Juggling Multiple WIPs

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Now that I am getting settled once more,(if you can call waking at 3am each day getting settled!), I am finally getting back to finalizing edits to my current young adult work in progress. After nearly two months on the road with little opportunity for writing, I am eager to get back to work. I also have a number of new ideas floating around which I am impatient to start. When I met with my agent a few months ago he raised an interesting suggestion – that perhaps I consider juggling multiple WIPs at once. While I have certainly managed copy edits while writing a new project, I have never actually juggled two WIPs and I am intrigued as to the practicalities of having more than one active project on the go at once. To be honest I am a bit of a linear writer, tackling one draft at a time, but now I am seriously considering the possibility of trying to complete multiple WIPs simultaneously…and I need some advice.

  • For those of you who have juggled multiple WIPs, how did you handle it?
  • How did you divide your time and deal with the development process for each?
  • Were you able to retain a sense of balance?
  • Was it easy to keep each ‘voice’ unique or did the projects blue or affect the others?

All and any advice on juggling multiple projects will be gratefully received (!) while I try and wrap my head around getting back into the swing of writing once more…I have to tell you though moving countries plays havoc with your schedule:)!

6 thoughts on “Juggling Multiple WIPs

  1. Clare, I’ve done multiple WIPS. Focus on the one that’s due, of course, but then work on the one due after that, and then bits on other ideas. I think Sue Grafton does this. Asimov always did it, going from typewriter to typewriter in his apartment. He wrote 500 plus books that way.

    The benefit is that when your brain is “tired” on one project, it can be fresh for another, and while working on that other your subconscious is working on the one you left.

  2. I can’t wait to see some more answers to this as well. I’m in the middle of editing my WIP, but I also have my next story vieing for attention, which is frustrating at times. ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like a schizo!

  3. There are definite risks to it–such as abandoning one WIP while you go off on two or three others, sometimes for months at a time–but the benefits are self-evident.

    I do find that language can tend to carry from one to another, which can be problematic, especially if you’re working in two separate genres. I think if you’re going to juggle more than one, this is something you need to be aware of.

  4. I think more than one project is okay — tough, but okay. You may consider working on Project A until you have a first draft finished, then take on the first draft of Project B. By the time the draft of Project B is done, you’ll be ready to go back and revise Project A with a fresh eye.

    This method has worked for me, and I hope it helps you.

  5. Thanks for the advice. At least one of the WIPs is past the second draft stage so maybe starting afresh with another WIP will work okay…but I shall tread cautiously!

  6. I like the way Jim put it, “When the brain is tired on one project”

    That’s where I recently found myself with my current WIP and therefore switched to a different story in order to keep writing until I find the path for the former popping up at me. Of course for a bloke like me there are no deadlines but the self-imposed, so no pressure to finish one or stay focused except that which I apply to myself.

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