Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blog Chain - Multitasking All The Way!!


Back on the blog chain. We have several new members joining us so I'd like to give a huge welcome to Amanda Bonilla, Sarah Bromley, Shaun David Hutchinson, Rebecca Knight, and Bonny Anderson. We are so excited to have you guys with us!!

This round's topic was chosen by our wonderful Terri. She wanted to know:

Do you focus on one project at a time, or do you have many irons in the fire at any given moment?

Bonny answered this question before me and Shaun is up next so be sure to visit their blogs to hear their take on this question.

As for me, well, if you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m one of those “many irons in the fire” type girls. I will get on a roll sometimes, with one project or another, and focus specifically on one thing for a few days, weeks, or even months at a time. But for the last several months at least I’ve had at least two projects going on at all times; my YA Urban Fantasy, and my non-fiction book.

Because fiction and non-fiction belong in such completely different worlds, switching back and forth presents no problems for me. What I’m working on at any given moment is mostly dictated by my children. I don’t need to concentrate as much with my non-fiction. It comes much easier. So I be on the computer working on it while my kids are running around screaming and climbing all over me. If I’m going to work on fiction while the kids are awake, I write by hand. They don’t bug me as much and I can follow them from room to room (or outside) scribbling away while they play.

It is also nice to have more than one project going because if I get stuck on one, I switch to the other. Focusing my mind on something different usually frees it up and the answer for whatever had me stuck very often comes to me while working on something else.

If I’m stuck on everything, I either do research for a project or I take a break from novels and textbooks and write a children’s picture book. I love doing these. I can do them quickly and they are so much fun to do. My kids and I will often write them together, so it’s something writing related that I can do and still include them, and at the end of the day, I’ve got a completed creative project…whether it’s my main project or not.

I don’t know if I could have two projects of the same genre going at the same time. Probably not…I have enough trouble staying in the right character’s voice at any given time without mixing in more than one main character. I definitely have ideas for several same-genre projects going on at the same time. This is where that research comes in – if I’m stuck on one thing, I’ll research either info I need for a current project, or something that will go straight in my idea file.

Having more than one project is actually kind of relaxing for me. I know I always have something to work on. If I finish something or get stuck on something, I know there is always something else I can work on. That way, none of my time is wasted because no matter what I’m doing, it is accomplishing something, be it for current or future projects.

21 comments:

Lazy Writer said...

I don't normally like working on more than one thing at a time, but I had never thought of it the way you do. It does open up your options, doesn't it?

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, you write PBs with your kids? How cute! How old are they? I can't wait till my two can do that!

Lady Glamis said...

I certainly envy your ability to multitask projects. When it comes to writing I can only do one thing. I can't even read books during the time I'm working on a project. That means that I go for months and months without reading books. *sigh*

shasha said...

hello!thanks for following my blog. i've just been back and i'm so glad to find another interesting blog. you have an interesting topic here. i'm one of those people who have a lot of stuffs on hand at one time.
see you 'round!

FictionGroupie said...

I can't juggle too many writing projects at one time. Although, if I were writing a fiction and a non-fiction, I could see how those may be easier to jump back and forth since they are so different.

beth said...

Personally, I have to be 100% into one project at a time. I can't write a word of another project until I completely finish the first.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

It's weird. I can multitask at work, dealing with several things at one time. However, when I'm writing I have to concentrate on one wip at a time. Can only keep one set of characters in my head at a time. I think if I was trying to juggle multi projects, the voices in my head would drive me crazy. :)

Welcome to the new members. Look forward to hearing what they have to contribute.

Sandra said...

My son definitely dictates how much, if any, writing I get done at home. The only time I can write is when he's asleep.

Mandy said...

Thanks for the warm welcome Michelle! I admire your multi-tasking skills. Both halves of your brain must be working at the same time! You're sooo lucky. I'm a one track girl all the way.

christine said...

Now that I have a deadline for my NF book, I am practicing my multi-tasking skills while I write. I am fortunate to be able to write my NF at work (on lunch, etc), so the time between these projects helps me switch sets. Great post, Michelle

B.J. Anderson said...

That's a good point, being able to work on non fiction and fiction at the same time. And it sounds like you get so much done! And my kids also dictate how much I get done. Which on some days is NOTHING. :D

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Some things I can multitask and somethings I can't. I can't read other books while I write...they say we should, but I just can't do that.
I can edit one MS and write on another and even get down an idea for a third BUT when it comes to writing - I prefer to center my attentnion on one book at a time.

Hawk

FoxxySheist said...

I can only concentrate on one project at a time because I just lose complete focus, it's mad!! I'm new to the game though as Im only writing my first novel, thirty thousand words in and many more and much edits ahead but I love it! There are no writers where I live and in the realm of internet Im surrounded....its like heaven.

Stephanie said...

Hi Michelle-
Great blog post. It is so helpful to connect with other writers and hear how they manage their time. Me, I am working strictly on a memoir and also writing a few articles here and there for other publications that I hope will start to pay me! In the meantime I write a bi-monthly column at savvyauntie.com on love and loss and enjoy that too.
Thanks for following my blog!
xo Steph

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I think it's amazing that you can write with kids doing anything in the background - I still do my writing while my son is asleep - although when he stops napping I guess I'll have to adapt to having him in the background while I (try to) write;)

Cole Gibsen said...

That's exactly the reason I work on more than one thing at a time. I know that if I hit a wall I can change directions for a short time.

Eric said...

I'm sporadic, usually having a few things going on all at once. I probably have adult ADD or something, because I can rarely concentrate on anything for long.

Question - How does one join the blog chain? Just curious.

Michelle McLean said...

Thanks for all the comments! It's interesting to see how different people work. :D

Eric, email me (the Contact Me link on the sidebar) and I'll give you all the 411 on the blog chain :)

Kat Harris said...

I've tried writing by hand, but my hand doesn't usually move fast enough.

I do love it though. :-)

Sarah Bromley said...

I like that you break up how you tackle fiction and nonfiction when the kids are all over you. My laptop seems to be a magnet for my kids. The instant it goes on my lap, they want to be there, too. Not conducive to world-building.

Annie Louden said...

That's awesome you have so many different projects to choose from.
The more I think about how I work, the more I realize that when I switch to another project, I'm just avoiding the hard work of the stuck project. And I have to quit doing that.