We’re all different, and we do things differently as a result.
That’s great, as variety keeps life interesting. Another way to keep things interesting is to have more than one project on the go at once. Now, I’m talking about writing here, specifically, but it’s advice that can apply to many aspects of our lives.
It’s not for everyone; I know plenty of writers – and people – who prefer to focus on one thing at a time and get it out the way before moving onto the next. That’s absolutely fine but I’ve found it can make things a little…monotonous.
That’s why I mix things up a bit from time to time.
The benefits of switching projects
I’ll be honest here, staving off boredom is sometimes a challenge for me. I write longer pieces of fiction most of the time, and novels feature a big part of that. However, there’s blog posts, freelance work and short stories to do, too.
Balancing all of these projects can be tricky but if I waited until the last one was finished, I’d never do anything else for a year or more (leaning more to the more here, especially as I’m travelling and working, too).
There are also times when I find myself stuck. Call it writer’s block, call it boredom, call it whatever you like – I need to do something different to take my mind off what’s stopping me.
Now, if it’s a problem I’m trying to work out, writing something different can sometimes reveal the solution. Sometimes, it’s just good to finish something – or a draft of something – to add some extra motivation.
However, it’s not as simple as just switching from project to project on the fly.
The downside to doing so
Going back and forth between projects, while refreshing, does make it much easier to lose your flow and get confused. Details from each story might cross over inadvertently or plotlines might merge and confuse the reader.
It also means each project will take longer to complete. The difficulty here is deadlines.
Even if they’re self-imposed, deadlines are important. It’s goal and lets you manage your time – and this goes beyond your writing. It’s okay to respect that things change, and life can get in the way, but if you set a deadline, it’s important to try and meet it.
That said, if, like me, you like switching projects, you’ll need to accommodate for this in your deadlines. Don’t make them to short or you’ll get stressed.
That’s not good for anything.
How I cope with changing over
The biggest tip I have is to plan ahead.
There are times when I feel like I spend more time planning my projects than I do writing them (and even editing, as hard as that is to believe).
Not only does this help with the writing itself, but it means every time I switch from one project to another, my plans and notes are so comprehensive that I know exactly where I’m at and what I need to do next.
Now, my plans and ideas can change during writing. That’s okay and its part of the editing process to make sure it all fits together neatly in the end. It’s why no one ever gets to read my first drafts – they’re far too embarrassing!
As with everything, you’ve got to find what works for you. I’ve found my balance and until it stops working, I’m sticking with it. What about you?