Why Many Authors Have Multiple Projects Going At Once

The thought of writing a book (or a novella, or a short story, or even a poem) may seem daunting, especially for your first piece to publish. As such, the thought of working on two productions at once might sound downright psychotic.

Ignoring the fact that all writers are a tad bit psychotic–especially to the F.B.I. should they ever check our search histories–, working on two projects at once actually helps your projects to reach the finish line faster and with more energy.

Let’s take a look at my two current main series: the Belle Âme Chronicles and Hoodrat Sh!t.

The Belle Âme Chronicles is a dark suspense mystery series of novels. It features psychological manipulation, physical abuse, adult situations, and catastrophic injuries. While I enjoy writing this series, it is not for the light-hearted (despite some comedic bantering between the characters).

On the other hand, Hoodrat Sh!t is a comedy thriller series of novellas involving vampires and other supernatural occurrences. While there are still some darker themes (such as injuries and relationship issues), they are much lighter books. The bewildered, first-person narration of lead character Sem Van Dijk softens the blow of most of his situations, and the descriptions of bodily harm are not nearly as detailed as they are in Belle Âme.

So, what does this mean?

It means that Hoodrat Sh!t is a writing foil for Belle Âme Chronicles.

If I am in an overly-cheerful, hyperactive mood, I don’t want to dull that with Belle Âme Chronicles. Not only do these books take roughly 4x the amount of time to write as a Hoodrat book, but they are far more plot-heavy and involve more intense concentration and adherence to my outline. A lot of focus is needed, whereas Hoodrat Sh!t books are written far quicker and allow for more off-the-cuff insanity and witty one-liners.

Likewise, if it’s a stormy day and I’m in more of a neutral mood, it is hard to pull text for Hoodrat Sh!t out of my head. The zany banter needed for these novellas doesn’t come as freely on these days, but the darker dialogue and detailed situations for a Belle Âme Chronicles text flow much faster.

By having two juxtaposed series ongoing, it allows me to rarely take a day off of writing. If I am not in the mood to work on one book, I can switch and work on the other. If I am not in the mood to work on either, I can at least write a blog or work on a short (under 5000 word) one-shot.

So, what is the importance of all of this?

  1. It keeps me in the habit of writing. Like working out, writing releases those feel-good endorphins that your body starts to crave. You wake up wanting to work on your prose, you think up dialogue for your prose during your daily commute, and you stay up past your bedtime to finish that current chapter. If you start skipping writing days, your body gets out of the habit of writing, and your mind begins to say, “I should write” rather than “I want to write”. There’s a difference.
  2. It keeps me progressing toward my goals. The only way to be a writer is to write. If you want people to look at your work, you don’t want them to say, “Huh. She hasn’t published anything in two years. I wonder if she’s done with writing.” You want your readers to see continued progress and know that more is coming down the pipeline. This keeps them invested in you and a faithful reader.
  3. It gives you a chance to test out other projects. While one example that I have provided is a novel series and the other is a novella series, I still work on short stories and poems when I can. If you are working on one major project but are finding it hard to progress on the series one day, start another small project. Pen a poem that suits your current mood, and post it to your Page, website, or blog. This both keeps you in the habit of writing and progressing toward your goals while simultaneously showing your readers that you’re more than a one-trick pony.

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