Re: Two books at once?

#1
Hi everyone, so I'm currently working on my fantasy book "Lost Souls." But I'm considering writing a western as well. Does anyone else work on multiple books at once? How do you balance writing multiple books? I want to make sure I can stay on top of both of them. I just recently finally got a laptop. I was using a notebook, broken tablet, and transferring everything to my phone to post. Now I feel things will be much easier to post consistently. 

Re: Two books at once?

#2
I can only speak for myself in this but I tend to have extreme trouble with project switching. Never getting past the beginning of anything and instead becoming obsessed with some new shiny idea I just had. I start on the new shiny idea only to have a newer idea come along causing me to drop that and start fresh. Over and over again. My current fiction is an attempt to stop that problem. I've sworn myself an oath that I'm not to start anything else till it's finished. Doesn't matter if the story I'm writing is good or gets read. It only matters that I finish it because if I try to write another story I'll find myself switching focus to it. 

If you have better self-discipline than me and can handle the extra workload I see no reason why you couldn't do multiple books at once but for me right now, no I couldn't and shouldn't try multiple books.

Re: Two books at once?

#3

Wrote: Hi everyone, so I'm currently working on my fantasy book "Lost Souls." But I'm considering writing a western as well. Does anyone else work on multiple books at once? How do you balance writing multiple books? I want to make sure I can stay on top of both of them. I just recently finally got a laptop. I was using a notebook, broken tablet, and transferring everything to my phone to post. Now I feel things will be much easier to post consistently.


I personally prefer to have two stories going at the same time.  It gives my brain a break when I get stalled on one or the other, and lets me keep writing without getting stalled out.  When I hit a really good stretch and knock out a few chapters, I still keep the same pace of publishing.  That way, when I hit a dry spell, I can keep working on the other story and just publish what I've got stockpiled.  It gives breathing room.

Jerick - the trick to discipline when you have shiny ideas is to not ignore them.  I keep a OneNote document specifically to braindump 'shiny ideas' into, so that my brain is satisfied that I wrote it down and I can get back to business.  It lets you stay on track and keep writing what you want to write.  Now, if you have a trick to making sure characters don't go off and do things you don't plan on them doing while you are writing them, I'm all ears!

Re: Two books at once?

#4
Currently I'm writing three books. Two of which are once a week updated with one being 1.3k+ words and the other being 1.5k+ words. The latter is a seriously written story while the other is semi-serious. But the semi-serious one can take longer due to being a system novel that involves a lot of math and numbers. Any LitRPG, game, system, or cultivation, etc. novel writer will understand what I mean by taking a long time due to such details.

As for the third, it's a casually written story that's realistic fiction, so I do have to spend some time researching to get my facts and dates right. With that said, it's the easiest to write with the loosest of scripts (the endings are set for all of the stories however). It's also the one that I update about 2-4 times a week with 1-2k word chapters. So it varies quite a bit.

I slowly added onto the number of novels I had to write because the last two entered a contest on another site. Because I don't like dropping novels, I decided to finish both to the end. The seriously written one was my first and will never be dropped because it's my baby. It's the one true story that I want to share with the world. In this sense, I've slowly gotten used to writing more and handling additional books.

But yes, it hasn't been easy. I just began updating 'consistently' again after a month's break on my semi-serious once a week story. The other two have remained the same, but I did struggle with updating exactly on time (a day late) with them. This was due to some deaths in the family as well as starting a full-time internship. So coupled with grief and stress, it was definitely not a motivating time. But writing helped distract my mind sometimes. I found time to write after work, usually at night since my writing mind seems to work best during then.

By having set schedules and communicating which day of the week you're going to update to readers, it's a big factor in pushing me to continue writing and adhering to that schedule. But readers are very considerate and understanding even if you don't update or are late---that only further motivates me to be on time and consistent because I'm so appreciative of their support.

So yup, that's how I manage my three books. I honestly never thought I'd be simultaneously writing three in my life. Once you start the process, even if rough at first or during difficult times, you get used to it, making it easier. But I won't deny that I have stayed up during the wee hours to write, so I also get stress from lack of sleep due to writing. xD

Re: Two books at once?

#5
The trick is writing in shifts, and having huge backlogs. For three months, you write Project A mostly, and think about Project B a little bit, maybe do work on the much smaller Project C. Then, after a good stopping place in Project A, you let that sit for a while and work on Project B in earnest. You have some time to go back, look at Project A and edit/revise what you have written, then after a good stopping place in Project B, you can switch back to Project A (or Project C) while giving a refresher to Project B.

Don't release your stories before there are three months' worth of chapters ready, and you can actually do this. Don't be too hasty in publishing your work, and you can stay a step ahead of yourself, and work on multiple projects at the same time.

Re: Two books at once?

#6
For me personally, writing 2 main stories is very helpful to keep my creative juices flowing. It does mean double the notes, but writing the same story over and over and over again with nothing to break it up can make it get stale pretty fast, it also makes it easier to face writer's block.

On a business level, it's a good idea to have more than one story so you can keep patrons (assuming you use or intend to use Patreon) invested in your works when you finish one story and introduce a new one to replace it. They'll stick around if they read two of your stories, giving them time to get hooked on the new one that's replacing the finished one.

Re: Two books at once?

#7
I very much want to write two stories at once, but I tend to write large 5k-10k chapters. Maybe I could use the second story as an exercise in smaller chapters. Sort of a training method. Do any of you write large chapters and maintain 2 or more stories? And if so how often do you release new chapters?

Re: Two books at once?

