Writing Tips

Managing Multiple Projects at Once


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Managing Multiple Projects at Once

Okay. So here’s the truth. I’m not an expert on this topic. Personally, I’m struggling with this right now. While I’ve never found writing numerous books at the same time difficult, I do find marketing one book while writing another difficult, especially when they are in different worlds entirely. Maybe it’s the way my brain wires cross. It just doesn’t work. It hurts my cranium. My mushy muscle master feels…well, mushy. So here are my tips that I’ve come up with for others who’ve struggled like I have.

1. Set aside a time for each project:

Maybe you spend the morning writing and the evening marketing. Separating the two can help keep your mindset in check, and eventually, you mind will adjust to expecting this schedule, so it will be easier to focus on what you’ve scheduled to focus on. I do this with work. When I wake up, it’s email time. When I eat lunch, it’s marketing time. When I finish dinner, it’s writing time. I even have my breaks scheduled, and those breaks help my mind flip over to my next task. Hardcore? Maybe. I’m on my schedule right now. I blog right after dinner and right before I focus on writing books. But it works for me, and it’s important to find what works for you.

2. If you don’t want to dance, get off the dance floor

What does dancing have to do with writing? A lot. Because this is a metaphor. If you just can’t get in the mindset of Project A because you’re still focused on Project B, that’s okay. Work on Project B, try not to worry about Project A, and move forward productively. If you continue to beat yourself up, you’re not going to get anywhere with anything. In this metaphoric world, you’re just going to stand in the middle of the dance floor, contemplating whether you want to do the jive or the twerk without realizing you’re at a disco. But who cares? You can dance however you want to.

3. Step Away, Clear Your Head, and Take Care of Yourself

I shouldn’t have to explain this, but I do because this is the biggest problem I – personally – have. I’m obsessive in nature in an unhealthy way. Seriously. I can admit this about myself. When I have a deadline I’m worried about, I forget to eat, and when I do eat, I don’t eat well. I drink too much coffee, and the tangles in my hair become so bad that Medusa’s snakes would be terrified of me. But I’m learning, and I’m getting better at closing my laptop, Weebo, before my vision gets blurry. I go to the gym, I buy a goddamn sandwich, I see friends, I laugh, and I don’t think about my books. I might have to force my book thoughts away, but it’s worth it because I am refreshed when I finally sit back down and get to work.

Speaking of which, I’m about to sit down to work on Death Before Daylight. We’re about 30,000 words into the content edits, and I’m hoping to have the manuscript out late this year or by early next year. But I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any tips for managing multiple projects at once, feel free to share them below! I could always use more help, and I’m sure all of us writers would appreciate the ideas.


15 thoughts on “Managing Multiple Projects at Once

  1. Good luck with managing your projects! As long as I am not writing more than one project at once, I am okay, even if I have editing/social media stuff/marketing to do with others. What I really have to be careful with is not focus on writing more than one project at a time (regardless whether chapters for an edited volume, a book, or an article). I think that the tips you are sharing here are helpful! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your encouragement! I’ve never really struggled with this before. I think it’s because Take Me Tomorrow and the trilogy are so different, it becomes difficult to get into the mindset of one novel when I’ve been talking about the other one. If you have any additional tips, please share 😀

  2. Great tips! Good luck managing your projects. I have a list of WIP and l have to tell myself that l’m not allowed to work on anything else until those are complete. I have about 8 or 9 novels in the middle of their stories.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting with your story. :] I was afraid my tips were to plain, to be honest, since this can be so different for each writer. Best of luck with your novels and stories.

  3. Great advice. #3 tends to be a challenge because it’s hard to pick up on when you’ve reached your limit and need a break. At least for me. Never fun to admit that I’m stuck on one of my own ideas.

    I use the night/day/weekend system that is similar to what you mention. When I have one i the works, I write a new book during the day after errands. I sometimes work into the night if I need to, but usually I rest while going over notes for tomorrow’s sections. Weekends are left for future projects like character bios, outlines, or whatever else I can do between toddler time. That family time balance can be a real challenge.

    Good luck with your projects.

    1. Number 3 is so difficult! I agree with you completely. The key to know when it has happened, which can be a hard thing to realize when you’re focused on your work instead of yourself (especially when your work involves losing yourself.) Thank you for sharing how you balance everything. I truly believe sharing our ways helps others because someone might find a new idea, try it, and like it.

  4. Reblogged this on Elizabeth Jamison's PhD Journey and commented:
    Managing multiple projects is so difficult. I have my job as a teacher, planning and grading and teaching, being a mom and wife, keeping house, writing a dissertation, and also writing freelance. I loved Shannon’s post because she gives great advice about managing multiple projects.

    The one thing I would add is to have your project goals visually in front of you. If you are writing two books, have two tables set out with your edits and questions and to-do lists, etc. so that you won’t forget. Same with research or with anything you are working on.

    1. Thank you for sharing and adding your piece of advice! That is a fantastic tip. I always have sticky notes on top of my desk that outline my different projects so I can see them clearly (and not have to look at the other projects at the same time.) Maybe I need another desk. :]

  5. Great advice! I often let myself get bogged down by the task I think I’m supposed to be working on, and wasting time my mind wants to work on something else – and neither things get done!

  6. Very good advice! I need to get better about setting (and keeping to) a schedule to separate out things like writing for the two different blogs, spending time interacting with the social-media communities, and working on the WIP-novel… I haven’t taken the step to separated them each to their own distinct time to focus on… will probably help to do so!
    I also like the reminder to let myself focus on the project that is demanding my attention — this weekend I spent trapped locking-horns (so to speak) with a character who was being stubborn… I managed to break through that by talking with a friend who is reading some of the work for me, and taking a quick trip out to the farmers market… but it probably would have been much more of a productive weekend for me if I had let myself work on some of the other things that are calling me just now.

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