nagging at me, and another, an attempt to do something more gothic and risqué. (not sure that one will ever make it out of the ballpark, though. LOL. at least I'm learning what I'm capable of.)

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James Lacey
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby James Lacey » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:52 pm

You have to do what works for you. Some people need to stay busy. Others need to focus on one thing at a time. And still there is a group that strives for balance.

Take me, for example. I'm in the category of whacko's who need to stay busy. When I'm not working on one of my three writing projects (a sequel to my first novel, a short story series on my website and another manuscript in editing), I work with autistic clients as a behavior specialist and coach Special Olympics. Oh, and I recently started dating someone because I just have a ton of free time (#sarcasm). But staying that busy and always having that time crunch is what I need. Maybe it's a form of adult ADD, I don't know.

If you can handle multiple projects, and do them right, then go for it. The important thing is that you recognize when something is not working out and change your approach. You would be surprised how many adults forget that. Don't get stuck in a pattern or a life style that does not work for you.
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EccentricKim
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby EccentricKim » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:01 pm

I have two sequels to write . . . one a short story and one a novel. So I am currently paralyzed in fear, and telling myself that I'm taking a break. Well I did just move and everything, so a break is in order! I don't know what to start first. . . I looked at my novel the other day and just kinda read through two pages lol. But I think what I really want to do is the short story first. . . I'm afraid I will choke on both sequels so maybe the smaller project will give me confidence, but it will take a lot of research!

I like to do one thing at a time for the most part. But now sometimes I have extra blog posts and things to do and those little projects are fun! But sometimes if I have one project done in the first draft, then that's when I'll go to something else, but then go back to do some editing, then go back to the new one I'm writing, etc. For me at least, working on more than one book at a time is too much. But I have had more than one type of writing project going on at once: book, short story, and/or article.
Previously published writer starting over.

steve-in-kville
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Re: How many projects do take on at once?

Postby steve-in-kville » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:03 pm

Thanks for the replies. The memoir thing is always going on in the background. I just tend to do a short piece here and there, then its back to the big one. I am no real hurry to complete the big one, at least not yet as I have decided how deep to take it.

Poetry is just me goofing around. I like to read free verse but I'm certainly no good at writing it.

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