Friday, May 03, 2019

The Art of Juggling Multiple Writing Projects

By Swati Teerdhala, @swatiteerdhala

Part of The Writer's Life Series

JH: It takes skill to juggle several writing projects at once, and sometimes, we need a little help to avoid dropping one of them. Swati Teerdhala returns to the podium today to share tips on writing multiple projects at once. 

Swati Teerdhala is the author of the upcoming novel, THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT, the first in a trilogy. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Finance and History, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how to make a proper cup of chai, the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart, and diverse representation in the stories we tell. She currently lives in New York City and can be found wandering the streets with a pen or camera in hand.

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Take it away Swati…

Swati Teerdhala
One of the hardest parts of being a writer is finding the time to work on all the stories you want to tell, of which there are probably many. Some people can only write one story at a time, putting their all into that idea. Others enjoy the chaos of having multiple stories in their head at once. Regardless of which camp you may fall into, there’s a point where every writer is forced to become the latter, whether it’s due to signing with an agent, going on submission to publishing houses, or waiting for feedback from a critique partner.

Here are my top three steps for juggling multiple projects (while still enjoying the process):

Find Your Best Time

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes my stories can be a bit finicky. One story refuses to be drafted except for the earliest hours of the morning while another demands to be revised after my afternoon tea break and no other time. Find your best time for each of your projects and schedule ruthlessly around it. Protect that time and plan the rest of your day around those hours. 

(Here's more on Finding Time to Write)

Separation Is Key

Finding a way to delineate the time you spend on different projects has been a huge help for me in allowing my brain to switch to the new task. I’ve found certain music playlists can jumpstart my ability to dive into a new project. Or even something more physical like changing where I write or having specific candle scents for each project. Whatever it may be, having something to demarcate your time and separate your stories has been essential to my process. 

(Here's more on How to Tap Into Writing Mode Anywhere)

Set Yourself Up for Success

Something new I’ve started doing is to spend 5-10 minutes every night before bed writing down what I want to work on the next day for each of my projects. It allows me to take a moment and consider what I’ve finished for the day and to put down all my thoughts so that when I wake up the next morning, I have a clear plan for the day. Then all that’s left is to get to it, rather than trying to immerse myself again in each project and figure out what I want to accomplish. Basically, reducing my cognitive burden enables me to move quicker and to focus more on the actual writing. 

(Here's more on Challenging Yourself vs. Setting Yourself Up to Fail)

I’ve been using these three steps to help me more seamlessly transition from one writing project to another and hopefully they’ll be helpful to you as well! I’d love to hear your thoughts on what works for you when it comes to juggling multiple projects. Tweet me your thoughts @swatiteerdhala!

About The Tiger at Midnight

A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.

Esha lost everything in the royal coup—and as the legendary rebel known as the Viper, she’s made the guilty pay. Now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has only been growing more volatile.

When Esha and Kunal’s paths cross one fated night, an impossible chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.

As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both the soldier and the rebel must decide where their loyalties lie: with the lives they’ve killed to hold on to or with the love that’s made them dream of something more.

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