Experiments in Multitasking, Part One.

Every so often, I have a drive to create more, faster, to build up my backlist and bank account and reputation as a hard working author and all that jazz.

Recently I’ve been trying the whole “write at least 1000 words a day and no slacking ever, no excuses, you layabout” thing. This was fine, when I was working on The Pilgrims’ Tale. It was about 90K long, and I could work on that every day, doing between 1000-3000 words a day and making steady progress.

Once I finished it, though, I found myself in a dilemma – I’d sworn to write every day, but I didn’t know what to write. Oh noes! And could I take days off to sit down and brainstorm new plots? Not really – not if I wanted to continue with the writing every day thing.

What I tried to do recently is to write a novella (the plot-plan of which I thought up while I was writing the Loki stories) in the mornings, and then brainstorm the next novel in the afternoons. In theory this should work well enough. In practice, the result is that instead of doing 2-3K of writing a day I do 1K of writing and then bum around for the rest of the day answering emails and avoiding the brainstorming altogether.

I’m beginning to think I would actually get more done if I just wrote when I was writing, and just brainstormed when I was brainstorming. I can write twice as fast when I’m not trying to think up a completely different plot in the second writing session. And surely if I was brainstorming all day every day, it would only take me a week or so to come up with a new novel plot? At the rate I’m going at the moment, that would only be a loss of 5000 words and I could make that up in five days of writing two sessions instead of one.

TL:DR – essentially, although having multiple projects on the go in different stages at once sounds like a great idea, I don’t think I’m made for multitasking. I would probably work just as fast, and much more comfortably, by taking some non-writing days for other essential parts of the writing process.

I could always call them writing days, because surely the process of writing also includes plotting, writing character sheets and synopses and timelines, drafting, second drafting, rewriting and editing? It’s not all adding words to the first draft.


Speaking of different projects, though, I may have written a story for this year’s UK Meet anthology. I will have to check the submission guidelines. On the principle that it’s ‘GLBTQ Fiction’ not ‘m/m romance’ I’ve written a story about gender (for the Q part) that contains no romance at all. I wonder if it’s eligible. If not, it may become next week’s free read.

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