Focus or Diversify?

June 25, 2012

For more than a year I’ve been focused on one project, the novel that I’m writing, the one I thought was romance but has since been classified as women’s fiction, the piece that has consumed most of my waking time and occasionally my sleep. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m never distracted. I’ve even told you about it here. There’s a manuscript I have written that I’d like to rewrite and get out there, and I’m excited about the next story I want to tell. I’ve thought about maybe doing some short stories or even writing some magazine articles, something I haven’t done in years. But I haven’t strayed from my WIP. I’m afraid to. I’m afraid that if I separate from my current work I’ll lose my characters’ voices, that if I allow myself to be distracted, I’ll never come back and finish the work I’m doing now.

This novel is definitely the longest piece of writing I’ve ever done. It’s both challenging and exciting, and I’m learning so much along the way. I’m finally nearing the end of my personal rewrites, and tweaking my synopsis and my query, and looking ahead more seriously to new projects.

So do I want to diversify? Can I do more than writing a novel at one time? Will I lose my focus if I start writing magazine articles again…or lose my characters’ voices if I write a short story here and there?

I hear other writers who are writing short stories or writing magazine articles  while they work on their novels, but I panic at the thought. Maybe if I’m organized about it, set aside a certain time just for those other projects? I’ve always worked on one piece at a time…well, except when I wrote advertising copy and did resumes, but when I freelance wrote articles and columns, I’d make a file for each project, put them on my desk in order of deadline and start with the first piece that was due, working my way to the next. But of course, a newspaper column is a few hundred words, and a magazine article is a few thousand words…and a novel is MANY thousand words. So maybe I don’t have to wait to write other things?

Yes, I know that I’m talking to myself out loud…but if you have some ideas here, I’d like to hear them.


And so, Hunky Hubby just called from work and let me read the first section of my blog to him.

“Honey, uh, I don’t know how to tell you this…” he said quietly. (Have I ever told you how much I love his voice over the phone?) “Honey, you’re already diversified…you’re writing something else right now.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

“Uh, baby, literally…right now…you’re writing a blog. You set aside time to work on your blogs and they get you started in the morning…ready to work on your book.”

Hmmm, well he could have told me that before I started writing this post.

So maybe I can work on something else. Maybe I can write some articles…even try a short story. I’ll let you know. How about you? Do you diversify? Or are you obsessed with one project? Can you work on two fiction projects at one time, or does it have to be something totally different…? Tell me how you work. I’d like to know!



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