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December 5, 2012 / diannegray

WIP it good

I love working on two (or more) WIPs at once. This is something I have done since I first started writing because (for me) it makes life a whole lot easier. If you think this sounds crazy, you’re not alone. A male friend once said to me, “I can’t even park the car without turning down the radio because it’s too much to concentrate on both – I don’t know how you can write two stories at once!” (bless his little cotton socks!)

In the picture below we see Harry Kahne, who could write with both hands, both feet, and mouth simultaneously (you won’t find me doing this).

Harry Kahne

I switch between WIPs because it keeps me fresh and motivated. Momentum is very important to me while I’m writing. If get to a point in one WIP where I’m stuck (or bored), I flick to another. It’s like taking a long walk and getting a lungful of air – you switch over and suddenly the ideas start flowing.

My thinking goes something like this – “Oh, that’s right! I left Clayton hanging off the side of that helicopter – will I let him fall or save him? I’d better get going on that scene!” Once I get through that, I switch back to the other WIP and so on and so forth!

The fact that no two stories I’ve ever written are remotely alike (not even the same genre) makes this even more interesting.

When I was writing Let Sleeping Gods Lie I got the idea for The Everything Theory and started on that. When I was writing The Everything Theory I got the idea for Wolf Pear and was half way through that when I started on Soul’s Child. Halfway through Soul’s Child I got the idea for The Eleventh Question (are you dizzy yet?)

Before the ideas for the new novels come to me I work on short stories and switch between those and my novels.

My problem (if you could call it that) is that ideas come to me while I’m working on a story and these ideas are totally foreign to that story. Most of the time I get a new idea half way through a WIP and it’s like a dog with a bone and won’t let me go. In fact, I have a file on my laptop called “Ideas” that I sometimes look at when I’m bored (which doesn’t happen very often).

The stories don’t seem to suffer through this odd practice. In fact, I believe it enhances them.

Some people say I should completely finish a story before I start the new one – but like everything else about writing, there are no rules.

I really admire bloggers who can work on their WIPs, blog and review other people’s work. How do they do that? It’s got me beat!

To top this all off – Janna has written a post for me as part of her Distractions & Subtractions series. I asked her “How does one maintain a life of creativity and inspiration in a world not inherently set up for such?” If you get chance, take a look at it – it’s well worth the read. 

Image from strand magazine (October 1925)


Leave a Comment
  1. Carrie Rubin / Dec 5 2012 10:20 am

    I’m a one WIP at a time gal, though if I had more time, I might be able to see myself working on two. On second thought, nah–I’m sure I’d still stick with one. I like to finish one thing before moving on to another. 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:02 am

      You’re not alone there, Carrie! A lot of people think I’m a bit nuts for working on two or more WIPs at a time (and they may very well be right). I’m so glad there are no rules – otherwise I would have broken them all! 😉


      • Jenny Ackland / Dec 7 2012 4:58 pm

        Hi Dianne I’m sneaking a comment in here at the top, unsure whether you’d see mine all the way at the bottom. Thanks for commenting over at my wordpress. I also am a multi-WIP person, like to switch between things, and like you, one project may seed ideas about another which means lots of note-taking as well.


      • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 11:41 am

        Thanks, Jenny! I’m so glad you’re a multi-WIP person as well. Thank you so much for coming by to read and comment 😀


  2. JackieP / Dec 5 2012 10:24 am

    I usually work on two or more writing things at once. I have a novel and several short stories going now. I think you are right when you say it gives you fresh ideas, and a fresh approach to your works. I also have my food blog when I want to get away from writing fiction for a day. In the end as long as everything comes together that’s what counts. 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:04 am

      That’s great, Jackie – and I’m really enjoying those food blogs! You’re so right – if everything works in the end, that’s all that matters 😉


  3. Theo Fenraven / Dec 5 2012 10:44 am

    I get the idea for the next story while I’m wrapping up the current one. I don’t start it until I finish the WIP though. I want to concentrate on one set of characters at a time.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:25 am

      This seems to be the way a lot of people work, Theo. It can get too confusing so I don’t really know why it actually has the opposite effect on me and makes things clearer…


