On writing multiple projects

Sometimes writing is difficult and writers’ block is a wall of concrete that doesn’t let creativity break through. But I wonder if there’s a name for the opposite condition? What when multiple ideas fill your mind and you can’t concentrate on just one because you have to do justice to them all? This is what has been going on with me last few months, in fact since I took part in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel writing month competition. Nano was in fact good because it channeled my Muse and made me work on one project. But before and since I have had a hard time getting my mind to stick to anything. There is no dearth of ideas for a change. I get brilliant flashes of inspiration for characters and have written three chapters each for at least three different stories. The characters are all knocking in my head asking for their story to be told but somehow it’s hard to get fixed on anyone out of all three. On top of that I have the Nano novel (more appropriately Nano heap) waiting to get edited! While struggling with the ideas jostling in my head, I have gained some insight into how to write (at least partly) more than one manuscript at a time so would like to share that with you. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re doing multiple writing projects.

Fill character sheets.

Character sheets are very helpful. You can track your character their past and present and whenever you pick up your wip  x, y or z, all you have to do is glance over the sheets and the characters are back in your mind fully formed and raring to get into their story. For a brief character bio, write down three key incidents from their past at different stages of their lives.

Write only one story per day minimum.

If possible keep that for a week. Because yes, it’s true one cannot multi-write effectively. For short stretches it works. And sometimes it even pushes your creativity. But when you’re deep in a story, don’t juggle. When you’re in the idea phase or just beginning for me at least it’s ok to pingpong from one to the next. But not when things get to the dramatic turning points in the story.

Shift between writing and editing.

It actually is relaxing. Because editing is this tiring, never ending, uphill journey which yields results you can appreciate only when done. But writing is creating and much more fulfilling. So going back and forth can really charge you up. So all in all, by following the above ways I was able to work simultaneously at more than one story. Of course it sometimes took me ten seconds to think and type the character’s name because I’d get confused who actually was in the story I was penning down! Occasionally I have left dots to be filled later. Lol!

For now I’ve decided to work on one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. Except when you’re actually utilizing the time that otherwise you’d be wasting. Then it’s something like frying out potato fingers while waiting for cake to bake. So if you’re waiting to hear back on something do use the time to get into your next project. Or if you’re editing.

Now I have the Nano heap to tackle….and Camp Nano has started and beckons to join in. I’m resisting because I want to finish the earlier things first. As for the heap, well easy to decide what to do about that. Why not keep the toughest job for the last? All I have to do is shove it to the folder and forget it. Except that isn’t the way to get anything finished! So I’ve decided to be brave and get the editing done. And then to finish those partials!

What are you doing in your writing? Do you hate editing enough to keep procrastinating? Are you juggling with multiple projects? Did you find any tips helpful? Do get back, I’d love to hear from you!

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