Balancing Multiple Projects
Insane? Why, yes. Yes I am. And rather than continue wallowing in madness, I asked some of the Miss Snark’s First Victim Success Stories group for some tips to help battle the insanity.
- Peter Salomon and Helene Dunbar both try to follow the inspiration and listen to the project that calls to them. Peter adds that he's “trying not to stress over which project takes priority.” Helene says, "If something is really calling to you to be written, go for that."
- Nicole Wolverton and Sarah Brand, like me, tend to favor the old project. Nicole will power through edits so she can hand them in, and then devote herself once again to the new project. Sarah added that whatever gets put in the back of her mind tends to “benefit from having time to percolate there.”
- Leah Petersen does whatever she can to NOT work on more than one project at once, but when she absolutely has to switch back and forth, she’ll usually give herself a day or two in between so she can "soak" in the main character. She’ll take long rides replaying their most emotional times in her head.
- A writing friend of Stephanie Scott’s creates inspiration folders and will look through those to set the mood when switching back and forth between projects. Stephanie said the same could be done with Pinterest.
- Helene Dunbar and PJ Schnyder listen to playlists for each project, and Leah Petersen listens to songs that fit with specific characters.
- When switching between genres, PJ Schnyder and J.M. Frey watch portions of movies or television shows from the genre to provide visual cues, and J.M. Frey will sometimes read fanfic or chapters from textbooks or novels to set the mood.
- J.M. Frey keeps track of her projects by writing their names on her refrigerator door—that way she won’t forget any of them, and she can muse over them while cooking or fixing tea. She also has a chalkboard where she uses a different color for each project—and she says it’s immensely satisfying to erase a note when she doesn’t need it anymore.
- J.M. Frey, Leah Petersen, and PJ Schnyder all mentioned that they read portions of the project they need to be working on—not to do edits or work, but just to read and absorb the world and characters.
Some of these ideas have to do with choosing which project to work on, and some are tips to help set the mood and re-immerse yourself in the setting. Whatever you’re struggling with in the balancing act, I hope you found something here that you can use! I know I, at least, am encouraged. Huge thank yous to the group for helping me out!