  4. justinwriter / Dec 5 2012 11:04 am

    Thanks for sharing your working style. It’s so helpful to know how other writers approach story building. I do a similar thing with short stories, but not for novels. With novels, I immerse myself in the world I’m writing. Any intrusion would taint the story. Think of two teams performing surgery in two different theatres, everything has to be accurate and focused. No outside thoughts at all until completion. With short stories, I relate it to visiting two sets of families on Christmas day, which we used to do quite a bit. It wasn’t a problem at all, but maybe that was because they were so different, like two genres.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:28 am

      It really is multi-tasking to the extreme. When I was working I was also writing comms – so I had the blog, the comms and the WIPs. The more I switched between the two, the easier each became. Maybe I’m an alien! 😉


  5. Ruth Rainwater / Dec 5 2012 11:29 am

    I think if it works for you, it’s not a problem. Every writer has to find her/his own methods for writing and for editing; what works for one may not work for another. I know I often work on more than one short story at a time. The only time I focus solely on one piece of fiction is during NaNoWriMo; November is so intense, I know I couldn’t focus on anything else. 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:40 am

      You’re so right, Ruth. Writers need to find their niche and work in a state where they are the most comfortable 😉 Such is the way of creativity! 😀


  6. jmmcdowell / Dec 5 2012 11:37 am

    I’m right there with you, Dianne! I started my second WIP while only a few months into my first. And while they’re both still in revisions (I do have to work part-time), I’m also blogging and writing Meghan’s short stories on the blog. Plus I’ve jotted down bits for the sequels to the WIPs.

    I don’t think I’d be bored writing one WIP at a time, but when new ideas strike, I can’t not write them. I’d be afraid of losing too much, even if I did some careful outlining. When a scene takes shape in my head, I have to write it—even if it doesn’t make the final cut. 😉 But it served its purpose in giving me a fuller image of the overall story.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:45 am

      You’re a woman after my own heart, JM! 😉 I love the way you say “I can’t not write them”! So true – you can’t leave ideas for another day because when inspiration strikes there’s only one thing to do – act!

      Meghan’s story is fantastic (I find myself referring to her now as a real person – so she must be!) 😀


  7. T. W. Dittmer / Dec 5 2012 11:40 am

    I think quite a few people do the same thing (more or less). Whatever works, works. <<<—- Now ain't that wise? 😉


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:47 am

      You’re a very wise man indeed, T.W.! If it works it works and that’s all there is to it 😉


      • T. W. Dittmer / Dec 5 2012 11:58 am

        A wise acre, maybe, but I couldn’t resist. It was there.


      • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 12:12 pm

        Lol 🙂


  8. John / Dec 5 2012 11:44 am

    That seems so cornfusing! Ideas for stories flow through you like water. 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 11:49 am

      That’s a very interesting way to put it, John. They just keep coming and who am I to want to stop them? 😀


  9. agjorgenson / Dec 5 2012 11:54 am

    In my other writing life, I usually have about three pieces of work on the go. Also, I can never, ever read only one book. Never a dull moment that way!


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 12:11 pm

      It really keeps us on our toes;) I totally understand what you mean – it’s a great way to work!


  10. Invisible Mikey / Dec 5 2012 12:04 pm

    I’m always interested to hear the process other writers go through, especially more accomplished ones like you. Perhaps because I have no formal training in writing except Journalism, and I’ve been thinking about some of my stories for two decades or more, I’m always working on at least six at a time, and sometimes as many as ten. I change it up for momentum, much as you do, and because I’ve begun to feel my own mortality more acutely. Nothing like an approaching “deadline” to get me to produce.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 12:20 pm

      I have no formal training in writing either, Mikey. I was thinking about it a few years back and my brother talked me out of it – he said, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I think he was worried that it might change the way I do things and therefore change my writing.
      I’m amazed you have 10 on the go! There is no time limit for writing novels – but I guess you really don’t want to be famous after you leave this mortal coil and not enjoy what comes with it! 😉


  11. 1girl4adamwest / Dec 5 2012 12:05 pm

    Creative and talented you are my friend!!!


