Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book-by-Book or Writing Adventure?


I’m one of those crazy writers who work on more than one project at a time. Some writers understand this, some don’t. For me, it’s a natural pattern I’ve fallen into over the years. I’m not sure how I started writing this way, but now that I’m coming down to the finish line with one project, in the back of my mind I’m thinking about what else to juggle alongside the other story I have going. And yes, I have a ton of editing that’s calling my name relentlessly.


I realize I straddle projects because:
  •          Every so often a news item or conversation sparks a story idea, which has to be fleshed out and written down. Now.
  •          Writing more than one story at a time prevents me from getting bored. Personality wise, my mind toes numb after a time when I follow the same routine day in and day out.
  •          Plot points come together and the next few chapters unfold even when I’m not consciously thinking about them.
  •          I don’t go into emotional overload if I juggle more than one book at a time. You know how it is when you have an intense character. Taking a break gives a fresh perspective and avoids mental breakdown. (Joking here!)
  •          Contractually, I’m supposed to be writing follow-up novels to the first ones. This is usually the easy part, as my secondary characters tend to come mature and beg for a story.
    Adventure Anyone?
  •          Sometimes, due to work and life, I’m too tired to write. When this happens, I take a break from everything. This one is hard to keep up for long stretches of time, because when I don’t write, I feel like I’ve committed a sin and haven’t confessed. Also, since there is always a book that needs my attention, I get to choose which one to jump back into.
I suspect writing the way I do is the reason I can’t claim to have experienced writers block. I don’t recommend this method for anyone else. This probably sounds like total madness for a highly organized writer. For me, writing is an adventure and I aim to keep it that way.

How about you? D’you go book by book or juggle two or three stories and some editing?

25 comments:

  1. I'm much more a one-at-a-time writer. Except for the past few months I've been working on three separate projects - each at a different stage. It's make me a bit crazy. I'm hoping the major work on one of these is wrapping up soon. Then I'll know if I can handle two. Time will tell.

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    1. This is probably why I've crossed the line into crazy. :) Wishing you luck in getting that one wrapped up.

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  2. This is the way I write too, and I never get writer's block. It works for me, and probably is a result of multi-tasking at my old job. A parent learns that as well.

    The downside is we take longer sometimes to finish a project. Nice post, J.L.!

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    1. True that, D.G.,
      Parenting does teach us how to multitask and for sure, I do take longer finishing up each project.

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  3. I can never juggle two stories at the same time! well, i haven't really tried but I think it might drive me nuts:)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. To each his own. I'd probably go crazy trying to stay focused on one book.

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  4. Good for you, being able to multitask like that! I've had to start learning to (even though I prefer to be one-track minded) now that I have an agent and I have to juggle more than one manuscript. Revising one while WIPing another; one has to be set aside for a while when the other is worked on. Fun, fun! ;o)

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  5. I can't help it. I will often juggle more than one project but it is frustrating.

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    1. I'd wonder what had gone wrong in my writing world if I kept to one project.

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  6. So far, I've been doing one at a time, but this year I will try to juggle two projects at once. The WIP I'm planning to query took TWO years to finish because I kept dragging my feet, getting stuck, and trying to make it perfect. I'm hoping that working on multiple stories at once will keep everything fresh and new!

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    1. Julie, I guess you won't know if juggling will work for you until you try it. Good luck.

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  7. I write one novel at a time, but I write short stories at the same time I write my novels.

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  8. I work on one novel at a time, but I usually have one "in the wings" waiting for some stage time. The second I take a break from the WIP or that WIP is out and about, the one in the wings steps up.

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    1. Hi, Cynthia, sounds like you're always at work.

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  9. I finishing one now, but I'm also working on two others (all nonfiction) and have written outlines for two more (fiction).

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    1. Sounds like you have the sort of crazy system I do.

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  10. I usually juggle two stories until one becomes clearly dominant. Then I finish that one, with the knowledge that I have something to dig into right away while it rests.

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    1. Jess, it's good that you know what works for you and use it to your advantage.

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  11. Hey darlin', I just wanted to thank ya for visitin' over at my place with your sweet comment. Heaven knows I covet comments.

    Please drop by often, the door of the Ponderosa is always open.

    Have yourself a fantastically blessed day Miss J.L.! :o)

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    1. Thanks, Nezzy,

      You bring a ray of sunshine with you when you visit. Thanks for dropping in.

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  12. I tend to work on one project at a time, although I have written fiction while also writing non-fiction. That's probably because they require different parts of the brain to function.

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    1. I'm guessing that switching over is easy, meaning that because one is so different form the other that the change is welcome and interesting.

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  13. Oh you must be catholic. The whole "sinning and not following up with a confession" is definitely a catholic thing.

    I think that your writing method works excellent for you and that's all that matters. You are extremely productive, and are building your brand successfully. Look at me...some dude in Utah that knows all about J.L. Campbell from Jamaica. That shows you that what you are doing is having an effect, you have reach, and are slowly but surely becoming a "known" author.

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    1. Awww, thanks, Micheal. I never thought about things like that. You could swing that the other way too. Some dude from Utah, who's known by someone in Jamaica. Now I gotta get around to reading your book. Soon!

      Oh, yeah. I am Catholic. :)

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