What To Do When Projects Are Warring In Your Head

manuscript

So here’s what’s going on in my writerbrain right now.

I have not one, but two projects to finish under my other pen name. One is a rework of my YA novel (which is itself part of a larger trilogy), and the other is a semi-memoir kind of thing that’s one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” kind of stories. Those have deadlines in the immediate future. They are a priority.

And along with those priorities, comes my hashing out the over-arcing story and plot points of my Elemental Novels, a fantasy romance series in four parts based on Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This thing is epic in its scope, and I’m working hard to intertwine the stories before I really start fleshing it out and filling it in.

I also have two novellas I’ve framed out and started writing. They’re only 10k in words apiece, but still, they take time and focus to finish.

Add to this pile the next two novels I’m turning over in my head – one a YA novel with no fantasy elements, just a straightforward story, but a good one. The other is a romance, but I can’t decide if it’s more chick lit or if I’m going to take it steamy. I can’t imagine writing anything with a hint of romance and not seeing grown adults get naked. It just isn’t me. So we’ll see on that one.

And on that ginormous pile of brain splattering, you can toss in marketing, editing, proofing, freelance writing and keeping up with my fanfic writing (because my fanfic readers have become some of my most loyal book readers, and I won’t let them down). Oh, and I work full time and have kids to deal with.

This, of course, means I’m pressed for time to complete or even progress on all the shit warring in my fool head. One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn about being a writer is discipline. I have to prioritize, and I have to work on the projects that are a priority. At the same time, I don’t want to lose whatever spark or tidbit comes into my head because it might be the next book, or a good chunk of one that’s already planted in my brain.

So when I’m slogging away, line editing my latest manuscript and that great bit of dialogue for the next book is eating my brain, I stop editing. I jot down some of those dialogue lines and a brief (note the word: BRIEF) outline of what’s going on in the scene, and I put it in a slush file for that project and I go back to editing. If I get a great idea for the next book, I stop and sketch out a rough outline and I save it and title it and I go back to editing. It’ll be there waiting when I can get to it, and I don’t feel like I’ve lost more than a couple of minutes.

Excorcise the demon, folks. You’ll be better for it. But get back to work once you do. That’s the key part of all of this.

Get the hell back to work. Put your head down and just get it done.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I can’t be blogging for more than a few minutes. I have a rewrite to slog through.

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