Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Two or three? Two wins!

Ordinarily, 3 is my number. Don’t ask me why, but I like the number 3. I have liked this number for some time. It is one of my favorite numbers (the others are 17, 25, 27 and 103). I like doing things in threes and trying three times. I also like using three things as examples when I am writing (and editors who hated sentences with serial commas have often grumbled over this habit of mine in the articles I’ve sent them).

However, I have noticed something this year. With the new year, I decided to work on two things at a time each day, instead of three. I want to make room for other things I am planning to do this year, so I figured the best way to do that was to cut out one of the things I’d be working on each day. That third thing was a book I’m reading AND writing.

I have a system: I’ll work on a book then read a book before moving on to other things in my day. This is how I am able to write books AND review them at the same time. The books I’ll read are usually fiction/poetry or research/nonfiction, but this year it’s nonfiction and fiction. The book I choose to read after I work on a book depends on the type of book I’ll be working on next. Usually, I work on fiction in the evenings, so in order to avoid copying anything from a fiction book I am reading – and you’ll notice I didn’t say “fictional book” (haha!) – I’ll read a nonfiction book early in the day.

So this year, it’s two-and-two. Two books I am reading at a time and two books I am working on at a time. That’s my plan, and it has been going very well. Because I am working on several nonfiction books at once, I rotate between the nonfiction books, depending on when there is work for them. Sometimes, though, I’ll be working on a nonfiction book for a longer period before moving on to another one, like if there is A LOT of work to be done for it. (This is the case with one book I have been working on. The part I am writing for this book is taking me several weeks to complete because it involves A LOT of research. Aye!)

I also try to fit in work on the current poetry book (in this case, the soldier poems book, but I also write poems for any old thing as well) and last year I completed what would be the children’s book for this year. All the same, I do work on other poetry and fiction books (not “fictional books” – natch!) but only after I completed the previous one. I do have yet another children’s book complete for NEXT year, except it just needs illustrations. I’ll be moving down through my list of fiction books (wait for it!) after I finish completing the previous one on the list. (And, yes, there is a list! Why I ever thought it was okay to write several novels and just let them sit on my hard drive, I will never know.)

But I have noticed that two at a time is working out much better for me instead of three at a time. It’s less stressful, to be sure, and the kids are happy that they get more time to play games on the ONE computer we have in this house.

Whether or not 2 will become my new favorite number remains to be seen. But, as a method, working on 2 things at a time just works out better than doing 3. Especially since I’ve taken on a gig as a marketing rep for a publishing company, so I need time for that, too. Perhaps doing two things at a time is a system that I will keep.


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  • At 1:19 PM , Blogger Frank Baron said...

    Three is my lucky number too. It began when I won a slice of watermelon in kindergarten by guessing a number correctly.

    That's all it took and a lifelong superstition was born. :)

  • At 10:41 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Watermelon tends to have that affect. :) Thanks for commenting, Frank. Yes, 3 is a good number!


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