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When I was young, my old gran often said to me, “A wise men never takes on too many tasks at once, so you certainly shouldn’t.” I found myself reminded of those sage and wisdomous words when my friend from the Garden State Horror Writers, Neal Levin (aka dqg_neal), posted a comment on the GSHW Yahoo board yesterday, asking what everyone was working on at present.

 
Here’s my original answer:
 
- Working through the last proofread of Fur-Face for Echelon Press.
 
- Revising/rewriting Waking up Jack Thunder so I can start querying agents.
 
- Working on first draft of Barnum’s Revenge – the sequel to Fur-Face.
 
- Working on a rough outline for a new novel, Dead Doris.
 
- Working on revisions/rewrites for A Union of Snakes – a medieval fantasy/sci-fi novel.
 
- Working on THE CIVILIZED THING TO DO – a 5,000(ish)-word sci-fi short story.
 
- Revising THE FAMILY LEGEND – a 4,000(ish)-word sci-fi short story.
 
- Working on THE INNER DEMON – a horror short story/novella/novel (not sure which yet). 
 

There are other things too, but these are the WiPs I’ve physically worked on the most over the last few weeks. 

 
As I typed out the list, it dawned on me that somewhere along the line I’d forgotten my old gran’s advice. No wonder I’ve been feeling frustrated lately. It’s as if I’ve been running a marathon, but every time I reach a mile-marker the number hasn’t changed. I decided this was something which needed sorting out, immediately, so I did.
 
Here’s the reply I actually posted:
 
‘Just doing the last proofread of Fur-Face I'll ever have to do.’
 
I’ve already finished it, now all I need to do is type up a few minor changes and send it off. After that, I’m taking a break from all WiP-type writing until after Fur-Face is released on June 1st, so I can focus on the ebook launch. 
 
Once that’s over, I’ll sit down with myself and, assuming I can come to an agreement, decide which project to tackle next (probably Jack Thunder) and from now on, I’m going to listen to the words of my old gran’s speak-your-weight machine, ‘One at a time please!’ 
 
How about you?
 
Have you ever found yourself trying to write too many stories at once? 

 



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Comments

( 77 comments — Leave a comment )
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msstacy13
May. 19th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
I have a spacious-yet-crowded back burner, yes,
but I rarely have more than one item actually cooking
at any particular time.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Me neither, and hopefully, never again :)
highway_west
May. 19th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
That's the benefit of making lists. You can figure out what needs to be done and in what order.
msstacy13
May. 19th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
Exactly.
And you can avoid that listless feeling.
:)
(no subject) - asakiyume - May. 19th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 19th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 19th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
abennettstrong
May. 19th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
Ummm . . . well, you saw my post a couple months ago on the state of my novels. I think it's fair to say I work on many stories at once. I do try to keep it down to a handful at a time, though, including (this week) a couple of short stories, a couple of articles, two novels that I'm content with a page a day on for now, and outlining a novella. I have another novel that I need to do about 30-35k of subplot addition on, but I put that off until next month, so I could focus more on the shorter stuff this month.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Well, I wish I knew how you do it, because I clearly can't ;)
(no subject) - abennettstrong - May. 19th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
jediknightmuse
May. 19th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Yes, which is exactly why I restrict myself to only working on one project at a time. If I try to work on two separate projects, especially ones of different genres (which would mean fantasy and Star Wars fan fic), I end up only working on one more than the other or just giving up on one in order to work on the other.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
I felt like I was running around like a mad thing, but getting nowhere.
maryjdal
May. 19th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yes. But I feel better seeing your list :)
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
I like the second list better myself :)
mnfaure
May. 19th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was one heck of a list. Don't know that I could feel anything but frustrated either in trying to see to all of that.

My max seems to be two projects at once with a very strong preference for just one.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
Some folks can handle it, I realize now that I'm not one of them.
(no subject) - mnfaure - May. 19th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
jimhines
May. 19th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yep. I usually can only focus on one fiction project at a time, but lately that hasn't been an option. It's a bit brain-frazzling.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, brain-frazzling, that sounds about right :)
asakiyume
May. 19th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
I've got a number of things in my head simultaneously, but I'm only working on two--one is a novel, and the other is a short story. But there are two other short stories waving from the sidelines. One in particular keeps on doing back flips and singing silly songs to get my attention.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
That's what happened to me, I got these sudden 'Ooh, excellent!' moments on the various WiPs, but instead of just making a few notes and getting back to the task at hand, I was trying to work on them further. Stupid stories and their silly back-flips :(
temporus
May. 19th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yes. In fact I get that as a problem a bit too often, that I get muddled in too many projects, and then it becomes nigh impossible to actually make any substantive progress. So I really try to keep myself on a one project at a time schedule whenever feasible. (Of course the brain doesn't always agree with that, and will tend to try to work on other stories in the middle of stories...)
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
Lol, at one point last week, I was working on one of the short stories and suddenly realized the dialogue I was adding was by a character from one of the others. I really should have taken the hint then.
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Yep, when it comes to story ideas, there's ripe and there's over-ripe :)
neonorne
May. 19th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
I constantly get ideas while I write that will have to wait. If I started on them I know I would be lost pretty quickly in a quagmire of too many projects. Even been afraid to write them down, because I know what the result might be - ending up worse than your list.

Maybe I'll regret the day I have finished my current project, and need one of those ideas...
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
I'm usually pretty good at making notes and getting back to what I'm focusing on, but not this time. Oh well, we live and learn, right? :)
cathschaffstump
May. 19th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
This exact thing is why I have been so rigid about just working on the troll story lately.

We artists are just so...dispersed.

Catherine
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
'dispersed'

Lol, I'm sure my old gran would have described it somewhat differently :)
a_r_williams
May. 19th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
::Nods::

When I'm stuck on one project, it's okay.

But when I have a whole platoon of thoughts going in every direction, it can get a little headache inducing.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
Headache inducing, for sure.

kmarkhoover
May. 19th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
At one point early on in my writing life, yes, I did. But I found it to be a cause of too much angst, so now I only work on one story at a time.
jongibbs
May. 19th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
I can see why. Back in December, I set myself some tough goals for 2010, but at that time I had no idea Echelon was about to accept Fur-Face. In hindsight, I should have reorganized my schedule back in January.
bogwitch64
May. 19th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
Short answer--no. I will rarely work on more than one thing at a time. OCCASIONALLY, I will write a short on an off day of novel writing, but that's really only happened a handful of times.
jongibbs
May. 20th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
I don't mind letting ideas stew while I'm focusing on another (in fact, I can't help doing that), but I don't usually type stuff on more than one project during the course of a normal week.
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