Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Multitask in Your Writing

Hi everyone! Today I thought I'd talk a little bit about something that is a major challenge for me: multitasking.

The problem withe having such an overactive imagination is that I have trouble focusing on just one idea. I come up with a lot of exciting ideas for stories; but when I decide I'm going to sit down, focus, and actually write one of them, I find myself distracted by four or five new ideas! It got to the point that I was almost despairing of ever finishing another book (or finishing my revisions of my first).

So far I've found two things that help:

  1. Advice: I wrote a quick email to one of my favorite podcasts (WritingExcuses, with Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells). I was surprised and delighted to get a personal email from Dan in return (they're all busy and I kind of expected an assistant or manager or somebody like that to respond). This is what Dan said: "Keep a notebook handy, and whenever you have a new idea write it down, close the notebook, and get back to work on your main project. When you're done and ready for something new, open up the notebook and go crazy. This is HARD, I know, but as Spock says in Civilization IV, 'If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.'"
    This really is hard, but it also helps. I really appreciate Dan's advice.
  2. Accountability and Deadlines: I've had several friends (all either fellow writers or sci-fi enthusiasts) read my book and give me feedback. Every time, I ask if they're willing to reread once I've finished my revisions. They all graciously agreed. Now I have someone to hold me accountable for my progress! I've never given them a hard deadline for when I'll have my revisions finished, but I think I'm going to start because I've recently learned I work better on a deadline.
So now it's your turn. Do you also struggle to focus on just one idea? What do you do to help yourself stay on track? I'd love to hear from you all!


  1. I actually have a document saved in my "Writings in Progress" folder entitled "Cool Ideas." I open that up, jot a few notes, a dream, catchy things I heard people say that day and move on to the work in progress at hand. Sounds like you're on the right track!

  2. Great advice! I'm glad I found your blog!