Sunday, February 7th, 2010 • 2 Comments on Rusty, But Writing
I told a friend that I was writing two romance novels simultaneously, as well as an erotic serial, and a couple of short stories, all at once (not to mention my baseball blog, tea blog, et cetera…) and she told me her head would explode if she tried to do that. I pointed out, reasonably, that she did quite well in college while taking four classes per semester, and for me that’s a lot of what it is like.
Some days I work more on one project, some on another. The real secret is that whenever I get blocked on one project, I can “procrastinate” writing it by writing one of the others!
I have been thinking about Cecilia’s comments this week as I’ve started opening up files and plotting my writing schedule for the coming months. Like Cecilia, I am usually working on a number of projects at once, all in varying degrees of completion. Of course, this was pre-baby. It’s been awhile since I had my usual schedule, with six or seven Word files opened (at least), flitting from one thing to the next and checking them off my to do list as I send them out into the world. The farther along I got in my pregnancy, the fewer files I seemed to be juggling until I didn’t even have Microsoft Word open for nearly a month. (The first thing I wrote postpartum was Patrick’s one month letter.) It’s only been in the past couple of weeks that I’ve even felt like I could work on more than one thing at a time.
At the moment, I have five files open: two completed stories that have been rejected and need editing and tweaking before I send them out again; a new story I started writing two weeks ago; the beginning/back story to that novel idea I was excited about last week; and a growing list of possible anthology themes to pitch to my publisher. That’s not so much for me, really. A year ago I probably had twice that number of projects going on at once. It’s a fluid process, though. Short stories can often be written in a day or two and then I’ll have fewer projects going. Which is usually followed by a frenzy of activity where I finish one project and start two new ones. Before baby, I might write two or three stories a week and not even break a sweat. (Which is nothing compared to some of my peers who seem to knock out two or three stories a day!) Noveling takes a lot longer, of course, but I keep going back to the longer form because I love it and that’s where I’d ultimately like to stay for awhile. Same with editing anthologies. Fairy Tale Lust was so much fun, I’m really looking forward to doing it again. And—someday—I want to get back to writing screenplays.
I really liked Cecilia’s comparison between working on multiple writing projects and taking four classes a semester in college. It is very much like that, especially with longer projects. Short stories are a bit like those weekly essays you have to write in College Composition (says the college instructor). I do well when I have a variety of things to work on and I get a bit panicky when I only have one or two projects (or none, these last few months). So it pleases me to see those open files and to know I have so much writing to do. (It panics me too, but right now it makes me happy.)
I feel a bit rusty at writing fiction, but I’m writing again as time permits. It feels good. Right. I’ve missed it.