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 12:21 pm

      Awww – and all this time I thought I was a bit nutty! Thank you so much my dear 😀


  12. adinparadise / Dec 5 2012 12:20 pm

    You must have an amazing mind and memory, Dianne. I salute you. 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 2:37 pm

      Thank you my dear – I wish I could get comments like this every day (and twice on Sundays!) 😀


  13. Don't Quote Lily / Dec 5 2012 12:43 pm

    You know, when you first mentioned working on two WIPs at once, I thought that was pretty crazy. But it kinda makes sense now! And as you said, there are no rules. You do what works for you, and obviously, it DOES work. 😀


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 2:41 pm

      It certainly works for me, Lily! I like to keep things fresh and mix it up a little. No rules is a great thing 😉


  14. Kozo / Dec 5 2012 12:48 pm

    Stop being so modest, Dianne. You are also overseeing the remodel of a farm house, blogging, photographing, taking revenge on a friend, and serving as a mentor for all of us. I am humbled by your existence. Thank you for ALL you do. {{{Hugs}}}


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 2:52 pm

      Hahahaha – oh my dear one, you’ve made my day! 😀

      {{{Hugs}}} right back 😀


  15. Polysyllabic Profundities / Dec 5 2012 1:34 pm

    I’m with you….I can’t keep the same idea in my head without it being interrupted by several others. I’m glad to see I’m not alone. I like the idea that I don’t get frustrated by only having one story line in my head and I can deviate if I get stuck.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 2:44 pm

      Switching and getting into another WIP is like a breath of fresh air! By the time I go back to the old one I’ve got new ideas and more motivation. I love it! 😀


      • Polysyllabic Profundities / Dec 5 2012 2:49 pm

        Me too….on a much smaller scale, of course. I have lots of short stories and blog posts started and my attention has been bouncing back and forth. But, you’re right, it does keep things fresh. 🙂


  16. eof737 / Dec 5 2012 1:46 pm

    I’m impressed you can do it so well… The problem for me with multiple WIP is that I get distracted and juggle myself into a corner… Oy! 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 8:10 am

      Oh no! Nothing worse than juggling yourself into a corner! 😉


  17. Janna G. Noelle / Dec 5 2012 2:03 pm

    Okay, Dianne, now that I’ve actually read about your process, I’m not having heart palpitations anymore. I’m still not going to work on two WIPs at once, but I can now see how someone who is not me could do so.

    This is mainly because what you describe isn’t actually that far off from the way I work. I like to have the idea for my next story already worked out before I finish my WIP. I will therefore research about it, watch movies/read books related to the subject matter, take jot notes on it, and think a whole lot about it (you know me; I’m a thinker) while still at work on the WIP. I’m just a little too one-tracked in my thinking to actually write two things at once. Instead, I just let the new idea tumble around inside my head like clothes in the laundry for as many months or years as it takes to finish my current project.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 3:02 pm

      I’m so glad you’re no longer having heart palpitations, Janna 😀

      What you describe is very similar to my process – the only difference is I start writing because if I let it tumble around for too long I forget things. It goes something like, “I had REALLY good idea and now I can’t remember what it was!” It may not have actually been a REALLY good idea, but seems that way because it’s now gone 😯


  18. Janna G. Noelle / Dec 5 2012 2:04 pm

    Also, thanks for the link. 🙂


  19. donnajeanmcdunn / Dec 5 2012 2:16 pm

    Hey Dianne, I think you did a great job explaining how and why you work on two wip at a time. I understand perfectly, but then, as you know I do the same thing and for many of the same reasons. I love the fact you get new story ideas while working on another. That means you’ll never run out of stories or ideas.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 3:15 pm

      For some reason they just come to me, Donna. It might be a word or a phrase (or a dream). It’s great that you work the same way and know exactly what it’s all about! 😀


  20. Jacqui Murray / Dec 5 2012 2:19 pm

    I love reading how other writers ‘do it’. Yours, I must say, is unique.


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 3:19 pm

      Thank you, Jacqui! We all have our little idiosyncrasies and I love hearing how other writers ‘do it’ as well! 😉


  21. lunajoonok / Dec 5 2012 2:47 pm

    Does it count if you work on more than one perfume blend at a time? Or art piece? Or zine?


  22. Maddie Cochere / Dec 5 2012 3:27 pm

    This was really cool to read, Dianne. I don’t write more than one work at a time, but I do get ideas for other books when I’m writing, and I jot them down in my notebook. As I was reading your process, it sounded like how I read books. It’s nothing for me to be reading four or five books at a time. I read to suit my mood. How many WIPs do you have going right now?


