A wise man once said: Why complete one task when you can start a dozen and never finish anything and die alone and ashamed?
Okay, maybe that's poor paraphrasing.
Author Sam Sykes recently spoke about the benefit of working on multiple projects at once. To summarize, it's about momentum. To be a little less summary-ish, let's examine the average writing process.
For most people, working on a single project, the process is simple: Start, Grind, Hit the Wall, Panic, Grind More, Finish. That'll get you through draft 1. But the timeline for this method can stretch out longer and longer depending on how many walls you hit.
What is The Wall? Well, that's a great topic for another article. Succinctly, it's when you don't know exactly where to go next. You've written yourself into a corner, and you need to write yourself out. The Wall is infamous among creative types, which is funny because--as we've discussed before--it doesn't really exist. It's an excuse to stop writing, and you have to crush that instinct.
It'll happen, for sure. You'll be working on a story, and then your stupid brain will start ruining everything with its THINKING. That's why most writers have a special jar of "writing juice" around their homes for just such an occasion. Writing Juice is generally sold in bottles marked "scotch."
For me, my wall generally appears due to Story Fatigue. Basically, I've been living in one world for so long that I get bored. Yeah, even though the crafting and exploration of this world could net me more Writer Juice money, I am unwilling to continue my literary journey. I want to see other worlds.
A way around this is to start up a second project. Have a short story in the wings you can jump to should the grass look a little greener. Give yourself a sweet little reward for working so hard on other projects.
It is crazy important not to linger on project B for too long. You've got work to do, remember? But these excursions into another world will do wonders for your motivation.
More than that, and more importantly, constant writing improves your ability to write. It is no secret that writing is a perishable skill, but it is also a continually growing one. Every story you write--every word you lay down, in fact--is better than the last. You only improve with each project.
But Adam, you scream in vain at your computer (I can't hear you), there are plenty of authors whose later work paled in comparison to their early projects.
No, that is a lie told by critics. You might not have enjoyed their later work, but that is because their style evolved, and you preferred the raw and uncultured beginnings. Or, in the case of Stephen King, he wasn't on the particular cocktail of opiates or cocaine from his earlier work.
Since you are living the clean life (with the exception of that sweet, sweet Writer Juice), your work will only get better. And if a fan decides they preferred your earlier work, then so be it. If someone complains that your new stuff isn't as good as your old stuff, but two people enjoy it more, you're still at a net gain. Also, people who criticize creative types tend to dislike dogs, and you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
What all of this comes down to is: I'm going after the NaNoWriMo prize again. That's right. I'm once again journeying into the world of the National Novel Writing Month, and you should too. But I hate the title I'm working with. "Agents of Chaos?" Ech. Garbage. I'll have to come up with something better.
But, in the meantime, get your outline ready. And write. Don't stop writing. Always be write.