How many is enough?

I call them Works In Progress, or WIPS, which a term that I carried over from my knitting days.  Now I use the term to define the short stories and novels that are in various stages of being completed.  Right now, I have two short stories, two novels and one story that I can’t decide what it will be in progress.

I used to work on only one thing at a time.  However, a very wise writer advised me to keep more than one project going at a time, the idea being that if I got bored with one thing, I could work on another one.  Or, I could work on editing (which I hate) while also writing something else that I enjoy, thereby avoiding burnout.  This particular author has as many as seventeen projects going at one time.  I could never, ever keep that many balls in the air at one time.  I’m way to ADHD for that.  But he can churn them out, good, well written stories, left and right like this.

Another writer that I admire reports that he only works on one thing at a time.  Now, he might be in the process of editing another story while he finishes another, but pretty much he writes only one at any given time.  This guy is a machine and can crank out 8,000 words like it is nothing and I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t because he is so focused on that one story.

So, one, five, seventeen?  How many is too much?  How many is too little?  What method works best for you?

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8 Comments

  1. I go with the “as many as I can at once so I don’t get bored” mentality… I think it makes me insane, but I like the challenge… Of course, that may be why it takes me forever to finish something, but… What were we talking about?

    Reply
  2. I don’t know. I saw a squirrel…..

    Reply
  3. I keep a few balls up in the air at a time. Right now I have 2 novellas, a novel, and 4 short stories going.

    Reply
    • That’s a lot of projects at one time. I would need a spreadsheet or something, I think.

      Reply
      • I keep a dry erase board hanging above my desk with all my stuff on it. Believe me, I get lost at times. It’s just hard to let a good idea go when the muse strikes and I like to at least get it started while the idea is fresh in my head.

  4. Sometimes only one is a-rollin’, sometimes I have several. When it’s several, usually it’s because of a deadline, or NaNo rolls around and you’re supposed to start a whole new project, or a special submissions call comes in that I can’t ignore. The beauty is, the others will still be there when I’m done, and I don’t have to sit around trying to drum up an idea for the next story!

    Reply
    • That’s true. And I do get often get focused on one project because of a deadline or something. It’s comforting to know I have others on the back burner waiting for me when I’m done.

      Reply
  1. I’m in Another World Now. Let Me Be. | robsparkeswriting

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