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 5:08 pm

      It’s funny you should ask how many WIPs I have going now because when I arrived up north a few weeks ago i went to go to work on my current WIP and realized I had left it on my other laptop and had no way to access it (yes – slap me very hard!) Now, not being one to get by without my WIP I ‘had to’ start another one! 😉 It must have been fate…

      I don’t know how you can read that many books at one time – that’s what I call ‘amazing’ 😀


      • Maddie Cochere / Dec 5 2012 5:24 pm

        That’s one way to have to start a new book! LOL! Maybe the snake skins will give you inspiration for a second book, so you can have two going at once. … I read one book with one eye while I read another book with the other eye – like that guy in your picture with his writing. … Just kidding, of course. 😉 I’m reading two chick-lit style books on my Nook, a golf memoir in hardcover, and a fellow bloggers book on my PC. I like having options.


      • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 5:42 pm

        The only one I’m reading at the moment is yours and I’m loving it! 😉


      • Maddie Cochere / Dec 5 2012 5:44 pm

        Hahaha … I forgot you had it! Thank you for letting me know you are entertained. 🙂


  23. nrhatch / Dec 5 2012 3:29 pm

    Sounds like you’ve got a winning formula.
    No rules. Just write! 😀


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 5:15 pm

      I’ve never been one to follow rules, Nancy – this must be why I was always in so much trouble at school 😯


  24. Sharon McGill / Dec 5 2012 3:50 pm

    Since I’ve been working on a novel, I found that writing some flash fiction every now and then is super refreshing. It feels good to finish something in a weekend! Then I get back to the mothership. I have found, however, that the novel feeds these little “breather pieces” a lot–they’re a place to work out a theme or develop a new character from some small detail I’ve found in the book. At any rate, it’s good to try. I was never able to write two short stories at once, so you’ve definitely got me beat there!


    • diannegray / Dec 5 2012 5:28 pm

      This is great, Sharon. You’re also right about the feeling you get when something is finished 🙂 I love the way you call the novel ‘the mothership’ – wonderful!!! 😀


  25. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Dec 5 2012 6:08 pm

    I love hearing and learning about your creative process! I am a momentum girl too..but also one who likes and needs to percolate…so often ideas, thoughts are percolating under the surface, sometimes because I put them there, sometimes they are just there. I love – when I least expect it – something bubbles up, seemingly not connected to what I am working on. But we never know when the idea will strike…and isn’t that half the fun!? 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:33 am

      I love your thoughts, Bonnie! I have those percolations as well, where I know something is there but it hasn’t quite made its way to the surface yet. The best ones are the ‘ah ha’ moments when the answers to the questions (like – how am I going to end this darn thing!) hit you all of a sudden and everything begins to make so much sense! 😀


  26. Roy McCarthy / Dec 5 2012 6:52 pm

    Morning Dianne, it’s comforting for me to see that you don’t feel a need to abide by all the ‘rules’ of writing. You interweave your projects, mix up your genres, disagree with your (former) editors etc.

    As to creativity, surely one needs the multitudinous incidents, dialogues and interactions of a busy life to spark this off? Or maybe just having had those things in the past is sufficient.


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:42 am

      Anything can spark it off, Roy. I’ve had a few interesting conversations recently about the people who live round the area where I’m fixing my old house. Some of the stories are truly incredible and I think if I write them as is, no one would believe me (they say truth is stranger than fiction!) I included some of these characters and their antics in Let Sleeping Gods Lie, but now it seems they have gotten worse. There is writing fodder everywhere I look at the moment 😉

      Thank you for saying good morning because it’s only about 5:30 am here and I’m having my morning coffee and reading a few blogs – what a nice way to greet the day 😉


  27. Deborah Hawkins / Dec 5 2012 7:22 pm

    I think every creative person has her or her own process. My work as a fiction writer is very different from my writing as a lawyer. I don’t want one to spill over into the other.


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:44 am

      My ‘work’ writing (when I was working which ended a few weeks ago) was nothing like my novel writing and I had to switch between the two on a daily basis – maybe this is why I can switch so easily between WIPs 😉

      I could imagine how much trouble you would be in if your legal work became fiction! 😯


      • Deborah Hawkins / Dec 7 2012 6:19 pm

        Don’t tell anyone, but when you write briefs on appeal for crimnal defendants, some of it borders on fiction.


  28. ramblingsfromamum / Dec 5 2012 8:12 pm

    Rushes out grabs the wonder woman suit, measures..yep a fit, pulls down the shorts, whips off the T and throws the thongs to the snakes. Bless you hun I marvel at your multi tasking! 🙂 xx


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:46 am

      Hahaha – I love this! You are such a darling 😉


  29. moderndayruth / Dec 5 2012 9:16 pm

    I can’t park with the radio on either – but i can write in various genres simultaneously lol! Janna’s post is great, thank you for linking to it!


