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.