I am constantly amazed by writers who can work on multiple projects at once. Not staggering, but actually writing two separate drafts at the same time. It seems so productive, so magical, so utterly impossible for me. But there’s a lot of opinions out there on whether or not writers should bounce back and forth or just stick to one project at a time.
Now I am not usually one to listen to any “should” based arguments, but I did think this one was interesting. And by creating a pro-con list, you might be able to figure out what works best.
Let’s dive in…
Pros for Writing More than One Novel at a Time
- You can draft multiple projects as a faster rate.
- You don’t have to choose between great ideas.
- You have multiple sources of inspiration.
- You can write based on your mood – switching between ideas or even scenes (fun vs. serious, etc).
Cons for Writing More than One Novel at a Time
- You can’t fully immerse yourself in the story because you have one foot in each world.
- Character voices – especially that of your main character – blur together.
- It’s tough to decide how to balance your time between each project.
- You may end up procrastinating or taking shortcut by jumping to another idea when one gets hard.
Fun Fact: This list also applies to reading multiple books at a time – another area where I struggle.
Taking all of this into account, if you want to work on multiple projects at once, my advice is to stagger your projects so that you’re never in the same stage for both.
For example, if you’re preparing or outlining one story, draft another. If you’re drafting one, revise another. It will keep the two (or however many) separate in your mind.
Kristen Kieffer also has a great article on how to establish a drafting cycle that will help you juggle multiple manuscripts.
Ultimately though there is no “should” when it comes to writing processes. It all depends on what works for you. So try a few different methods, see what works and report back. Because I want to hear all about it!