Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the newly released The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website.
I often get asked, "Should I write multiple stories at once, or should I focus on doing one at a time?"
My answer? Both skills are necessary.
Let me explain. Many new writers struggle with having enough discipline to finish a book. And by "finish a book" I mean writing a first draft, doing several rounds of edits, and polishing the book to the luster it requires before an agent or editor will consider spending time with it.
As a new writer, I flitted from idea to idea. I would write half a draft, run out of steam, and switch to the new idea buzzing around my brain that I was super excited about. But I knew I needed to learn how to write an entire book, that I would be expected to do so as a published author.
So I disciplined myself to be able to do this. It became the way I preferred to write, one book at a time. No bunny trails - complete focus.
And then I became a published author, and was shocked by how often I was asked to work on multiple stories at once.
As I was finishing up my first draft of Out with the In Crowd (Skylar Hoyt book number two), my editor sent me my edits for Me, Just Different (Skylar Hoyt book number one) so even thought I was really in the writing groove, I had to pause to do my edits. And when I was working on So Over It (Skylar Hoyt book number three), I had to pause to read through proofs of Me, Just Different, content edits for Out with the In Crowd, plus put together a proposal for a new book that my agent wanted to see before she sent it on to my editor.
After disciplining myself to have such a intense focus when I was working on a story, all the multi-tasking made me cranky. I even caught myself thinking about how much I missed being able to focus on a story, how much I missed the writing time from my pre-published days - something I had sworn I would never, ever think or say!
So is it worth disciplining yourself to work on just one book if you're interested in being published? Yes. Because in my book-flitting days, I wrote based on my whims. Even though I now must work on multiple projects at a time, my whims don't come into play. There was value in learning how to write something other than what I felt like writing.
I think the demand for story multi-tasking is one of the reasons I continue to shift into being a plotter. After an interruption, t's much easier for me to get back in the writing groove when I have the story somewhat figured out.
What about you? Do you work on multiple stories at once or do you focus on one at a time?
And don't forget - the Go Teen Writers store closes on FRIDAY, so get your points earned and turned in! Also, I'm giving away a copy of The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet over on author Trish Perry's blog, so if you're interested in winning a paperback copy, make sure you check that out.