Do you have several projects on the go right now, or just one? The idea for this blog post came from me having a good old think about the way in which I write. I have several projects on the go, but only one in each form; whilst I’m working on a novel, a short story and a script simultaneously, I’m not working on two novels, two short stories, or two scripts.
I think learning to manage multiple projects is a key skill for a writer, as they all feed into each other. If you want to get a novel published, getting a load of short stories published is going to improve your chances dramatically (i.e. from microscopic to miniscule), unless your novel is entitled, Why I Will Never Write a Short Story, that is.
If you can’t write short stories at the same time as working on your novel, it means that one of them has to give. There’s no point completing the short stories and then having to wait several months – years, even – until the novel is finished to try and capitalise on your success. The other way around works better. You can send the finished novel off to agents and publishers whilst writing short stories. Given the slow turnaround of the publishing world, you could, if you had the time to devote to it, have added to the length of your writing CV by the time each agent has rejected you and you need to send it off to the next one. But you could never be sure that a few credits on your writers’ CV wouldn’t have made all the difference between a rejection and an acceptance.
You have been placed in a queue. Please hold
Writing things one at a time would become tedious, if I were to try it. I think of each writing project as an iron in the fire. The more projects I have on the go, the more chances something will be successful and improve my chances of getting Politics in Blood published. Writing may be an art form, but that’s no reason not to adopt a ‘throw enough at the wall until some of it sticks’ approach. And things are paying off. I can’t imagine what position I’d be in now if I hadn’t written the short stories that have been published in Word Gumbo, Splendid Fred and Indigo Rising.
It’s not about how far I’ve got, but the fact that I’ve started moving
I know this isn’t a stellar writing CV, but it’s a start, and that’s what matters. It’s a start I wouldn’t have had unless I worked on multiple projects side-by-side. Politics in Bloodis only just being sent to another agent (after a long break/rethink), so I would only just now be sitting down to pen those particular stories. I’d probably be quite depressed at my lack of publishing credits.
What about you? Do you work on multiple things at once, or do you have to wait until each piece is finished, polished and sent off before you can start the next one?
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