Is “Too Many” a Thing?

I sat down the other day, flipped my laptop open and pulled up Microsoft Word. And had to pause. At least four documents were open, four documents reflecting four different writing projects. If memory serves correctly (and I doubt it does, but since I have no one to contest it, it is my most reliable witness) they were Rune, Blue Skies, The Scent of Silver and the most recent chapter of AWOL. And if that isn’t enough, I had the next 30 pages of Alyraekas undergoing revision spread out on the piano bench in front of me with my ever-so-important pen/highlighter collection (see previous post). Perhaps the best (or worst. Or both? Tale of Two Cities/Schrödinger’s Cat anomaly here) part is, of all five documents, only one of them is not what I would consider a “current” project. Rune is my new novel, The Scent of Silver is the one I am tweaking in preparation for querying, AWOL is my blog book, and Alyraekas is my “life’s work”, my true love, my baby I am trying to perfect before hoping to help it make its debut. Only Blue Skies has been shelved under the “until further notice, if ever” category, but I recently had an individual interested in reading it, so I dusted off the proverbial cobwebs (hey, if we can have computer viruses and computer bugs, why not computer spiders?) and took a look at it.

I sat there staring at all of these, in some form or another, WIPs and I kind of had to laugh at myself. I started wondering if it’s possible to have too many projects going at once? I mean, I decide I am going to sit down and work on writing, but then I have to decide WHAT writing? Am I going to go completely blank slate (er, page?) and work on new scenes for Rune a new chapter for AWOL? Am I going to pull out my trusty trio and spend an hour revising a couple pages of Alyraekas? Am I going to work on my shudder-inducing but painfully necessary query (a four-letter word to me; yes, I know it’s really five letters)? Am I going to shove all of those aside and write a blog entry (consider exhibit A)? Sometimes it comes down to which I feel more like doing. Sometimes it comes down to what I think I should focus on, or what has been most neglected recently. Sometimes, I just try to make it all come out even, much like Frances and her well-balanced meals (if you get that reference, I am ridiculously impressed. If not, check out Russell and Lilian Hoban’s books).

I haven’t come to any conclusion yet, regarding whether I have “too many” projects. I guess, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Because even if I determined I though the load was too heavy, there’s no way I’d be able to pick one to “give up” on. I may bounce around, spend more time here or there at any given time, but in the end, they’re all my projects and they’re all important. So, I guess I’ll just try to keep making them come out even.

What’s your opinion? Can someone have too many projects? Does it all depend on the individual? Or is there some line that, once crossed, means the quality of your work is going to start declining?

~ S.D. Bullard

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~ by sdbullard on July 22, 2014.

One Response to “Is “Too Many” a Thing?”

  1. I think it depends on the person and the types of projects. My baby (my first novel) has been receiving tweaks in the background for years (some tweaks more like complete overhauls, but you know). But I’ve played with early drafts of a second and third novel to follow it, worked on short works for contests here and there, and have been perfecting a short story for a foray into publishing. Oh, and there’s this other random NaNoWriMo novel (unrelated to everything else) that’s been quietly brewing in the background. Now, usually I’m only working on two projects at a time (a novel and a short story, for instance), but I’d consider all of them my current projects to some degree or another. Needless to say, you’re definitely not alone. : )

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