author, creative writing, writing

Two Writing Projects at Once – The Pros and Cons (revisited)

This is a bit of a throwback today. I originally posted this almost exactly 3 years ago to the day. How strange that I should be in the exact same predicament 3 years on!

In a nutshell, I am torn between two novel ideas right now, both of which are compelling to me for different reasons. They are also entirely different genres. And as such, I’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of working on two stories at the same time.

I’m listing the same pros and cons here, but updating my thoughts on this to reflect the writer I am now, rather than the one I was 3 years ago. But if you’d like to read the original post, you can do so here.

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It gives you a break
Sometimes, you just need to take a break from writing. If you’re struggling to unpick a tricky plot hole, or you’ve just finished a draft, coming back to the story with fresh-eyes is really helpful. You’ll be able to look on the work from a new perspective.
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It keeps you writing
If you have decided to take a break from your work in progress, whatever the reason, working on something else keeps you writing. You’ll become more productive if you make a habit out of writing, especially if you write a little every day. It doesn’t matter if you’re not working on the same project day by day. All writing is progress.
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It keeps your creativity flowing
I often find I can become stuck in the middle of a novel. The inspiration dries out, and I can go for days, or even weeks, in a writer’s slump. By writing, even if it’s something entirely different, you keep the creative part of your brain working. And by stimulating this, you put yourself in a better position to lift yourself out of the slump. Because creativity and imagination grow the more you us them.
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It’s good practice
Practice makes perfect, right? Or close enough to it because is anything really perfect? Anyway, there are a number of ways to learn and refine the craft of writing. And the most basic of these, is to write. Whatever you work on, you’ll still learn more about the creative process, so working on multiple projects can really allow you to explore writing in different genres, or with different themes.
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It’s a distraction
Undoubtedly, working on a second project is a distraction. And this can cause problems. When writing, it can be much easier to submerge yourself into one particular world. You can focus your imagination on the choosing setting and characters of that particular story. Diving into other stories can cloud your mind, leaving you unsure of where to go.
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It can lead you to abandon your main WIP
There’s no harm in abandoning a manuscript if you are no longer enjoying it, or you think it’s not the right time for you to be pursuing it. However, finishing a novel teaches us so much. It’s another good practice to see your stories through to the end. It’s a discipline that writers need, especially if they aim to become published.
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You could lose your focus
This is particularly true for anyone who, like me, is considering working on stories in different genres. By dabbling in something else, it’s easy to lose focus. Before you know it, you could find yourself unmotivated or uninspired with either of your projects, because your attention has been so divided.
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It’ll take you longer to finish your projects
This one is just down to fact. Working on two (ore more) projects at once, will undoubtedly mean it takes you longer to produce a finished piece. For some, it may be easier or more productive to focus on just one story at a time.
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I’ve posted this, because I’m torn between these pros and cons myself. I’d love it if you could share your thoughts and experiences below, so do drop a comment.

Until then,
Keep writing,

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16 thoughts on “Two Writing Projects at Once – The Pros and Cons (revisited)”

  1. I tend to prefer one at a time if they are different genres. Otherwise the two eat up too much “processing power” with information on each one. It slows me down moving from one to the other as I have to “reload” this genre, but the other one is still running in the background eating resources.

    But, yeah, sometimes it’s hard to choose which one to focus on. However, if you do hit a slump, as you said, working on the other one can keep the juices flowing and may help you respark things with the first one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, librepaley. I actually have 2 on the go at the moment. One is a finished first draft, the other I’m still writing. I’m anxious to get to the edit, but really want to finish the other one. So I’m procrastinating!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A few years ago, I tried writing a historical novel on the side (!) while starting another mystery. It didn’t work. I found the history so compelling I dropped everything else. Also the two voices were so different, I could not switch back and forth!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I nearly always work on two projects at once. But what I usually like to do is have one WIP I’m drafting and another I’m editing. It’s a nice balance between fun and not-so-fun (am not a huge fan of editing), and also if I feel I need to set aside by WIP that I’m editing, i still have something else to work on as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Best of luck with both projects, I can’t wait to hear about them. I currently have 3 WIPs but they’re in various stages on editing and I can only concentrate on one at a time. Usually one complete edit, rewrite or draft.

    Liked by 1 person

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