Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, May 07, 2011

It’s not one book at a time yet, but I’m getting there

It used to be that I’d juggle multiple book projects at a time. Skeptics of this habit would tell me that doing so meant I wouldn’t be able to get good quality work done on each book, but I’d shrug that off and keep at it. As a Gemini, I’m used to variety. In fact, I crave it. But then things started to get busy, and my writing time happened less and less. That’s when I knew I’d have to start focusing on just one book at a time, since I had so little of that time available. That little time had to go into working on the book project at hand. My problem was, figuring out how to make that happen.

The first thing I tried was managing two books at a time. I would write one and edit the other. And for a while, this worked just fine.

Then I had things going on with multiple books, since one or more of them were going through the motions with publishing companies. I tried to space these out , but it just didn’t happen that way. A typical week had me working on three different manuscripts at a time. If I wasn’t writing one, I was editing two. Or I'd stop writing altogether to focus on requested edits and revisions. (Not happy with that!)

And while I thrive on having a full plate and a variety of projects on the table, I started to feel like each book was just not getting enough of my time, nor were they getting my best efforts. They just weren't getting the attention they deserved. And my work on them could suffer for that, because it's easy to make mistakes or get things wrong if I'm juggling too many books.

So I felt it was time to just say “enough.” Put the brakes on all of these book projects and focus on ONE.

Still, I’m not there yet. As it is, I’m back to work on the haunted cities book, but also editing another manuscript.

So I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to put all of my proverbial ducks in a row. Take ALL current and pending book projects and put them into a list of books I’ll work on at a time. The new version of November’s Child is at the top of this list. This is the manuscript I’m editing. And that gets done on the weekends. During the week, I'm at it with the haunted cities book, which is second on my list. Then when that's done, I'll tackle the Revisions book – the third book on my list which isn’t even done yet. (I started working on the haunted cities book again – it had previously been “done” until I decided it won’t be a series so I’m adding what would have been in future books. And I'm working on it NOW instead of later because there is quite a bit of work involved with the extra material, and it's really important for this book to come out THIS year, so this way, by working on it now alongside the editing business, I can be close to finished with it by the time it comes up on the list.)

After I was done creating this list, I had 24 books. Then I remembered OTHER manuscripts sitting on my hard drive. They are either finished drafts. WIPs or book ideas which, upon review, I decided were doable. That list went to a total of 31 books.

I know, that’s a lot of books. But it just goes to prove why it’s so important for me to create a method for this madness. After I am done with a manuscript, who’s to say what will happen after a publisher takes it? If it will be published in the order I have created with my list, if it will require more edits/revision before publication, or if it will even be published at all. At least I have everything in order now. That’s just one step closer to avoiding distractions or confusion over what gets worked on next.

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