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:48 am

      I’m so glad you liked it, Lena! Janna spends a lot of time on her posts and is very good at figuring out the ‘big issues’ we can have when we’re trying to juggle life and work and creativity.

      Actually, to tell you the truth – I also turn the radio down when I park! 😉


  30. Zen A. / Dec 5 2012 10:13 pm

    At one point I used to work on several WIPs at the same time, but I often left stuff unfinished and took too long to write, so I decided to commit myself to one WIP at a time. To each their own, I guess. 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:50 am

      Exactly right, Zen – you have to do what you’re the most comfortable with. This is why I love the fact that there are no rules in writing 😉


  31. harulawordsthatserve / Dec 5 2012 11:29 pm

    Thank you!!! Now I don’t feel so weird, undisciplined or unproductive:-) I do have a lot going on at once and I can really resonate with the dog with a bone thing. Once the flow is flowing it flows where it wants to go and if I try to control it I drown and go nowhere.


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:51 am

      Well said, Harula! This is exactly how I feel – you are a soul sister! 🙂


  32. Britt Skrabanek / Dec 5 2012 11:56 pm

    Interesting! Ideas for Everything’s Not Bigger were definitely flying around while writing Beneath the Satin Gloves, yet I stuck with working on one at a time since I was still a newbie. Since my next two books are in the same stages (in my mind), I’m thinking about writing both simultaneously because I couldn’t decide which to do first. : )


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:54 am

      Go for it, Britt! You lose nothing by trying many different ways and the good thing is you’ll find what works for you and eventually settle into that routine 🙂 Well done!


  33. mcwoman / Dec 6 2012 2:00 am

    Yet another thing we have in common! (I’m assuming WIPs stands for Works in Progress, right?) Right now, I have two novels going, a host of short stories I’m working on, plus I try to blog something everyday. My “stream of consciousness” blog is an writing exercise to keep the nasty “writers block” away. Like you said, there are NO rules for writing. It’s probably why we both love it so.


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 6:58 am

      So true, Barbara! And yes – WIP is Work in Progress 😉

      I thought your style would be similar to mine because we have so many other things in common Two novels, short stories and blogging – that’s a lot of writing, but it really keeps those thought cogs oiled and active! 😀


  34. Anna Scott Graham / Dec 6 2012 2:08 am

    I am all over this post! Too many ideas and not enough time is one of my issues, also like you, I would be bored to tears working on just one project. Thank goodness there are no rules, whew! 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 7:00 am

      So true, Anna! I have the “too many ideas and not enough time” issue as well. But now that work is well and truly out of the way I’m hoping to find a new routine where I can add more to the WIP list! 😉


  35. Vikki (The View Outside) / Dec 6 2012 2:49 am

    Ho on earth do you do that Dianne? Lol

    I would get soooo confused 😉

    No, I’m afraid I’m a one project at a time kinda girl 😉

    Jealous though!



    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 7:03 am

      I need to work this way, Vikki – otherwise I get bored. In a way you do this as well by mixing your blogging with your WIP and switching between the two seems to work well for you. I know of bloggers who don’t blog for months while they’re writing and then blog and not write for months because they can’t do both – so I’m thinking you’re half way there already 😀


      • Vikki (The View Outside) / Dec 6 2012 6:25 pm

        Ooooo, I never thought of it like that lol 🙂

        Really? Can’t blog while they’re writing…I’ve not come across that yet. I guess us girlies are just good at multi tasking 😉



  36. Denise Hisey / Dec 6 2012 3:06 am

    That’s exactly how I read! I always have several books going on at the same time! I haven’t tried it with writing, though….

    BTW, I’ve never heard of Harry Kahne before…I looked him up and was astounded! Now that’s a man who can multitask -in spades!!


