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  1. Drusilla

    Drusilla Active Member

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    Working on multiple projects- good or bad?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Drusilla, Dec 5, 2012.

    I am working on a major project, but I have had another idea in mind the last two days. The thing is......... My uncle told me it was a bad idea to work on two projects simultaneously. Right at the moment, I feel more encouraged to try out the new story idea than working on the "old project". I am not planning to abandon the old project. I am just feeling more inspired to write something else right now. But my uncle told me that it was a bad habit to start a new project every time one is not encouraged to write on the major project. What do you think?

    I was really looking forwards to start on the new project, but I am really unsure right now. And I don't really know if I can call it a project yet. They are some ideas that have been streaming through my head the last two days.

    What would you recommend me to do?
     
  2. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know many writers who work on multiple projects. The question is - do you want to start this new one to avoid working through difficulties with the first one? If so, that's procrastination. Make some quick notes on the new project and keep plugging away at the old one. If, however, it's just a new idea you're excited about, schedule time for each and see if you, as an individual, can handle two projects at once.

    Personally, I don't let 'being inspired' decide what I'm working on. Inspiration tends to be too capricious.
     
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  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The question should be, "Is working on multiple projects a good idea for me?"

    I don't know. It works for me. It doesn't work for everyone. It's all part of discovering your own personal writing process.
     
  4. Jetshroom

    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I'm terrible at working on multiple projects. Particularly if one has an earlier deadline than all the others. Because that one will be worked on last. Every time. Some people are fantastic at it and it helps them because when they get stuck on one, they can work on another.
     
  5. Pauly Pen Feathers

    Pauly Pen Feathers Member

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    I'm working on several projects right now. I'm relatively new at creative writing so don't expect to get any advice from a seasoned professional here, but the way my brain works, I get ideas when I get ideas. Simple as that. If I get an idea in the middle of a sleepless night, I'm going to get up and put it down on paper regardless of where I am in a project.

    One project I'm working is in the form of notes to myself about an idea. Another one is a 1500, or so, word short that I want to expand on. For me, inspiration is everything. I’m not captivated by it, I don’t’ allow it to detour my plans, but I certainly don’t look the other way when an idea that seems to spin itself into the framework of a good story line comes my way. I'm not a disciplined writer. I'm not writing to meet a deadline, make money, or even dream of being published. I'm just writing because I want to, and because I kinda think I can. But then, so do most of us, I think.
     
  6. svartalfheim

    svartalfheim Member

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    Its entirely dependent on the person. I myself couldn't work on more than one project at a time, especially if one is major. I'd just get to confused and eventually they'd slowly start sounding very similar to each other. It wouldnt work. smaller projects maybe, but even then they're at risk of sounding a like. If you can cope with more than one, then I envy you. As I'm sure it allows for a lot more to be done in a shorter amount of time.
     
  7. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I always like to have an alternative project - either a finished draft to be edited, or one in the early stages of formation - to turn to if I get stuck on my main project. It's also nice to have another project to work on when I'm editing because editing can be draining. And when I finish a first draft, I find it's best to let it lie for a period of time - anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months - before I start editing.

    OTOH, I find that having multiple projects in the same stage of development is counter-productive. But that's just me. YMMV.
     
  8. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've always been able to work on multiple projects successfully... if you can, it's okay... if you can't, that's okay, too...
     
  9. Burlbird

    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, it usually depends on the stage of the WiP. If it's the high point of writing the first draft, and an idea hits me that I can't incorporate in the primary work, I just write it down on the side and leave it for "better times". Sometimes new ideas might work against you, breaking your concentration and prolonging the creative process - sometimes they may work as a catalyst to push you further into narrative and helping you remain active by giving you something to think about and work on when the main project tires you... But as other said, it's a matter of personal choice and capabilities. You'll work out what works for you best in time.
     
  10. jwatson

    jwatson Active Member

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    I don't think I can. I let thoughts simmer in my head or in a notebook. Other than that, I think it'll disrupt the flow of the primary piece I'm working on.
     
  11. mg357

    mg357 Active Member

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    I do more than one writing project that way if i get stuck on one of them i can work on the other one until i get unstuck
     
  12. cmshepard

    cmshepard Member

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    If you're comfortable with multiple big projects, then go for it.

    For myself, I am continually working on my novel. At least once a week I'll write a chapter or a partial chapter. At least every day I work on a short story. My main this is to keep everything that isn't my KEY small. Now, my novel is key. If I start a short story I have to be sure it doesn't take me too long - maybe a day (30minutes, sometimes, if the right inspiration is there), maybe two. Never more. If it takes me longer than that to get it out, I save it away to work on when I have the right inspiration. If I have an idea for another BIG project, I make a note of it in my head, roll it around for a few days, and then write down a few key points if it makes it past the few days mark. =-]
     
  13. Deyvion

    Deyvion New Member

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    I have noticed that, at least I, write better when I don't focus on only ONE thing. Sure, there is the main project, however, it can be easy to get stuck if focus is put only on one thing (remember, this is how it is for me, it can be different for you). I even read several books at once, because switching between them somehow gives more 'influences' as I read the other ones. If you feel really strongly for the new project, I think you should go for it. Who knows, maybe it will become the main project? =)

    Don't listen too much to what others say. It is your writing. =)
     
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  14. Carthonn

    Carthonn Active Member

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    I don't like putting all my eggs in one basket. My constant fear is putting time into a project that ultimately lacks appeal. I play the numbers game in writing and dating.
     
