Projects, projects, projects

PJ Sharon back from a vacation in the beautiful Smokey Mountains with a big “thank you” to my Scribes buddies who stood in for me last week. It wasn’t just Suze and Casey covering on my behalf while I was away. Thanks to Cat Kalen for bailing me out of my scheduling curflewy and moderating comments on YA Beyond last friday. And lest I forget the most supportive people around, the fabulous WG2E Street Team has been hard at work preparing the Beach Book Blast. I’m on board with fourteen other indie authors who either have their books up for FREE or have them listed for .99 cents between May 23-25th, and these folks have done an extraordinary job of organizing the event. SAVAGE CINDERELLA will be available for FREE on May 23rd and 24th ONLY, since I have just two more free days available through the KDP Select program. (click here for more info on why authors are giving their books away FREE.)

The WG2E folks are some hard workers, let me tell you. I’m so proud to be associated with such amazing professionals as D.D. Scott who contributed a FREE Kindle Fire as a contest giveaway during the event, Alicia Street our organizer, and Tamara Ward and Greg Corrico, two of the tech savvy people who helped set up our BeachBookBlast site, our FB page, and a Pinterest Board. Thank you all for holding down the fort and forging on without me. It’s so nice to not be alone in this crazy, solitary writer’s world.

In honor of Memorial Day, I’ve also made Heaven Is For Heroes available on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords for .99 cents. I hope you’ll pass the word on to those who might be interested in a sweet YA romance about a girl, a Marine, and a family drama that will have you crying on one page and laughing on the next. The perfect gift to honor someone you know who has served in the military or is part of a military family.

So now, on to my new found secret I’d like to share with all of you. Aside from heading south to witness one of the loveliest weddings it has been my privilege to attend, the other reason I was so looking forward to getting away last week was that I needed some time away from business so I could take care of something even more important. That means working on writing books. I did find opportunities to advance my WIP while I was relaxing, the rushing waters of the nearby creek stirring up my creative flow and making me think about some good advice I’ve heard from a few great authors. “When you get stuck, make sure you have something else to work on.”

The concept of working on more than one project at a time might sound ludicrous to those of us struggling with completing even one, but I’ve been finding myself stuck after each scene in my dystopian trilogy, having to take time to ponder, research, or otherwise percolate before being able to get the next scene on the page. During that time I’m hearing the voices of other stories singing in my ear. I’m fighting not to listen. I keep thinking I have to force myself to stay focused and stick it out with my WIP, but I’m beginning to see another way to work.

Perhaps those other authors have found the secret to keeping their creative juices flowing and their WIP’s growing by listening to the voices and working on multiple books simultaneously. Rather than swimming against the current, maybe I need to go with the flow, and stop trying to “push the river” as Vic in HIFH would say. I’m willing to give it a try and see how it works. To that end, I’ll be making writing a priority every day and focusing on making forward progress, no matter where it takes me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Does anyone else want to admit to working this way? Do you have multiple projects going on at the same time? How do you manage your manic muse?



18 thoughts on “Projects, projects, projects”

  1. Hiya, PJ.
    First, may I just say that I love your rocking chair and porch? It reminds me a little of Summerville SC, where I grew up.
    You’re absolutely right about the work the Street Team has put into the Beach Book Blast, too. Tamara Ward, Alicia Street, L.C. Giroux (I hope I’m spelling that right), and everyone else have done a great job bringing all of the different sites together. It’s gonna be a lot of fun!
    As for having multiple projects going at the same time, I find it absolutely necessary. I hit that spot in the page, sometimes, that I just can’t write past. The characters get stubborn, the plot falls through a big pit, or whatever. I’ve learned that if I ignore those stubborn characters, and work on another story, sooner or later they start jumping around in my mind, demanding attention, and cooperating.
    It can be a tough thing to do, dropping your main project for something else, but sooner or later the “Something Else” will be in the front seat, and you’ll be glad you’ve already started it.

    1. Thanks, Greg. It is hard for me to think about setting aside my WIP with those deadlines looming, but forcing it isn’t making it happen any faster so I’m game for a new tactic. It’s so encouraging to hear how other writers find story hopping to be effective. I’m hoping I find that to be true for me too.

  2. Awesome photo! I’m doing the same thing right now. I have more than one project going as well. Sometimes just having multiple WIPs open at the same time is incentive enough to work on one of them. So far it seems to be working and I’ve been writing every day. What I’m noticing is that one project tends to dominate over the other, but still it’s nice to make progress and see the pages/word count add up every day!!

