Splitting Time Between Writing Projects
I have two stories waiting for edits. I need to keep them moving, but I don’t want to stop writing new material. How can I juggle my projects more effectively?
Okay, so here I am trying to work something out. I’m dumping my thoughts here (makes it sound like a brain-poo. Sorry, weird image. BUT YOU CAN’T UNREAD IT!) in case they’re of any use to anyone else, and also to get feedback.
What’s the Situation, Mr.?
This is the situation, right here: I’m just finishing off the first full draft of a longer-than-short-but-smaller-than-novella story. When I do that, I’ll want to leave it alone for a bit, so I can come at it relatively fresh when it comes to editing. Normally I would start a new story while the other is festering in a drawer.
BUT I have another story that’s waiting for some serious editing (we’ll call this story A, and the ones above story B and C respectively). So, while story B is on a break, do I
- resume work on story A until finished, then return to story B, and finally start story C when both are finished?
- start story C, then come back to story A, then story B?
- finish story A, then start story C, then edit story B?
There are other combinations I’m sure. The point is, I either end up with a long period of time where I’m not generating new material (1 and 2, assuming there is a mysterious story D after two), or leaving a massive gap before I return to edit a drafted story. The former is a problem because I don’t want to fall out of my writing routine and lose momentum in generating new material. The latter is a problem because although I want to leave a project for a bit I don’t want to leave it too long, for fear of never coming back to it.
So naturally I want to do everything! My limited time means I would normally work on only one project at a time, but in order to keep things moving I really feel I have to start writing story C, whilst also making some time for editing story A. After some thought, my strategy will be twofold…
Be more opportunistic
I admit that I’m rather inflexible. I am a person who gets a lot out of being in a routine, which is fine, but outside of that I don’t take advantage of unexpected free time. I like to know what’s coming up; I like to know that my writing time is at this point in the day. If I even think about writing outside of that, the option is quickly dismissed for something that seems easier.
So, I hereby declare that if some surprise free time should show itself, I will spend some time on writing first, other distractions second. I heard the Mighty Mur once suggest telling yourself you only have to write for 15 minutes. That’s a great idea as it immediately makes the task seem less daunting. Getting into it is the biggest problem. The likelihood is I’ll spend longer than 15 minutes in any given session, but allowing myself that option means I’m much more likely to get started.
Sacrifice some new material time
I don’t want to do it, but although I could technically add more time to my writing routine (you can always add more time, unless you’re writing 24 hours a day) by getting up earlier (I thought about that once before but never managed it. I’m thinking about it again now, but we’ll see) or sacrificing more time at weekends, that may not happen.
It’s far more likely that I’ll get some editing done if I work it into my current routine. Those other things are still options I can take, but I think it’s best to go with what you know will get you results at first. So, I will start by sacrificing one journey home to the editing gods. If I find it’s not going fast enough and I need more time (probably), then I’ll sacrifice another journey, but that’s it!
So there we go. That’s how I’ll be juggling my projects for the moment. Who knows, maybe something will actually get finished! Thank you for allowing me to indulge in some rambling so I can sort my routine out. I hope it has been of some use to you. Any input is of course welcome, and I’d love to know about your writing routines and how you juggle different projects in their various stages of readiness! Please leave a comment below for discussification.