Monday, 23 May 2016

Multi Tasking - Why's It So Hard?

Multi tasking has never been one of my strengths. I’m a typical male in that respect. I can just about cope with a couple of different pans on the cooker top but anything beyond that is a stress. I like to do one thing at a time and see it through from start to finish. That’s not always easy for a writer with approaching deadlines and this last two weeks I’ve found myself having to juggle two projects, a novel and lengthy short story, both of which are at the stage of writing that I enjoy the least – the second draft.  Urgh, how I hate the second draft. It’s hard. True, it’s where the writing is shaped into something worth reading but it’s such demanding work.

I’m not under any great deadline with the novel, other than what I’ve imposed on myself, but the short story has to be ready by the end of May. I’d already started rewriting the novel when I realised I had to get cracking on the story. The easy thing to do would have been to take a break from the novel while I polished the story. But that’s another thing I don’t like to do with my writing – take breaks. I’ve learned the hard way that if I take a break from something it loses momentum. Other ideas start to surface and demand attention. Characters appear with stories that they want to be written. And writing is the fun part. More exciting than rewriting. If I take a break from something, either it doesn’t get finished or I have to start it all over again. So stopping is not an option.

So here I am, multi tasking with two stories on the go.  And I underestimated how hard that is. After an eight hour shift at the day job, to come home and focus on whichever story I have that day. Whoa, it makes my head hurt. I’ve heard some writers talk gleefully about having four or five stories on the go at any one time. There’s no way I could cope with that. Maybe if I wrote full time but unlikely. I tried that once before and it didn’t work out. I can’t cope with my own company all day every day. I drove myself mad and had no choice but to get out and find something else to do. If anything I was less productive when I wrote full time. I’ve written more while working a day job than I ever did as a stay at home writer.

I’m trying to work alternate days on each piece so it doesn’t have a chance to go stale. Hopefully I’ll have the story licked by early next week and focus on one thing at a time.

Rant over. I hope everyone who read The Players enjoyed it. I’m happy to say I wrote that story some time ago and didn’t have to juggle the instalments along with everything else. I’ll put a full ebook version online as soon as I’ve given it one final polish. Hopefully in the next two weeks.

Closer by Morning is still on track for publication this August with Pride Publishing. I’ll provide more info on the publication date when I know it’s fixed.

The novel I’m currently rewriting is the first book in a proposed trilogy. I had a couple of very loose idea about what would happen in books 2 and 3. I didn’t want to commit myself until I knew exactly where the first book would end (and who would still be alive). Now that’s all set I’m really looking forward to starting the next book. Discovering where my old characters are going while getting to know new ones. It’s always an exciting part of the process. Creating characters, planning the story and writing the first draft. That’s the best thing about writing – starting the journey and seeing where it takes me. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.