    1. Nice, Casey! I’ve heard you say that before and never thought about trying it myself, but I think it’s time to join the ranks of story hoppers. I’ve worked multiple projects in before in terms of editing one while working on another, but haven’t made the leap into writing more than one at a time. It will be an interesting shift for me.

  3. I CAN’T work on more than one thing at a time. I tried but I’m one of those single focus ppl who can’t split her mind.

    1. I hear you, Jamie. I’ve been like that too. I feel like I’m being a scatter brain, or unfocused, or maybe even betraying my WIP by branching off to other projects, but I’ve been feeling like I’m not utilizing my time wisely while I’m “waiting on the muse” lately. I’m hoping I can adapt to this new way of working and become more efficient with producing SOMETHING every day. You’re never too old to learn new tricks as they say. I hope they’re right:-)

  4. The idea of having multiple irons in the fire makes sense to me. Sometimes, I find I need to step back from something I’m working on and let it rattle around in my brain for a while. Working on something else in the meantime would be a good way of staying productive. Ever see 15 Minutes with Robert DiNiro? As his character put it, “Sometimes you have to go away from something to come back to it.” Of course, his character was referring to shooting dudes, but the principle still applies! 😀

  5. I work on several projects at once. When I get an idea in my head and it’s fermented for a while, I have to write it down. It’s like Sheldon knocking on Penny’s door: Knock, knock, knock. “Mitzi”. It doesn’t stop until I open that door by writing the beginning. Sometimes I think if I don’t do it, my head would explode and that would be too much of a mess.

    1. Hahahah! I hear that, Mitzi. I feel the same way. When you hear those voices, you just have to get them out of your head and onto the page or they won’t leave you alone. I suppose there’s medication for that…or a straight jacket and rubber room…writers just call it the “creative process.”:-)

  6. Paula, I want that rocker and that brook. Are they for sale? Of course, only if you can sell the house and land with them. Wonderful photos, thank you for sharing. My middle name, Multi-task. I try and try and try not to do it b/c multitasking causes TGA (transient global amnesia). For real. But, I will admit, when stuck, change direction(s). Suddenly an epiphany occurs, sort of like in the middle of the night when rest is sometimes a possibility. It is hard to change that part of me. I know with all that you do, your gifts and talents, you too multitask. It is part of your persona. You go girl, more power to you. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Gail, you would have loved the cabin we stayed in. There are a group of cabins along this creek in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It wasn’t far from the Biltmore Estate. I remembered your post about it and wanted to see it so badly. We actually went there and then found that it was an all day experience and we didn’t have time. Instead we walked around the village there and found some great little shops and a sweet Mexican place to have lunch. The Estate looked amazing. Can’t wait to go back and see it. It’s nice to have new family down that way now that my step son is married and living down there.

      And yes, I’m a multi-tasker by nature, but this will be a new kind of challenge for me. BTW, my mother in-law loved your painting. We put the version of the Tennis Champions into a nice frame for her. She said she used to play mixed doubles in the National Tennis Association organization in your painting. Thanks for helping me put a smile on her face:-)

    1. I guess it’s knowing when to buckle down and stay the course. I’m sure I’ll figure out a balance eventually. Thanks for stopping by, Alicia. It’s going to be a fun couple of days.

  7. I always worry about working on more than one wip at a time. That I will get sidetracked and not go back to the other or lose my inspiration and motivation for it, but I do like the idea that when you get stuck you should be working on something else. Maybe something to just keep your creative juices flowing so you don’t stagnate. hmmmmm..

    nice to have you back!

    1. That’s been my rationale too, Katy. I’ve always been able to stay focused on my past projects until they were completed, but this time i’m being pulled to branch out and use my “stuck” time a little more efficiently.

  8. Remember too that your dystopian trilogy is something very new for you, and you may be out of your comfort zone. (It would be like me trying to write a paranormal — I may try one some day, but I know it will be a stretch!) That could certainly account for things not progressing at the pace you would like. I actually think it’s a really good idea to alternate between a couple of projects at a time. I’m doing that right now (doing some revisions to my mystery — revisions I can’t believe I didn’t think of myself — to make it more marketable, as well as working on my current WIP and thinking about a future non-fiction project. So multi-task away, Baby!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Suze! Keep writing those mysteries. I think that is definitely your niche!

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