How's the Book? Juggling projects by Jane Clamp


‘How’s the book?’



It’s a question I’m asked often by people who
know I’m a writer. But my answer is invariably this: ‘Which one?’



The answer shouldn’t surprise you, if you compare the way I read. The photo is of my bedside cabinet this morning, replete with my stack of books and magazines, all of which I’m reading. (It doesn’t show the pile of magazines on the floor, moved away from the risk of flailing arms in the night.) At any given moment, I’m not only part way through a number of titles that I’m reading, but also what I’m writing.



My Writing To-Do list, revised monthly or so, will include the blogs I need to submit on a regular basis, the short-deadlined articles or features which come in from time to time, plus the two “biggies,” my current novel and the Christian book which has had the full manuscript requested from a publisher.



Now, I realise that this style of working doesn’t suit everyone, but I thrive on the variety. At first, I thought I must be doing it wrong. Writers around me seemed to be focussed on their single manuscript, and there was I with my bitty portfolio. They were finishing theirs off. Mine were fragmented across my laptop. 

Early discussions with a writer friend really helped. “Think of them as your children,” she advised. “Ask yourself which one you want to give the most attention to today.” She made sense, and took the burden from me, as all good friends do. A further tip I instigated myself was to use a different font for each project, so that it looked different from the others as I worked on it.



With more time to devote to writing these days, I find the method even more helpful. After a morning of tapping away at the keyboard, my brain becomes mush, and I could tell myself with conviction that I was too tired to do any more that day. As it is, after a walk and some lunch, I can turn my thoughts to an entirely different project and find renewed energy and inspiration.



Do I dilute my output this way?

Achieve half- and not twice-as-much?



Perhaps, but it works for me.

How about you?





Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a mother's journey through miscarriage; and appears regularly on Premier Christian Radio and UCB.

Comments

  1. Different children; different fonts. Good suggestions.

    I don't think I have as much variety as you, but I do intersperse smaller writing projects - articles, one-off devotionals, two-week or four-week devotionals, with books. I was going to write, with one book at a time, but I realize that I've started a book and will have to squeeze a smaller book in between finishing that one. Yet that's a different approach than switching them off day by day. I don't think I do as much of the interchanging of big projects as you do, but maybe I should give it a try when my brain is fried. Interesting post!

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    1. Thanks, Amy. It’s always helpful to learn from each other, and you’re a writer I watch!

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  2. I always juggle projects because I like to put something aside for a while and look back at it with a more objective eye after getting on with something else. I also juggle satsumas, but that's another story.

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    1. And that's really valuable, isn't it? That objectivity that can only come when we allow space and time between us and the project.
      I can only juggle scarves. Very much beginner level...

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  3. Thank you for writing this! How do you blend the amount of time you write with the time you market? I'm between publishing my 3rd and 4th book and would appreciate your guidance around writing new material and "raising the already birthed children." Christina M. Eder

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    1. I don't think I've managed this successfully myself. If I'm honest, I feel a failure over my inadequacies in marketing. I know I'm not alone in feeling this, but it doesn't always help. It's something I want to address and am already engaging outside help on my website, for example.

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