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 7:05 am

      Something I find very hard to do is read more than one novel at once, so you’ve got me beat on that one, Denise! 😉

      I’m thinking Harry Kahne must have been able to use more parts of his brain than anyone else! Too bad they didn’t have the MRI back then because it would have been interesting to see how it actually worked! 😀


  37. MR Graham / Dec 6 2012 3:21 am

    Oh, I absolutely sympathise. I’ve got a whole slew of them in the works at any given time. I reckon it’s a mild Asperger’s or OCD thing. I get deeply obsessive about an idea and am completely unable to work on anything else, and then my brain switches tracks entirely and I’m obsessing about something completely different, but the first idea isn’t done yet. This is why I keep a list. xD


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 7:13 am

      I may have OCD – who knows! I do count a lot in my head 😀

      When I was a child I was super hyperactive and this has carried on to adulthood. I seriously hate being bored and make sure I never am so writing (particularly many things at once) appeases this. I actually love multi-tasking and am glad that I can work on more than one novel at a time – at least they get finished 😉

      I also love lists!


      • MR Graham / Dec 6 2012 10:25 am

        Lists keep me sane.

        And writing is probably the best way to make sure you’re never bored!


  38. dennisberry / Dec 6 2012 5:35 am

    Your talent is beyond measure.


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 7:06 am

      That’s very nice of you, Dennis! 😉 {*blushing*}


  39. L. Palmer / Dec 6 2012 5:50 am

    I often get ideas for other stories as I’m working on my main project. Sometimes I’ll work on something else if I’m stuck, just to get the creative juices flowing again. I think two projects are better than one.


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 7:08 am

      So true and such an effective way to work. I like ‘two projects are better than one’ – that’s what I should have called this post! 😉


  40. annotating60 / Dec 6 2012 9:44 am

    I would have left this on the board but you have so many comments. Now I’m not sure what I even have to say is interesting. I usually have four or five poems going on at the same time, each in its own stage of disrepair and condemnation. I work on one until I hate it then go find something else that will make me feel as though what I do is actually work and worthwhile. But my poems are too selfish. If an idea pops up it is not allowed to go somewhere else but must remain in place until deleted later. >KB


    • diannegray / Dec 6 2012 10:37 am

      I love the way you say, “I work on one until I hate it ” – that’s what I wanted to say in this post and now I’m glad you said it here 😉

      I think we’re not the norm taken the amount of people that work on one at at time – but it doesn’t matter how we do it, as long as we get it done 😀


  41. Rick Mallery / Dec 6 2012 11:05 am

    I looked up Harry Kahne and started doing his exercises. Maybe I can write six novels at the same time. Thanks for the introduction!


  42. Vikki (The View Outside) / Dec 6 2012 5:40 pm

    Hi Honey 🙂

    I’ve nominated you for a Blog Of The Year Award. Please don’t feel obligated to accept, but if you do, you’ll find all the info here



  43. Hazy Shades of Me / Dec 6 2012 6:32 pm

    Ahh, it all makes sense now! Although, I personally am not of sound enough mind to pull this off. 😉 Great post and lots of good food for thought. Thank you so much!


    • diannegray / Dec 7 2012 6:01 am

      I’m not totally of ‘sound mind’ either (being a highly unorganized person!) I’m glad you liked it 😀


  44. the eternal traveller / Dec 6 2012 10:04 pm

    It’s the same with quiltmakers and other crafters. We usually more than one project happening at any given time, and often many all at once. We call them UFOs – unfinished objects. I do like WIPs though, it sounds as if something is actually being done.


    • diannegray / Dec 7 2012 6:36 am

      I love the sound of UFOs – I’m sure I’ve got a lot of them around somewhere! Thanks so much for dropping in to comment 😉


  45. Photos With Finesse / Dec 7 2012 3:04 am

    I’m much the same way – I describe it as ‘multi-tasking’ – although my male friends tend to describe it as starting lots and finishing none. That said, I’m sitting here with a to-do list today trying to actually complete several of the items I’ve started – one at at time. 😀
    – Suzan –


    • diannegray / Dec 7 2012 6:41 am

      LOL! I love the differences in the way people describe things (particularly males!) 😉

      I hope you get through your to-do list today. The problem with my to-do list is that I try to do things simultaneously – I’m glad you attack yours one at a time, that’s probably the very best way to go about it! 😀


  46. EllaDee / Dec 7 2012 12:04 pm

    I enjoyed Janna’s post, and yours. I must admit I did wonder how on earth you fit in novel writing, work, general life, blogging… and came to the conclusion you are superwoman in a literary guise. I was also intrigued as I realised, confirmed by you, that your novels don’t have a common topical thread, genre. To me it makes sense… it is unstimulating to be dedicated to a single interest. I flit between the necessities of everyday life and a collection of other interests 🙂


    • diannegray / Dec 7 2012 12:20 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed both posts 😉 I don’t feel like superwoman because I’m SO unorganized – although one day I may become organized and lose my mojo.

