December 8, 2015, Tuesday

I am not a multi-tasker.

Because I dislike chaos and confusion (i.e., too many things going on at once), I tend to work on one book at a time until it’s finished. If an idea for a different story occurs to me while I’m writing, I make a note of it, but continue to write. To stop working on one story in order to fiddle with a new idea is the perfect plan for creating stacks of unfinished manuscripts. It’s why a lot of talented writers remain unpublished. But I digress.

Right now, I am going against the grain. I am working on two books at once, and it feels a little weird.

You read that right. Just don’t spread it around and ruin my reputation as a drudge.

One of the books is a simple cozy mystery. I created a nice little road map for the plot a few months ago. If I choose to do so, and have few interruptions, I can get the book written in a month.

The other book is a deep, dark, psychological tale. It is not a story to be dashed off in a flurry of enthusiasm. No indeed. A page or two, then it’s time to rest, to ponder, to meditate, to prepare for the next page or two.  This book, too, has its map laid out, ready for me to follow. Unlike the mystery’s fun and gentle path, the written journey for this one is filled with metaphorical rugged valleys, tangled forests, churning waters, dangerous grounds, sudden drop-offs, betrayal, bloodshed, love, hate, goodness and darkness. There is no hurrying through this story. Word by word, slow and steady, examined and re-examined.  The writing of it is going to take a while.

I’m interested in how other people fulfill their goals. Would you please share with me? Do you wait for circumstances to be just right, everything exactly in place? Do you take one goal and work hard for only that one? Do you plow ahead and get everything done at once? Do you flounder and struggle and end up quitting in frustration?

2 Replies to “December 8, 2015, Tuesday”

  1. As a teacher, I learned to multi-task–teaching is a multi-task or die world–but I often felt I was short-changing one thing or the other.I like to work on one thing at a time, but I always feel as if I am wasting time and should be able to do more. I ought to be able to work on the novel in the morning and dash off a blog post or a short story in the afternoon, right? I accomplish the most if I make a list and a schedule and follow it. This I get from my mom. Unfortunately, my dad was a fly -by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy. The very existence of a list offends and disgusts the part of me I inherited from him and that is the creative part. The compromise is to make a general list with lots of room for flights of fancy and not beat myself up if I stray. I do find that the more regular I am with my writing, the better I get at accomplishing my goals.

  2. Thanks for responding!
    Most mornings, I write down 3 pr 4 things I want to get done that day. Then I work on them, one at a time. If I don’t get them all done, I re-evaluate the leftovers the next morning and decide if I want to do them that day or not. I admire multi-taskers, but I’m going to leave juggling to those who can do it. I’ll just keep plodding along. 🙂

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