Work on only one thing at a time
I’ll try my best-est to be nice to this piece of advice, but really. Every writer knows that this is absolutely impossible. We can discipline ourselves as much as we want, but there will always be stories raging to get out, and we can’t stuff them down forever.
I have tried this, and there is a way to sort of make it work? But if the inspiration isn’t there, then it isn’t there. I actually had to break this piece of advice this past year while working on Shadows in London, the sequel to London in the Dark. I had gotten about halfway through with the book and had kind of hit a wall. The inspiration had fled, mostly because I was having FABULOUS ideas for another book and series. I used my defense mechanism, which is writing down every idea that intrudes and saving it for later, but it wasn’t working. I really wanted to write that other book. So, I broke the rule. I set Shadows aside and pulled out the notebook where I had written the first few chapters of my idea and started writing. I didn’t look back until I had finished the rough draft of that new novel.
See, each person is different and inspiration is fleeting. I don’t believe we should stuff ANY of it, even if we do it to be productive and finish our first project. I’m not saying cast off all restraint and write wherever your fancy flutters. . . never finishing anything. But I do think giving ourselves some freedom and recognizing when it’s important to follow that inspiration is a good idea. Discipline is still important if you want to see results, but you can be disciplined while still working on more than one thing at once.
This piece of advice isn’t even specific to writing numerous things at once. I almost always am writing on one project while editing or formatting another, so that’s nothing new. And let me tell you, things would be done much slower for me if I worked on only one of those at a time.
One good reason to work on numerous things at once, is that it actually can help keep your inspiration fresh. If you feel like you get bogged down when trying to keep track of two stories, then don’t do it. But there have been times in my life when I was writing two completely different things and I swapped days, or I wrote a week on one, then a week on another. It’s helpful to shake things up once in a while and to keep the inspiration flowing. I can get tired or worn out on a story number one. But when I start working on story number two, I can put #1 aside so that when I go back to it, I have a fresh mind.
That’s just all I have to say. It can be done. *turns up nose* So take that. 😀
What about you? What do you think about this piece of advice.
By God’s Grace,