On writing

How many writing projects should you juggle at one time?

We haven’t done a lot of work on Barrain lately. Most of our writing work has been on Shared Memories, a novel we had completed previously, that is currently going through the draft process.

There is one section left to re-write in Shared Memories, and that’s another major draft finished.

Barrain has suffered in the interim. Progress is slow, almost non-existent. We’re up to 18,000 words at present.

Why start one story and move on to something else?

Over Christmas Barrain was hard going. Sometimes, when you are stuck, you just have to take a break from the story that is giving trouble and work on another.

It’s always good to have more than one project going.

But … I don’t mean start a new story every time. Have works at different stages—one in first draft, another that just needs a polish.

When you get bogged down creatively, switch over to the other book and do some nuts and bolts editing.

  • Don’t work on two creative drafts at the one time
  • Don’t juggle too many projects—two is about all we can manage
  • Don’t use it as an excuse to drop what you are doing and start something else.

Persevere until you absolutely sure you are stuck. Sometimes, when a story isn’t working all you need to do is take a couple of days off. Only occasionally does it need the more drastic action outlined here. Ensure that you don’t put the novel away until you have really tried—and I mean really, really tried—all other options to get back on track.

Lastly, when you have finished the other project, go back to the book you put away for the interim. You may be surprised at how much enthusiasm you have for it when you are ready.

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