1. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    How do you divide your attention?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bumblebot, Mar 13, 2011.

    Currently, I am working on a first draft of Novel A. Novel B and C have been written out as short summaries and put on the back burner because I want to focus and not overwhelm myself by trying to work on too many projects at once.

    However, Novel B keeps bothering me. I feel like it is sapping my enthusiasm for Novel A because it is starting to seem like a more interesting project, maybe just because I am not letting myself get side-tracked.

    Do you work on multiple projects at once? I wonder if this has an influence on an author's ability to immerse themselves in a single story and spend all of their writing energy developing it as thoroughly as they can. However, on the other hand, it seems such a shame to deliberately stifle the urge to write, even if you don't want to write exactly what you feel you should be writing.
     
  2. Lazy_Otaku271
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    Lazy_Otaku271 New Member

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    Wouldn't you like to know.
    Personally, I always work on whatever story I feel like working on. I can have around 10 different stories going on (about 2 or 3 will be completed). I think I do the best writing when I let the material come to me instead of trying to sit down and force myself to write a bunch of junk.

    Of course, some people work better when they are forced, and that is fine. I'm just not wired that way.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I work much more effciently on one project at a time - when an idea I write a short story and test it out. If it looks like it has legs then I schedule it in my novel project list/

    It takes too long to finish a project if I am working on a lot at once. I like to be able to have the squared away and be able to say well I have a book finished.
     
  4. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I bet it's a case of the grass always being greener. If you drop project A and go to project B, project A might start to look more appealing.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually go back and forth between them, until one really captures my attention, then I focus entirely on it, until I get bored/need to work on something else. Sometimes I can write 4-5 projects all at once without losing interest, sometimes, as like now, there's only really one thing I want to work on. I'm fine with it - stories happen as they happen and take their own time, and as long as there's one that wants writing, I'm good. :)
     
  6. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    I like this idea, I'm going to start working on the other one until I run out of steam. Novel C better keep its mouth shut.
     
  7. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I've heard that even widely known professional authors vary greatly on this. Some won't touch another storyline until they've submitted their current manuscript, some hop from one story to the next like a [analogy redacted]. This is certainly a case that I think you need to figure out how you work best. In my opinion, which looks to be the conclusion you've already reached, writing isn't just work, it should also be satisfying, so if you're running out of steam somewhere, switching gears might help you out. Just be sure not to lose your self-discipline.
     
  8. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I'm working on story A, but story B starts seeming more interesting to me, I switch. I used to just jot down the ideas I had for the second story and keep going with the first, but my writing always started to feel forced when that happened. Switching back and forth keeps things fresh.
     
  9. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Well, I meant to imply maybe you should stick with project A, lol. But your plan might also work. I guess as long as you are writing something, it's all good.
     
  10. Jammo
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    Jammo Member

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    I personally believe that it's probably a better idea to focus on one project at once. Then you can put all of your energy in to that one story to improve on what you have at whatever time. I have tried working on various projects at one time, and it can become overwhelming on the mind.
    When writing any material, that's not the greatest situation to be in.

    However, if you believe you can do it and it works effectively for you, then go ahead and write your brains out.
     
  11. bekajoi
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    bekajoi Senior Member

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    I was trying to work on Big Project B and Little Project B kept poking its head in, yelling that I hadn't finished it yet. So I set Big Project B aside for a few days, knocked out Little Project B, and it's quieter now. I'm editing it one more time to take out what's not needed for the story (and to get my word count a little bit lower for contest fun, perhaps), then it will be silent.

    Big Project A is still lurking in a corner, but it's happy to stay quiet for now. I can come back to it when I have a few things worked out. This one was started ages ago on a word processor and my floppy discs won't transfer, so I have to copy it over. And I don't have space to have both my computer and the massive WP thing out at the same time. So until I do (just takes a little time and getting my new floors done so I can move stuff around), that one remains on the back burner. This one may be broken down into a series of short books for younger kids, too. There are a lot of different themes in it. But that will take a lot of work. *phew*

    Anyway, I try and stick to one project per day/week/month, and put the others away while I work on the one that's nagging the hardest. The trick is to get some work done and get myself stuck in some way so I need to walk away from it for a bit, and THEN move on to something else while I let it rest and work itself out in the furrows of my mind.

    Then again, I may be an awful person to ask. I have issues finishing things. Alas.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've always been able to work on multiple writing projects at the same time, with no problem...

    if you can, fine... if you can't, don't...
     
  13. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    Do you notice if you finish projects more or less often when you focus on them?

    I'm at a tedious part in Novel A and when I was younger, this would be the time when I would put it down, work on something more fun, and never pick it back up again.
     
  14. bekajoi
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    bekajoi Senior Member

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    I put them down and pick them back up again. Novel A is something I've worked on for 17 years. Story B has been on the burner for 15 years, it was on its way to being Novel B, but I decided to make it a short story instead. I will be posting this one for critique once my official 14 days are up. Gives me time to edit once or twice more. I want to shorten it.

    I had been working on Novel B (started/conceived 1.5 years ago) when Story B kept rearing its irritating head. I needed to finish Story B to get it out of the way. So I knocked that baby out, and I can now focus on Novel B.

    Or I can focus on shorts for a while, get some conflict/resolution under my belt, and then return to Novel B.

    In the end, I do intend to finish all of the different projects I've come up with. It just depends on the timing, what is speaking to me at the time, and which seems the most important to finish.

    Part of the trick is that Novel B will likely be Book 1 in Trilogy A. So once I finish that one, there is still work to be done on that project.

    Kids are distracting, hope that made sense.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have in one year completed one novel (I rewrote it again last month because of what I had learned it now needs the spit and polish final edit again), have two completed first novel drafts, one novella drafted.

    The only one I don't have completed to first draft stage is the one I interrrupted to write my NaNoWriMo this year. That started me writing several projects at once, and was a mistake in the end I ordered them and worked on them one at a time but the one I interrupted has been kind of messed up by the rewrite of my first novel (I had been telling my first book from POV of my MCs brother but now the brother has a bigger part in the first book it doesn't work lol However it did get combined with the first one in a lot of ways).

    Where I am bad is rewriting and editing short stories - I tend to write them and it takes me months to come back to them. When I get a new plot bunny I just takes some time to construct the main characters and write either a short story or first upto 2000 words of the beginning then I put it in order to be written.

    I now know I am writing Socrates' Children this month, next month Stoned Witches (Gus and Iris), the month after is Coffee Killers (Cream and Black) - then I should over the summer have four books to edit which I can print off and do sitting on the beach whilst the kids play. By autumn ready to start writing again.
     

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