Today I’m going to talk about organising projects. Now, if you’ve ever looked over at my Other Projects page, you’ll see that I’m terrible at sticking to one thing. I get all these shiny ideas and run off plotting them. Meanwhile, I’ve got a bunch of half written, half edited manuscripts laying all over the place! Y’know, figuratively.

In the computer

It was for this reason (and nothing to do with the fact that I have a massive deadline a week from today that I’m avoiding) that I decided to make a spreadsheet. I started by trawling through my writing folding, ditching the half baked ideas that were terrible and I no longer have any interest in, and sticking all the rest into a list.

Next, they have to be organised and prioritised. I decided to come up with three groups: Active, Queued and Not Active. Only a certain number of projects can be Active or Queued, and the only way to move up a priority is dead man’s boots. Or, stage completed man’s boots. That sounds less perilous though. Anyway, once a project has been moved into “Active,” it stays there until the stage it is currently in is completed (or goes up a level, eg first draft –> second draft). I’ve given myself three Active slots, so that I don’t burn myself out on a single work, though one of those slots will ALWAYS be Twyned Earth, until they are done. And as you can see, I only have two at the moment, until after the 28th!

I definitely should have been working instead of making this.

I definitely should have been working instead of making this.

The reason I’ve chosen multiple Active slots is because sometimes project hopping is good for you.

Sometimes you just don’t have the inspiration for a certain project. You have the desire to write, but can’t even look at the story you’re supposed to be working on. The advice online quite often tells you to just fight through it, sit down and power on. I’ve done it and sometimes it works. When I’ve got a deadline, or it’s a NaNoWriMo project, I just sit down and force myself on that project. The thing is though, I’ve found that if I’ve hit a block, stepping back and looking at a different story entirely can help lift that. I know I have a problem as a serial project cheat, but instead of letting it be a problem, I’m letting it be a solution. Sometimes the brain needs a reboot, and what better way than focusing on something else for a while? Similar to how other hobbies are good, for people like myself other projects can help kick writer’s block to the kerb.

I’m taking control of my constant hopping, but at the same time giving myself room for flexibility, because without it I don’t know how much joy I would find in writing. And without that, what’s the point? I’m narrowing my hopping down because I’ve gone too long without finishing anything, but I’ll never give up totally. I love all my stories and they will all receive love!

What about you guys? Are you a project hopper? How do you keep it under control?

Admitting Defeat

As I may have said in my last blog post, I had BIG plans for October. Doing a full rough edit on Book 3, working through proper plotting on my NaNo novel, making a fairly complex Halloween costume from scratch and becoming a Pokemon master (again). I had every intention of doing all of those things. However, real life has decided to be a bit of a git about it.

Currently at work there are extremely stressful levels of things to be done this month and that was before my two co-workers had to have long periods of time off. So, I’m on my own, running around like a headless chicken and just generally going doolally. And when I think of everything I need to do at home, I freak out even more.

The trick, as I realised this morning, is figuring out what I do actually NEED to do as opposed to just really, really wanting to. That list is pretty short. I’ve always tried to maintain that writing is not a chore for me – it is my hobby. So, in the interests of keeping that alive, I’m admitting to myself that I cannot do everything that I want to and that I should actually try and relax a little at some point between the end of work and bed time.

As such, I will be doing my Write Chain Challenge two pages a day of editing on Book 3 and then that’s it. It is time to plot, craft or chillax. Hopefully this means I will be less stressed out during the day and that I’m actually producing a better quality at everything I do.

So, I’d just like to take this moment to remind you that it’s okay to adjust your goals as your situation changes. Do what it takes to be happy and functional, even if that occasionally means doing nothing.