Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Juggling With Projects - How Much of A Multitasking Writer Are You?

Juggler at the Beach

Before I started writing, I couldn't imagine a writer working on more than one story at a time. While I had no idea of the actual scope of efforts and time writing demanded, I knew it was at least "a lot", and it didn't possible to stretch one's mind on two or three projects at once.

Fast-forward a few years later. I started roleplaying and realised I could hold more than one story in my head at once. It still wasn't writing, but I think life was trying to prepare me for the truth.

Today I alternate between six different WIPs. I tend give most of my writing time to one of them during a few months, with the occasional dabbling in another. Then the first is put on the backburner, the second becomes the main project, and a third takes the dabbler's place.*

I know, however, that not all writers work like this. The number of WIPs one consistently works with is like most other variables of the writers' journey: they vary from one person to the other.

So I'm curious, writer friends! How many WIPs do you work with? If you've got more than one, how do you usually function?

*Trying to pick the next dabbler is always tons of fun... in a very *head desk* I don't know which I prefer right now, aaaah!


  1. I have 7? Something like that. I usually just work on the main one (my current one), and if I get an idea for another, or during NaNo, I will switch to another one.

  2. I try not to jump between projects, because I prefer the full immersion experience. If I'm stuck on one, though, I'll do research for another to make good use of the downtime.

  3. I have three WIPs at the moment. If I have any more, I think my productivity will throw itself out the window. xD

    I tend to work on whichever one inspires me at the moment. Unfortunately, this can change daily, so now I'm forcing myself to pick one and stick with it.

  4. I'm with GK. I have heaps of things on the go, and work on whichever interests me most at the time. This is why I am trying to improve my focus and become more of a plotter... Otherwise I never finish anything.

  5. cookie: Yeah, I usually switch project for NaNo too. It's a good occasion to give some attention to the less developped ideas.

    Margo: Full immersion is why I work in big chunks. I try to complete one draft (or one set of revisions) before I switch project.

    GKJ: Who needs productivity? Oh, wait...

    Jen: Hey, I'm a plotter and I still manage not to finish anything. ;)

  6. I try to limit myself to three, one I'm actively writing, one in revision, and a third that's either too fun to ignore or that I'm still trying to figure out. Right now, the one I'm trying to figure out has been in my head longer than the one that's complete and in revisions with an editor. No idea how that worked out.


  7. Honestly, I haven't tried working on multiple stories at once. Usually my multitasking involves doing research and worldbuilding and outlining for other stories on the side.

    By the way, I've passed on a blog award to you. Check it out here: http://subcreator.blogspot.com/2011/08/passing-on-love.html

  8. 6 or 7 stories at once!? My head just exploded, maybe you heard it?

    I have my last year's NaNo that 's still stewing/composting, waiting for it's rewrite after the first of the year. Right now, I have this year's NaNo bubbling in my head and I'm working feverishly on plot, setting, and characters. To throw a whole new story into the pot would KILL ME. I am in awe of those of you who can juggle so many stories!

  9. TL: And I am in awe with those who manage to keep their brain from running wild with other Shiny Ideas. ;)