Time Management

by Vijay Kumar Kerji

Hello, Glen,

In September last year, I finished the first draft of my novel (and thanks to your Novel Planning workbook). In January this year, I have started another story which may also be around 75K words.

Now, I am in dilemma as to how to proceed with editing these two and possibly start the third one on New Year eve.

Because I workshop my chapters in Critique Group, I find little time to manage the multiple tasks.

I would like you to share your experience with us. I want both the novels to be self-published soon after they are edited.

Thank you very much for your kind help,

Vijay Kumar Kerji

Answer: First, congratulations on the progress you have made.

Second, every writer has to juggle multiple projects. Some people naturally prefer to spend an hour on one project, then switch and spend an hour on another, etc. That's difficult when you're dealing with novel-length projects because you can't make a complete pass through a manuscript in one sitting.

It's even harder if you have a day job and can only devote a few hours a week to writing.

If you're the kind of person naturally who works by focusing intensely on one thing at a time for a number of weeks, you will it difficult to work on several novels at once and stay in touch with the emotional throughline of each.

It will get even worse if you self-publish because most successful self-published authors spend 80%
of their time on promotion.

At the same time, having a little time away from a project, so you can look at it again later with fresh eyes, often helps you discover areas that can be improved.

I suggest you block out your time in chunks as large as feasible. In other words, spend so many weeks on writing the next manuscript, then so many weeks editing the first, etc. Try to allow enough time to finish one complete draft of a project or one complete editing pass through a manuscript before switching to a different project.

Working on several projects at once will also slow the completion of each, but as I said, sometimes having a little time off from a project helps it to be better in the long run.

Eventually you may need to adopt something like the 4-burner method. Here's how this works...

Your most important and urgent project is the front main burner. Spend 60% of your time on that. Project 2 is the second burner. Spend maybe 25% of your time on that.

The other two projects are the back burner. Spend maybe 10% of your time on one and 5% on the other.

At appropriate intervals (e.g. finishing a draft), rotate the projects around so that each one gets to be on the front main burner for a time, but none is ever completely neglected.

When a project is finished, freeing up a burner, you can take on a new project.

Best of luck.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero