Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Switching projects

I once heard that Mark Twain worked on multiple projects at once, which comforted me because until then, I thought I'd been doing it wrong. I thought the proper way to write was to work on one project at a time, completing each before moving on to another. Instead, I would work on one for a while, get stuck and switch to something else, get bored and return to the first, submit to the advances of a shiny new project, become disenchanted and go back to the second ... etc.

I wasn't simply a serial abandoner of projects. I was actually getting them written--just not one at a time. And I still work that way. I can focus on one project for long stretches, especially when I'm on deadline. But I always like to have something on the back burner.

It doesn't work for everyone, but it can work.


  1. I'm glad to hear you say that, because this is exactly what I've been going through while my book is on submission. My agent supports me, and that's great! but sometimes I'm like "is something wrong with me? Have a lost my writing mojo?" Glad to hear it's normal!!

  2. I may have to try this. I do work on a different writing project while a novel is out on submission or with an editor, but I rarely have two things on my desk at one time. It is an intriguing idea, though.

  3. Lindsay and Angelina: It's always a relief to discover we're not alone, isn't it?

    Cynthia: It may or may not work for you, but it doesn't hurt to give it a try if you ever find yourself stuck.