Quick bit of business (read: shameless self-promotion) before I get on to the real business. You can check out an interview with me here.
Now, on to the show, so to speak.
My good friend Steve suggested I write about writing multiple projects simultaneously. Of course he’d have to ask a tough question. It’s hard to say definitively if you should or should not do this. It really is an individual thing. I know several writers who try to balance multiple projects simply because it’s necessary—they have deadlines to meet.
I know several others who focus only on one project at a time, and don’t move on until it’s done. Stephen King suggests finishing a book, putting it away when the first draft is done, then, starting another project, maybe like a short story, and then coming back to the original work to edit it. This gives you enough distance to look at the old project with new eyes, and can greatly help the revision process.
I’ve often balanced multiple projects. More often than not, however, one of the projects is something I work with other writers on. For example, I finished my second novel The Bargain while working on another novel, Radio Radio, that I co-wrote with my good friend Cindy. I’m currently working on a project with another friend, Diane Sherlock, while I revise my YA fantasy novel. As I understand it, she’s currently working on a screen play at the same time.
There’s also a line of thought that says working on multiple projects can help combat writer’s block. I’ve never actually tested this theory myself, but several writers swear by it.
All that being said, I would caution beginning writers from trying to do too many things at one time. It can be distracting, and you may never finish either one. If you’ve got the hang of completing projects, then I’d say feel free to jump between two or more. Bottom line—whatever gets the job (or jobs) done for you.