How Many Novels Should You Write at One Time?

If we were all octopuses (or kraken), multitasking would be a lot easier. Except for multitasking multiple writing projects. Then we need eight brains as well as eight arms.

Actually, make that sixteen arms. Two arms for each brain.

No, this whole blog is not going to be about octopuses and Kraken, though I could continue in this tangent if you would like. I’m just trying to get the point across that multitasking is difficult. More importantly, multitasking different writing projects.

Yet, though humans have two arms, life seems to DEMAND that we multitask. There’s never just ONE thing that needs to be done. There are always several, which is why we do more than one at a time.

Now, we will actually talk about writing.

Should you write more than one novel at a time?

Um, not really sure if there is a correct answer to this? There aren’t many hard and fast rules about writing.

I will be honest, I have always written more than one novel at once. I’m never just working on one thing. I like having a novel to edit and a novel to draft. I causally have other novels sitting around in different stages of completion, waiting for their turn. But I don’t know if I could actively work on more than two novels at a time.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t (or shouldn’t) be done. If it works for you, then go for it.

BUT, most of the time, the more things our brain is occupied with, the less we are able to focus. Each novel takes up a part of our brain (so to speak), and that means the more novels there are, the less brain space we have, or the less brain each novel is getting.

While I DO think you can work on more than one novel at once, there is a limit to how much you can do efficiently. If you work on too much stuff at once, you’ll never have time to get anything done.

At the same time, I believe writing more than one thing at a time is beneficial, in order to give your brain a break. (For instance, I like drafting in the morning and then editing in the afternoon.) Also, some projects take longer than others. Some novels may be drafted in a month, some in a year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could write just one thing for a whole year.

You just really have to know your capacity, your limitation. Limits often get a bad rep. We’re always shouting and screaming at each other, “Push your limits!” But knowing your limits is actually OK? It’s fine to write only one story at once if you know that’s what you can handle. Maybe there will be a time in your life where you will have to write more than one story, and then you will have to push your limit. But a lot of times it’s OK to live in your limits.

This biggest take from this? If you aren’t making progress, there is a chance you are working on too much at once.


Header Photo by Galina N on Unsplash

10 responses to “How Many Novels Should You Write at One Time?”

  1. I think it’s impressive you can write more than one novel at a time. I have a very one track mind, even if I have a brilliant book idea I can’t move off my current novel


    1. That’s great too! There are a lot of benefits on working on just one thing, like not getting distracted by something else, or the motivation to finish so you can start your next brilliant idea. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I work on writing one project at a time if we are talking about one day. In a week it could be more than one. Maybe it has something to do with reading. I often read only in snippets. Time constraints and all that. That really is the limitation. Hours and minutes. Too many ideas. Never enough time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh, I totally agree — knowing your limits is a good thing! You definitely have to find your process as a writer and do what works for you. I personally only work on one story at a time, even though I usually have a few other stories in my mind and right now I have one that I’m brainstorming and outlining. My brain isn’t the best at multitasking lol!


    1. But brainstorming and outlining IS multitasking!! Being able to productively work on three different stories (though in different stages) is AWESOME.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello! New reader here! AND HOLY GUACAMOLE I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS POST!!! I’m not EXACTLY sure what my limit is for working on multiple stories, but as of right now, I think my capacity is one book at a time. XD (which sounds REALLY lame, but it works for me? XD) My current WIP is undergoing its first draft, while another manuscript (a fourth draft, which I’m preparing for some light revisions before sending off to betas) is sitting in a folder on my laptop, collecting dust while I work exclusively on my WIP. I don’t know what it is about my brain, but I think that working solely on one project with a one or two others waiting in the wings is the best way for me to work. It helps me stay focused, and as a very distracted sort of person, it’s something I can rely on to be consistent. XD I do have my blog to switch to when I need a break from fiction writing, though, so I guess that counts?

    I also really love the heart behind this post! People really are constantly going on about stretching our limits and pushing ourselves past our breaking points, so it’s SO refreshing to hear that it’s okay to know your limit and to stick with it. Sometimes it’s nice to shoot for the stars, but I also think that staying within our limits actually helps us be more productive and excited to work creatively. At least, that’s what I’ve found with my own writing.

    I absolutely LOVED this post!!! You’ve gained yourself a new follower! <333


    1. THANKS FOR THE FOLLOW and WELCOME. I’m so glad to have you here and I’m SO glad you liked the post! Yes, blog writing definitely counts, it’s so good to get a variety of writing. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YOU ARE SO WELCOME! I absolutely love your blog! Actually, I’ve started planning on working on two projects ever since reading this post (just to see if I can do it XD) and I’m really excited to start experimenting with working on multiple projects now! I might have to write a post on how it goes. XD


  5. Actually, this blog post inspired me to try working on two projects at once (one’s a first draft, the other’s a draft 4.2 XD), so I’m really excited about that!!! I might have to write a post or something about how it turns out. Hopefully I don’t crumble and die. XD

    And you are so welcome for the follow!! Your blog looks amazing!!! <333


  6. […] 2019 Wrap Up, It’s My Birthday (etc) (I guess you guys like when I talk about myself????) and How Many Novels Should You Write at One Time? (very important […]


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