#8
5-10k chapters sounds like a logistical challenge - on a good day, I can manage maybe 2k words, and more often half that, so that's releasing at most once a week, and sometimes less.  If you can output that much, great, but it's a lot of physical time at a computer typing away!  Unless you've done it in advance, doing big releases is going to run into the problems of actually writing them, so it might be better to aim for more, but smaller releases.

Re: Two books at once?

#9

omnixius Wrote: I very much want to write two stories at once, but I tend to write large 5k-10k chapters. Maybe I could use the second story as an exercise in smaller chapters. Sort of a training method. Do any of you write large chapters and maintain 2 or more stories? And if so how often do you release new chapters?


At chapters that length, you will burn out and your stories will be cancelled if you try to do too many at once.

Re: Two books at once?

#10
I can but I  personally don't like working on multiple projects at once. Usually I rather post one, editing one in the background, and getting the ground work done for something else. However, there is always the priority project. That project needs to be well under way before I consider working on something else. I mean, I need to be half way through with it in either writing or editing before I will start writing something else. Also, that project does have priority meaning I will suspend all work on my other projects to see to the priority project is done. You want to finish what you start and honestly multiple projects makes this harder to do.


This sort of thing also, heavily depends on what you can realistically handle and not based on what you want to do. I've read far too many writers who start on more stories than they can chew and end up abandoning something if not all their projects.

What I recommend if first finishing a few things from beginning to end just so you can learn your writing process. Once you have that established, then you can figure out how you work and if you can start two or more projects at the same time. 

Re: Two books at once?

#11

Wrote: Hi everyone, so I'm currently working on my fantasy book "Lost Souls." But I'm considering writing a western as well. Does anyone else work on multiple books at once? How do you balance writing multiple books? I want to make sure I can stay on top of both of them. I just recently finally got a laptop. I was using a notebook, broken tablet, and transferring everything to my phone to post. Now I feel things will be much easier to post consistently.


I'll tell you; two stories can be a challenge.  I work between two jobs, seventy hour weeks, and was doing three novels in my pastime and between breaks.  It got to the point where I honestly couldn't keep up with three serials and life; so, I had to put The Helena Chronicles on ice until I could devote more time (I love my first girl T_T; there were some super sad fans).  I usually write between 3k and 5k words a chapter and release A Tail's Misfortune on Friday nights, and The Oscillation on Monday mornings.

My advice, pick a schedule, know your average word count, and stick to it, even if it means only 1k chapters every two weeks, it's at least something. If you can't keep up the quality and both serials, then put it on ice because you do it no service continuing if the quality takes a nosedive.

Best of luck, my fellow street performer!

Re: Two books at once?

#12
I can only add a cautionary personal anecdote:
At the last count, I have six separate stories all in various stages of introduction clocking in around 12,000 words total and a dozen or so fragmented ideas, even after amalgamating what I could, with more on the way and not a one published - had I buckled down and worked to the same extent on a single piece, there'd be enough content to begin rolling out on-site with a small backlog and time to write more.
I would very definitely stick to a single story unless you're very dedicated, can put a lot of time into writing and most importantly if you're good at multi-tasking and can compartmentalize the different settings and genres sufficiently to avoid bleed-over.

Re: Two books at once?

#13
I am currently working on two books at once. HOWEVER! and that is a big HOWEVER! They are part of the same overall story. I finished book one of my series and moved on to book two. BUT in book 3 we have all sorts of action and people popping up to help my MC. Where did they all come from? Why is the world suddenly in chaos? Thus I am writing a side novel that begins before the first novel but ends at the same time the second novel begins. It's the story of WHY all this shit is suddenly blowing up for my main MC. It's told from a completely different MC POV but it does tell us why shit suddenly hits the fan. It's all part of an over-arching story. If it wasn't I wouldn't be writing two books at once. I find in writing that if you are getting to the point where you want to write something else then the odds are you are never going to finish either work. If you've lost your passion for the story you are writing then sit down and make a list of what you want to happen and why. That usually helps me stay focused. 

Re: Two books at once?

#14
I used to subscribe to the "one at a time" philosophy. But time has changed me, and now I'm writing many, many things.
I write whatever story is capturing my interest, usually for a few days. I get down maybe 6k words, then drift away and write something else that's more interesting for a few days. If it's the beginning or end of a story, I usually turn Ultra Inspired and will work consistently on one project for a few weeks.

It's important to note that I'm only talking first drafts. Once a first draft is finished and I've let it stew for a while, I'll come back and I'll rewrite/edit it from start to finish without working on anything else. I've found it's important to keep your head inside the story so that the pacing and everything is consistent and the details are all fresh and readily available.

Everyone works differently. There is no right way. Do whatever works best for you.

Re: Two books at once?

#16
The issue is that one will dominate and often inform the other. Writers suffer many forms of procrastination and we face the saggy middles, or that part of the novel in the middle that is mostly connective tissue in the slow build toward the climax. It is during this woeful phase that the 'fresh wonderful new story' pops in to tempt you. It tells you, oh, you must capture me right this exact second, it will be so much more fun than working out those plot arcs and funky relationships...so you cheat. What often happens when you do this cheating on the side, is that you never finish one or both of them. So, I advise not to cheat on your manuscript. Bear down.

Re: Two books at once?

#17
I second that. if you write something on a day, you write at least something on your main story. Then, you go have a bit of fun in the other ones. Switching stories is why I never got past half of any of my previous works (the current one is 2/3rd fully written, and has lots of scenes ready to stitch all over the last part).

It's usually different for full-time professional authors, since they often have multiple unpublished books at the same time, but at different stages. Writing, editing, proofreading. But there's always one you are currently writing, and the others you have finished writing (at least draft 1).