A Note About Multiple Projects

If you’re like every normal human being, you’re probably in possession of ten fingers, two hands, two arms, two legs, one body, and one brain. These assets can only do so much, and as much as you’d like to work on multiple projects at once, it can be frustrating and even harmful.

Please note that when I speak of “multiple projects”, I mean “multiple unfinished projects”. Don’t hide, I know you have a few around here somewhere. And you probably haven’t destroyed them yet: hidden under the floorboards, forgotten in the attic, stuffed in drawers or under rugs, you can never quite get rid of them.

The reason for this is that the human brain can be quite random at times. It can also be extremely fickle. You like salsa today, but maybe tomorrow you might accidentally buy a can of 50-year-overdue salsa and proceed to puke it up over the banisters all over your expensive carpet, and you might not taste salsa for the next four years.

Who knows what ideas could occur to you, and when? Today you’re engrossed in a fantasy story, but tonight you might watch The Tomorrow War and decide you want to work on a sci-fi in the morning. You might want to write to make sure your ideas don’t dissipate into nothing, right?

Actually, most of the time, you’d be wrong. Working on more than one project at once can result in an exhaustion of your creativity, unbelievable stress, and old-fashioned boredom. I get all the urges you might have to start five new projects, but I am a firm believer that you should finish what you start, if it isn’t morally wrong.

I say this because it IS a good idea for you to have lots of projects–it tells a lot about your creativity in different ways. However, it is a classic blunder to start all the projects at once or in a short span of time, and for obvious reasons to boot.

First of all, it limits your effectiveness. Would you rather have five cars at 20% working capacity or one car and 100% working capacity? As I before mentioned, you only have one brain. You can use 20% brainpower on five projects or you can use 100% brainpower on one project.

Second, it blurs the lines between stories. Your characters can become frighteningly banal and similar to other characters you’ve created (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re writing about those same characters, but if you’re writing in different universes, it’s nothing short of disastrous. Worst of all, you can forget to index and think that one story is actually another because of how similar they are. Plots and worlds can get mashed together.

Third, it’s just a pain. It is literally five times the work. If one book takes you six months to get done with the first draft, then five drafts (on top of all other problems you’re experiencing) will take two and a half years. Then you have to edit them all. Or, you could just focus on one book and have it done within a year, and enjoy the satisfaction and motivation that comes from being published.

Definitely, you want to save and keep all story ideas–but start them one at a time, is my point. Write down short summaries so you don’t forget them: names of characters, tidbits of plots and subplots, names and dates, but don’t start it until your current project is finished.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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