1. Roux

    Roux Member

    May 2, 2011
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    Switching between WIPs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Roux, Mar 30, 2016.

    Here's my dilemma...Awhile ago (okay, like five years ago) I started writing a novel that I would describe as my baby. Its my absolute favorite novel idea I've ever come up with, and that's probably why its still not finished. I'm constantly rewriting it and its probably never going to be good enough in my perfectionist eyes. Of course that is a whole other topic. Back to my main point...in order to take a break from this novel, since it was going nowhere and I had terrible writer's block, I started writing another one that I would say I enjoy, maybe not love as much as the other, but enjoy nevertheless.
    My problem is now I'm feeling inspired to write the first one again, but if I go back to that, I fear I won't finish the one I am working on and since I've put so much time into it I just can't simply leave it hanging. So my question for all of you is, how do you balance between writing two different books? Good or bad idea? I'm debating if I could handle working on both at the same time but I don't know, its not something I've ever done before.
    Any thought or comment is appreciated. :)
  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Yikes, I've got the same problem. I try and make mini goals for myself. I don't always meet them but sometimes I do. For instance I may say resolve this scene before working on another piece. And I do. Or I say to myself get three pages done before switching projects.
    Just be careful with long term projects they can sometimes suck the life out of you with not much to show for the invested time. ( I've been there. )
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Aug 23, 2013
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    In my (not yet professionally published :( so don't take this as gospel) opinion, working on two stories at the same time is a fantastic way to keep writing even when you've hit the wall on one specific story or the other.

    Whatever story you're writing, you will need a break from writing it at least once in a while. Writing something else beats writing nothing else ;)

    ... unless of course that's the reason I'm not professionally published yet.
  4. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Nov 12, 2014
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    I think it really depends on why.

    I mean I do it too and a lot of writers do. So I don't think we are all bad for it. I find that when I am pushing 1 story too much, I begin to get tired, frustrated and short change my ideas(by which I mean in an eagerness to finish I sort of story writing badly.) These sound worse to be than a break.

    But let me give some examples of both good and bad.

    If you are switch because you need a skill you don't yet have. Whether it be:
    - Detication to editing
    - Learning proper Commas
    - Writing a scene you have trouble with(Sex scene for me.)

    And you avoid the book to avoid these. That is bad. If your story calls for a sex scene, you aren't going to move past that by taking a break and writing another story that doesn't involve a sex scene. So in this case I think of it like dodging. If you are switching to dodge something, that is bad.

    But if you switches because of the following:
    - Feel the muse for another story
    - Put in too much time and need a break
    - Aren't feeking the muse.

    I say switch. There is indeed a value to practice. I have about 5 books right now. And if I am really feeling one more than the others. I will write that one that day. It is more fun that way and when you have fun, I think you add that enjoyment into the writing. And there is no reason not to do that.

    It also depends your goals. If you are looking to publish this year, constantly switching is not going to help you shine your manuscript as much. So, no good or bad objectively. What is your goal and your reason? Those will decide if in this case switching is hurting or helping you.
  5. JLT

    JLT Active Member

    Mar 6, 2016
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    Isaac Asimov had a novel solution to this problem. He had five or six typewriters set up in his study, each one dedicated to a different writing project. As he hit a wall on one project, he'd just move to another typewriter and pick up where he'd left off on that project. The projects were varied enough in genre (mystery, science writing, science fiction, literary appreciation, or whatever) that he could bring an entirely different mind-set to the table.

    When word processors came along, he simply adapted the scheme so that, instead of moving positions, he'd just swap out one floppy disk for another one. What was important in both cases was that he was able to compartmentalize his energy so that being hung up on one project didn't interfere with being hung up on another.

    Another trait of his writing style was that he pretty much had what he was going to type already worked out in his head, and it was simply a process of getting it either on paper or into a document file. He was famous in the publishing industry for requiring almost nothing in the way of re-writes, I've been told.
    Simpson17866 likes this.

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