Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Singular Focus




Over the years I have become the queen of multitasking. The other night I did laundry, cooked dinner, and participated in a conference call all at once. I was exhausted afterward, but I got it all done.

For most people multitasking is a part of their life, and the only way they can get all the things on their "to do" list completed. I get that and appreciate it. I can juggle pretty well, but there is one aspect of my life where I cannot multi-task, and that is with my writing.

I know many writers who have three different manuscripts going at once. And the even more amazing thing is they are in different categories and genres! How they pull it off I don't know, and believe me I've tried.

Earlier this summer I started querying my Young Adult Thriller and it came back with some requests for rewrites. Only problem was I'd already started my YA Historical Romance. I was in a groove with the YAHR, but I needed to work on the Thriller. For weeks, I tried to vacillate between both and guess what happened? They both started to suffer. In fact, I started switching the MCs names in the manuscripts. LOL! Not good.

While I applaud all those who can jump from one idea to another, it's not a skill I possess. For me there has to be one singular focus.  Oh, my mind may wander to that other idea calling to me from somewhere on my hard drive, but I have to push it away. 

The good thing about all this is that when one manuscript is finished, I know I have another one ready to go. And if a fluffy, new idea pops up as I'm working on the next thing? I file it away and wait patiently. I've learned my lesson - one thing at a time. It will all get done, it just may take me a looong time.

How about you? Can you work on several different projects at once? Or are you like me and must have a singular focus? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

7 comments:

  1. I'm definitely a focused writer. I can't imagine trying to jump between WIPs—if I had to switch, I'd more likely switch to the WIP with the deadline, finish what I needed and go back to what I was working on with the first one. But two at once? I don't anticipate attempting that any time soon.

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  2. I too envy the multi-taskers. I can work on short pieces along side a novel, but have yet to successfully work on two novels at the same time. I wonder if they do on the same day or alternate days or weeks?

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  3. I can multi-task as long as they're at different stages. Polish up one while researching or drafting another? Sure! Write two at a time? Not so much!

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  4. I have several projects on the go. Like Wendy my stories tend to be at different stages when it comes to picture books. I'm also working on YA novel. I couldn't imagine trying to write 2 novels at once. I think that would be a nightmare. I like being able to switch between a picture book and my novel. It's nice break. I generally spend part of the day (morning) on my picture book(s) and the afternoon/evening on my novel.

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  5. Since getting an agent and publisher, I've had to learn to jump from project to project more. I'd rather focus on one at a time but sometimes I don't have a choice. It's hard.

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  6. Last year, I focused on my novel--and didn't get much freelance work out there. This year, I went back to working on both and found I got way more accomplished. I don't know if I could work on two middle grade novels at the same time, but I've worked on a young YA and a young MG at the same time. It wasn't too difficult, probably because the voices were so different. But I'll never go back to focusing on *just* the novel. My brain (and my budget) do better when I work on multiple projects! :-)

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  7. I tried to write two novels at the same time once. Both involved the supernatural, though one was an adult and the other a young adult, and the adult was in 3rd person and the YA in 1st. Needless to say after two months of this my brain started to explode and I switched POVs in both of them multiple times. I finally stopped writing the adult novel and stuck with just the YA. Now I'm in the midst of editing the YA and have gone back to writing the adult. My brain is much happier. And I manage to stay in POV.

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