      I love the multiple interest angles – I don’t think I’ll ever stick to one genre (but I wouldn’t bet my house on it!) 😀


  47. jannatwrites / Dec 7 2012 5:09 pm

    Well, the way you explain it makes sense, but I still don’t know if my brain would work that way. One day, I might have to try it (but I think I need to at least be making progress on one project first!)


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 11:55 am

      Try it, Janna – it can’t hurt and if it doesn’t work out you won’t have lost anything (I hope!) 😉


  48. danpentagram / Dec 7 2012 7:58 pm

    Wow, multiple WIP’s at once plus short stories, how do you keep them so fresh and coherent, without overlapping ideas? I couldn’t possibly do that, one is enough me 🙂 But i do like to take time out to write reviews etc, which is completely different from writing fiction.


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 11:58 am

      I’m not sure how the ideas don’t overlap, Dan. My brain just seems to switch and immediately forgets about one WIP while I’m working on the other. When I get back to the one I’ve left for awhile I can see it with fresh eyes (I have a weird brain!) 😉


  49. Jenny Ackland / Dec 7 2012 8:13 pm

    Hi Dianne I purt a comment at the top not realising this thread is very live, I was unsure whether you’d see mine all the way at the bottom but now I’m putting it here… Thanks for commenting over at my wordpress. I also am a multi-WIP person, I like to switch between things, and like you, one project may seed ideas about another which means lots of note-taking as well. They will often be in different stages so while one is being read by someone else, and I’m waiting for feedback, I’ll go on with something else. Keeps me busy which I like!


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 11:59 am

      Thanks, Jenny! Two comments in one day – I’m very flattered! 😀


  50. gabrielablandy / Dec 8 2012 1:55 am

    I always love to hear about other writers juggling more than one project at a time. I am the same. Each WIP will offer me a glimpse, which I write and then wait until the next glimpse. If I only had one project I wouldn’t be writing as much. So I always try to have enough on the go that I’ve got something I can work on a little each day. It means that there are often long periods where I don’t finish anything, and then suddenly finished pieces come all at once, which is very satisfying.


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 12:01 pm

      Great explanation of your thought processes, Gabriela! I think you’ve done better than me here 😉


  51. 4amWriter / Dec 8 2012 2:17 am

    I wish I had the ability to work on more than one at a time. But I have such a short attention span, that I have to work extra hard to concentrate on only one for longer than 30 minutes. I think it’s amazing that you can do it, and that you thrive on it!


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 5:09 pm

      I’ve got a really short attention span as well (I was one of those ‘hyperactive’ children before it was fashionable) and I think that may be one of the reasons behind me switching between everything! 😉


  52. The Bumble Files / Dec 8 2012 12:24 pm

    This is fascinating, Dianne. Thanks for sharing. It seems like you have a kind of system here, even if it may be random at times. I may try this. My tendency is to drop something altogether if I get bored or if it’s not working, and then I never pick it up again.


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 5:10 pm

      It’s amazing the things you see when you drop something and then go back to look at it with fresh eyes. This may just work for you 😀 YAY!


  53. EJ / Dec 8 2012 1:53 pm

    I work on all sorts at once, but found out I can’t write two novels at the same time – although I have to have new writing alongside editing because it’s such hard work…
    I have a file called ideas as well – some are very clearly planned and some are just a few sentences, but I know what will follow book 2 – I just need to finalise book 1 first 😉


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 5:14 pm

      I think it would be harder to write multiple WIPs if you were writing a series. This way works for me because all my stories are so different – if they were ‘related’ I really don’t think I could do it because I’d have to finish part 1 before i could go onto part 2. Great point 😉


  54. Chris Edgar / Dec 8 2012 2:30 pm

    I am usually writing multiple musicals at once, so I can definitely relate to this one. But in a sense I never really know which musical I’m working on, because it’s usually easy to cannibalize all or part of one song and use it in a show that’s different from the one it was originally intended for.


    • diannegray / Dec 8 2012 5:16 pm

      Well done, Chris! Writing musicals seems so far out there to me that I seriously don’t know how you do it!

      I love the way you ‘cannibalize’ songs – what a great word 😀



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