Friday, October 12, 2012

Juggling multiple writing projects

As a freelance editor, I often have multiple projects to do. Usually I am able to do them one at a time, but sometimes a long-term project needs to get set aside so smaller rush projects can happen. I don't like multitasking anymore; my brain doesn't seem well suited for trying to hold a lot of information about different things if I don't have to. That is certainly true of my editing work. I count on my brain holding a lot of factual information in the interim memory: spellings of names from earlier pages, amounts of money, uses of conventional punctuation. And if I work on more than one project, it confuses that memory, which seems to have only one track.

In my creative writing, I like to have one project going at a time. That keeps those characters in my mind, those stories in the hopper, as it were, to tumble and polish and resolve themselves. But I find myself working on three books at once at the moment. I've decided to self-publish my first novel this fall; I'm working on a small book on creativity and long-term sobriety that I'd like to publish in December, and novel #3, with its full first draft completed in August, is waiting for me to come back to it.

I'm having to compartmentalize my energies in a way that isn't all that comfortable. So I'm making a big list of smaller tasks for each project and focusing on one task at a time, rather than one project at a time. This week I focused on formatting Novel #1 and making some final revisions so that I could send it to friends and colleagues for advance reviews. Now I'm turning my attention back to the Creativity book.

There's an impatience in me to get back to Novel #3 but it's a good lesson for me in one task at a time.