Autumn is nigh. The night gets longer, the air gets colder, and the rains come. The weather and landscape whirl like falling leaves into their last dance. Harvest time. Reaping time.
Your brain has been hard at work the past few years. You’ve got poems, you’ve got short-story ideas. You have novels to start, novels to continue, and novels to edit. How do you manage? How do you know which crops to store for winter, and which ones to toss in a pot for dinner tonight?
There are two methods I can think of: deadlines, and mosaics.
The deadline is simple. “I will finish ___ by __date.” Throw it up on a calendar, and work steadily toward it from now until then. Do it, done. Check.
The second is mosaic method. This is working on things out of order. With a number of stories vying for attention at once, you may want to try obliging them. Spend some time on a scene from your next book, even if you’re not there yet. If you saw something that reminded you of other worlds, write out a brief sketch. If you’re thinking about a short story idea, it might be difficult to devote your attention to editing. Let your intuition guide you wherever it will. Work on what really interests you now, in this moment. If you’re sad, write sadness. If you’re pissed, write violence. The last chapters will come when they’re ready.
Juggling multiple projects may be intimidating, but it’s also rewarding. Don’t feel like you need to bottle up your ideas, and most importantly: never, EVER stop. Figure out which method works for you, then keep going.
“Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.”
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”