  15. TALLULAH

    TALLULAH Member

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    Think it just depends on the individual. I work on multiple projects, but not every day. I also make notes or write out whatever is "bugging" me on that back-burner in my brain. I know a professional screenwriter who has about 12 balls in the air all the time. He is constantly making notes on one of those tiny little pocket notepads, everywhere he goes; walking down the street, in the middle of a sentence he's speaking, you name it. How he's kept that stuff straight after all these years I do not know! Somehow, he does it! And believe me when I tell ya, it's definitely paid off.
     
  16. Mikewritesfic

    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

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    This fall I have been reintroduced to the art of working on multiple projects simultaneously. And believe me, it is an art form. I've had to work on multiple papers and other class projects simultaneously for the past eleven weeks or so. As an undergrad and in law school I did the same thing, but now at this level it's ten times more intense and focused. I've learned again that it is possible to work on multiple projects and keep the quality level high. When break begins next week I'm going to try and take what I've learned and apply it to some fiction projects. Hope to have great results there too.
     
  17. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll make notes on story ideas whenever I think of them, but drabbles aside, when it comes to getting words on a page I try to work on just one story at a time. I found that when I tried to work on multiple projects at once, some always got left by the wayside. It was great for writer's block - when I was headbutting a wall with one story I could shift to another and get some momentum again - but I ended up with a load of half-finished stories I just didn't want to pick back up.

    As noted above, though, that's just me. There's a load of people on this thread who seem to have the exactly opposite experience. So yeah, try it out. Just be prepared to admit it doesn't work for you.
     
  18. Crystal

    Crystal Member

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    It works for me, but I think it all depends on what works best for you.
     
  19. Lewdog

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    As many have said already, working on multiple projects at once is okay. For me, working on multiple projects actually clears my mind so that I can get a fresh view of things and help me to open my treasure trove of creativity for both projects at once. You could be researching something for one project, and stumble across something that would strengthen the other project. It's awesome how the mind works isn't it? Not to sound silly, but when I get brain locked thinking about an answer or way to fix a problem, as soon as I have to go to the bathroom it hits me like an ah ha moment. It's crazy how everyone has a key that unlocks their thoughts. Mine just happens to be silly but true. I hope that helps.
     
  20. MindTheGap

    MindTheGap Member

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    I always have several going at once. That way, if I run out of steam on one, I can let it sit and work on another one. I don't like to get stagnant or not write at all, so having several projects going at once keeps me from falling into that trap.
     
  21. IanLC

    IanLC Member

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    I do not feel that working on multiple projects is bad. I do it all the time I began on something and stop but I always go back to it later and finish it. I write in creative spurts and thus if I aint inspired I do not write about it and transfer to the next project.
     
  22. RaeRae

    RaeRae Member

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    So most of my stories come from lucid dreams that I have. Because of this, I have stacks of dream journals and over 110 unfinished stories that span nearly 25 years. Now at the age of 40, I have to go back to the ones I wrote in high school and revise them and even some of the ones I wrote in my 20's. For me, 110 is probably too many but I do write new ideas constantly...hence the unfinished ones. Multiple is good but it can go too far: like I have.
     
  23. Drusilla

    Drusilla Active Member

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    I want to thank you all for your helpful answers. I now understand that there is no definite answer to whether it is good or bad to work on multiple projects. It depends on the individual. Thanks a lot!
     
  24. squirrelpen

    squirrelpen New Member

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    Perhaps it is a bad habit to start multiple projects all at the same time as you won't be able to finish anything but sometimes it will affect the quality of our work if we force ourselves to continue a certain project when we do not find it interesting at the moment. We might lose the organization of our thoughts and turn the flow of the story into a random circus if we try to finish it without focus. I suggest you try to divert your attention to your new ideas and if it is not related to story that you are currently writing, you can leave the current one to start a new story then go back when you gain back your interest. You need inspiration to be creative in writing your stories and luck of it will not help achieve your goal in writing a good story. It is better to finish it quite late at least you really got the result that you wanted rather than finish it on your desire time frame but the outcome of the work piece is not what you aim for. Unless you have a deadline to meet, take advantage of the time given to you to achieve the best written piece.
     
  25. Hambone

    Hambone Member

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    I like having more than one project going. If I work too long on one thing, like editing, it seems to sit there and stare back at me after some time. Like working on a word find, if you put it away for 30 minutes, when you go back to it the words you couldn't find jump out at you. After some time, I'll just put my writing project away for a month then go back to it. Which works out great for me, sometimes my work schedule is hectic. If I get stuck with a bunch of overtime, I won't even think about writing. Then I can pick it up and look at it with fresh eyes when I have more "me" time.
     

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