Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - tips for multi-tasking manuscripts

That's how I look when I try to do more than one thing at a time. I'm one of those writers who focus on one project and finish it before diving into a new one. Most of the time, I'm highly efficient. So does that make me crazy to want to attempt to work on two projects at once?

I see other writers who are brilliant at multi-tasking projects. I am in awe. But I know all of us are different. What works for one person might not for another. We don't know until we try, though.

Two projects. Yikes. I'm taking a deep breath here. I'm collecting advice from other authors who are successful multi-taskers.

- Create a schedule and stick with it. Sounds easy, but what if you're on a roll? Too bad. Stop and continue again tomorrow. Be firm with yourself.

- It helps if your projects are vastly different from one another. That way, you won't get tired of too much of the same thing.

- Keep writing. Don't edit as you go. Leave that for the revision stage.

- Don't neglect other aspects of your life. Make sure you have time to spend with family and friends, exercise, and sleep. You will be a happier writer for it.

- Finally, finish what you start. If you find your focus is off because you have too much on your plate, drop one project. 

Do you have any tips to share about multi-tasking projects?


  1. I was an anal project manager in my previous life. I can't schedule or plan any more. I'm Mr. Spontaneous.

  2. I usually can't handle two projects at once, but I did just write two short stories last month, so maybe I'm getting better at it.

  3. Nope. When I multitask I lose my mind. Truthfully. I have to totally zen into the book I'm writing, and then it haunts and builds in my subconscious ALL THE TIME and basically writes itself. It kills me to multitask, but sometimes we have to, eh? The key for me is creating zones that reflect each work and mentally getting back into the selected story pants.

  4. I think it's important to not over task your multitasking. our might be able to handle three or maybe not. Don't be afraid to drop one.

  5. For me? One writing project at a time, thank you! But I can do other stuff like graphic design and promo.

  6. I don't like having two projects going at the same time but sometimes it happens. I don't like having to stop working on a new WIP because my publisher has sent back an earlier novel for edits. It's too easy to get character voices mixed up. But it has to be done so I suffer through it.

  7. I wouldn't say I multitask but if my attention is being pulled by a different story, I may indulge it and work on something else for a little while. But for the most part I like to work on one major project at a time (and usually my distractions are within the same universe of that story).

  8. I multi-task with books a lot less than I did in the past, since it's become harder to concentrate all my energies on the most important priority if I have multiple things competing for my attention. Nowadays, I might edit or revise several things at the same time, or spent most of my time writing something and allotting a little more time for editing.

  9. Prioritize. Pick one project that you want to work on more often. If working on two projects, I find working on one from Monday to Friday and the other on weekends work best. Or that's what I did when I started multi-tasking to help my brain switch gears.

    These days, I don't really need that, but the priority thing remains, because it helps me get stuff done.

  10. I don't have any tips as I am the world's worst multi-tasker. Thanks for sharing these!
    This is such a cute photo. :)

  11. I think you have the main tips on working on multiple projects at one time. Three projects has been my maximum so far. For me, I have one main project and the other is a side project. I don't spend as much time on it as the main one. I'd suggest not stopping at the end of a scene/chapter. Always write a little more so you can ease into the next scene/chapter more easily. I also read through either my outline or the last few paragraphs of a scene/chapter before I start writing. It puts me into the frame of mind for the story.

  12. I'm in awe of writers who churn their work out so quickly. I'm a slow-poke writer.

    What worked for me in regards to setting goals was to have a spreadsheet with the daily projected word count. It was something easy to reach: 300 words a day, for example, so that even on the busiest day I had no excuse not to make my count. And I allowed myself to go over the limit, but no matter where I ended, I was on the hook for at least 300 words the next day. Once or twice I missed (due to travel) and had to make up the count in order to stay "on schedule." It was a really good system (I tried it for Changers) and I'd use it again to keep me motivated. Because then I worry less about whether it's any good, I'm just getting the words out.

  13. Great tips. I spend a lot of time darting from one idea to another. I do make progress, but I end up with several unfinished projects though. I admire people like you who have the ability to focus. :)

  14. I can skip between projects when editing, but sometimes when I have a first draft I'm working on, I solely focus on it because I want to finish it.

  15. I've failed at multi tasking so far this year. Mostly, it does come down to having a schedule and sticking to it. I will be going into multi task mode shortly... after taking a day off.

  16. Right now I'm writing one book, revising another with beta readers, will soon be editing another with my editor, and I really should finish writing one other and editing yet another. *screams*

  17. Mac, my pantser self constantly thwarts my attempts to plan!

    Alex, I'm hoping it just takes practice.

    Crystal, that's what I tend to do too. I get so focused on one thing, multi-tasking is near impossible.

    Holly, good advice!

    Catherine, me too. The little jobs are okay!

    Susan, I worry about mixing up character voices too, but I hope my two projects are vastly different to keep them apart.

    Sarah, that's how I did things too.

    Carrie-anne, I have mommy brain bad sometimes and that makes focusing on anything hard!

    Misha, thanks for the tips!

    Julie, thank you! :)

    Cherie, you are a master at multi-tasking. :)

    M, that's what I'm going to try too.

  18. Loni, focus I have. Now I just need to focus on more than one thing at a time!

    Patricia, first drafts draw me in too.

    Mary, you do so much, you amaze me!

    Chrys, holy crow! You're a multi-tasking queen!

  19. I've had to learn to work on multiple projects. I used to set my current WIP aside when copyedits came back or when my agent wanted me to go back over a proposal one more time before she sends it off...and then I'd go back to my WIP and find I'd lost my momentum. So I try to still do at least 250 words a day on my WIP no matter what's going on.

  20. I'm still trying to figure out how to juggle. I've been wanting to start writing a new novel, but I'm editing one. So I'm setting aside Fridays for editing on that. But I need to fit in writing and editing short stories, and I haven't been able to make a workable schedule yet that includes everything. Good luck as you work on your projects!

  21. Sorry, I'm laughing, it's all great until you hit that moment when nothing else matters but the work - then all the good intentions, lists, and yes, even family needs, go up in smoke!
    Just say'n - if you adopt these wonderful habits, most of the time you can successfully pull it off, but there will be that day, week, even longer, that it's all gone. You're in the zone, and damn the individual or life event that gets in the way. :)
    And I will selfishly say those times are the most fun, at least for this writer!

  22. Stephanie, I'm trying to do at least that too. I'd love to be able to do a chapter a day, but I'm not quite there yet.

    Shannon, thank you. I need to find a way to work in short stories to my schedule!

    Yolanda, oh, I know the zone! *LOL* I love the zone. :)


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