Monday, February 7, 2011

Sit down, shut up, and everyone will get a turn

I work well with deadlines. At the moment, I seem to have a lot of them. Some of them are specific dates, like for contest entries, and others are self-imposed, such as when I'd like to get back to work on my WIP. Since I am a former journalist, editor, and project manager, I'm pretty good at prioritizing my workload. So I have clear of picture of what I need to do: story X, then work on contest entry Y, and then I can turn to project Z, before finally getting to project AA.

Except my brain is not cooperating. Z doesn't give a damn that I am not allowed to work on Z until the others are done. And AA is getting ticked off that it keeps getting shoved back. Y keeps reminding me that it only needs a few hours of my time. My brain is whirling with three different stories. I'm a little worried that there will be bloodshed. X is tough, but I'm pretty sure AA can take 'em. They're all giving me a headache and I am losing sleep. I had a massage today and I spent most of it spinning from X to Z and back to AA.

Do you have this problem? What do you do when you have multiple ideas demanding attention?


  1. Yes... mostly because I don't plan my writing sessions.

    I do the one I want until another is screaming for attention.

    Good luck!

  2. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the swirling ideas... I miss having them around! I haven't been writing in the last -- well, it's been almost a year. Got knocked up, had the baby, and now my maternity leave is ending and it's time for me to get back to work and my "second job" -- writing my novel!

    I saw your blurb on Natalie Whipple's "Crit Classified" post today and was drawn to your story idea. If you don't have any responses and would be interested in chatting about writing with me, please leave a comment on my blog or email me @ I have a mess of a (partial) manuscript (not even sure it's worthy of being called that yet) and a new idea for the narrator which I would love to discuss with someone.

  3. I hear ya! *sighs* I think the mental drag people are feeling comes from the monster winter we're having. Once those birds start chirping, mental energy will soar. In the meantime, I juggle as best I can.

  4. Oh gosh I have this problem ALL the time. My solution which you probably already do anyway is to write lists. That will give me some peace of mind until the lists start crossing over from day to day.

  5. I actually recently only started having this problem. Basically, I picked the story that I was already doing and just wrote down a bunch of random, pressing things for the other two and then I went back to the original....I still think about the others but as long as I give them a couple minutes a day...they seem to remain calm. For now.

  6. Yes, I often have this problem. I just go with the flow. Usually one idea will nag at me a little more than the others!

    Also, Thanks for stopping by and entering my contest!

  7. LOVE this post!! I try so hard to stay focused on the project of the moment. Idea A. I may take time to jot down B, C, D, but I make myself come back to A. If I don't force myself, I can be all over the place - running off the trail in search of that shiny new idea that flirted with me. I get lost easily that way!

  8. Ah I love having ideas - that's a time to celebrate. It's when you don't have them that's the problem!

    My advice would be to jot down every idea that you have and start with one at a time. Figure out which ones will work best with each one, and set a deadlien to get X amount done. Like you, I'm big on deadlines and goals - there the only way to get things achieved. :o)

  9. I didn't use to be able to work on more than one thing at a time but now I've somehow morphed into someone who works on several projects at once, all of which are at different stages of evolution.

    Before you get too impressed, I think the reason for this is because 75% of the things that I "have" to do are quite tedious (revision, copyediting, etc.) and the other 25% entails the fun, idea-generating, whoop-de-doo kind of writing I enjoy. I alternate so as not to get too bored. You gotta have some fun at this writing thing, right?