Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Picking Your Battles (or, at least the order they come in)

I have so much going on right now. Not just in my non-writing life (which is wonderful and crazy-intense), but my writing world as well. I've got my normal 60+ stories on the go - I've been trying to pear (pare?) the list down to just a few, so I can complete some of them, and I think I'm down to about 5 that I'm actively writing. What I've discovered: 5 is still too many. I remember the wonderful years between '02 and '07ish, when I could keep all of my characters and storylines mostly straight in my head (2004 saw the introduction of the Characters spreadsheet, which I used to keep my 300+ characters in order and avoid reusing names), when I could write two or three novels simultaneously and not get confused, or figure out the entire plot to a new story and keep it straight in my head long enough to write it down.

So the question is, how do I narrow my list down even further? I don't want to give up on any of my stories, I'd like to think that I'll write them all, eventually, but the problem is that for every story I complete I start at least two, so how am I ever going to achieve that?

To get the 5, I've used a rough set of criteria based on what I feel like writing, what I can complete in the shortest amount of time and what has the greatest publishing potential, all of which, for reasons I don't quite understand, kind of makes me feel like a sell out. I don't know what else I can do to shorten the list, I honestly don't.

So how do I (or how does any writer) decide which projects to work on and which to push to the (seemingly endless) back burner?

1 comment:

E said...

I'm terrible about this too. At this point, it's about "which one has the least outlined story left to tell? Okay, that one gets finished first." So far, it's working quite well.

Sorry, have very little to offer by way of advice. Although writing for a market is not condemnable and you are not betraying your art or anything like that. It's just a good way to prioritize. :D