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).
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)