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Writers Who Juggle

26 January 2012

Just don't go here -- I think that "free stress test" comes with some other obligations.

So, my friend (and excellent writer) Chris Gronlund calls his blog The Juggling Writer, and it’s not just because he’s a writer who actually juggles (which he does, by the way). He, like me, is a working writer — we write for a living, then we go home and write for ourselves. We juggle writing for work and writing stories, which, sometimes, we get paid for.

Lately, I’ve been juggling multiple projects while I’m at home, as well. There’s the third 47 Echo book, edits for the second 47 Echo book, two other novels that have nothing to do with the previous two, a novella, and the ever present Twitter Novel Project. It’s a lot of work, and I really don’t have much of a system in place. It’s not like “OK, 47 Echo 3 is Mondays and Wednesdays, everything else slots in after that, and Twitter Novel happens pretty much every night.” Only the last part of that sentence is true, and that’s more by design than out of any sense of organization I have.

I don’t mind having so many projects going at once, but they all proceed at different paces. I can forget to work on one for weeks, then suddenly come back to it with new ideas, or I can hammer on another for twelve hours straight just to get it to where I think I need to be. I’m like most humans — I can’t actually multitask, I can just give more projects less focus. It all seems to work out in the end, but it’s stressful, and lately, I’m wondering if there’s not a better way to do it.

So all of you creative people out there — what’s your secret to juggling multiple projects?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 January 2012 0106

    I’m not sure that multi-tasking is really any different from what you describe: giving a lot of projects less focus. I have a lot of stories “in the works” at any given time. Heck, I even have two novels going at the same time (though I don’t recommend that approach). I have found that I can’t “force” a story to its finish. What I end up with is usually dissatisfactory, and I usually never go back to it to correct it. A total loss. Instead, I work on a piece until I run out of steam, enthusiasm, inspiration, material, whatever. Then I get busy with something else while the unfinished story cooks longer (sometimes for years). Usually, some revelation about it comes to me eventually, often allowing it to be finished in a satisfactory manner. Because of this, I always have many stories in process at once.

    As for being a juggling writer, I used to be one. I used to be a technical writer at the office (and later, briefly, a magazine feature writer/editor). I quickly found that I resented using my writing powers for evil (for someone else) and not exclusively for my own interests (my stories and novels). I found that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) write for both “the man” and myself. So now I work at a job that calls for no more writing from me than emails. It’s not particularly inspiring or soul-nurturing work, but it does free my creative self for the personal work that is inspiring and soul-nurturing.

    I’ve never been particularly coordinated enough to keep more than one ball in the air at a time.

    • 30 January 2012 1302

      I do a bit of that myself — cooking stories in my brain for a while before actually writing them, sometimes for years. I’ve got one that I want to start, but the dough just isn’t ready yet, you know?

      I do a job that’s only writing in a very tangential way, so that’s good. I just wish I had more time in the day. 😉


  1. The Juggling Writer - Self Promotion for Writers

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