Jamie DeBree (jamiedebree) wrote,
Jamie DeBree
jamiedebree

Project Juggling

Writers seem to split into two camps when it comes to working on projects. On one hand are those who focus on one book at a time, giving it all of their attention. Often these writers will jot down new story ideas or maybe even a scene from a different idea, but for the most part, they focus on one book.

I am not one of those writers.

My main romance blog is called "The Variety Pages" because when I first turned it into a writing-themed blog, I couldn't decide what to focus on. Such is the story of my life. I tend to get bored easily if I don't keep my brain moving. So I work on several projects at once, and while I'll be the first to admit that I'd probably finish things faster if I focused, this is how I maintain that forward motion I need to stay engaged with my work.

The first thing I do that helps me keep things straight is to have a specific schedule for when I'm going to work on which project. My normal writing time is Monday – Saturday, 10:30pm until midnight (or whenever I finish that night's work – often 1am or so). Here's how my week breaks down by project:

Monday: Tuesday's scene for romance serial (The Biker's Wench)

Tuesday: Friday's scene for romance serial (The Biker's Wench)

Wednesday: 2 scenes for the erotica serial (The Fantasy Party)

Thursday: 2 scenes for the erotica serial (The Fantasy Party)

Friday: 1 scene for romance novel (The Minister's Maid)

Saturday: 1 scene for the thriller serial (Angel Eyes)

Note that I edit better earlier in the day, so I work on the edits for Desert Heat whenever I have a few minutes at work, in the early evenings while watching my favorite TV shows and on the weekends when I have time. When I get closer to the end of the edits, I'll put a few things off for a week or so to finish editing. I get impatient when I'm close to being done with a project.

I'm not a "muse writer" – I never wait on the muse to show up to start writing. If the words won't come, I go back over what I've already written, and try to figure out why. Normally it's because I'm trying to force the story in the wrong direction. If that doesn't work, I just ask myself what the absolute worst thing is that could happen at that particular point, and I write that. Many writers won't "force" the writing...but if I have a deadline (say, a serial installment due the next day), I push forward. Most of the time it's the starting that's hard...once I get moving, the words start flowing again. I think it helps that I have a regular writing time each day – my brain is "programmed" to be in writing mode during that time. It's pretty rare that I'll just walk away if the words won't come.

I've only confused character names in a WIP once so far – while I was writing Tempest, I was also working on a now-trunked novel, and both characters were "J" names – Jake and Jeff. Upon proofreading Tempest, I found a spot where I'd interchanged the names, and had to go back and fix that. Overall though, I find that since my characters are so distinct in personality (in my head, at least), I really don't get them confused too often. Writing in different genres helps keep things separate as well.

That's really all there is to it – no real tricks, just a good schedule, discipline and some flexibility. This is what works for me – your mileage will vary.

Are you a juggler? Or do you stick with one project at a time? 

Tags: editing, organization, projects, wips, writing
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