Recently, I've been working on multiple projects simultaneously (one YA; one middle grade). The experience is challenging in many regards--since I work on both every day, it requires double the discipline (and straight-up mental wrangling) to get my a$$ parked in front of the computer in the mornings. Additionally, it is difficult to transition between voices, characters, and contexts.
So why, oh why do I do it? you might ask. Lauren, are you really that straight-up desperate for cash? Do you have so many voices in your head that require expression?
The answer to the last question is, of course, yes. (Well, probably the answer to both questions is yes. In the immortal words of All-Time Low: "...because the cash flow leaves me always wanting more!") But I like writing two books at once because each book provides a break, a respite, from the other.
Let me explain. When I run, I often stop and do strength-training exercises at various timed intervals--and as a result, it feels like I'm taking a break. I'll get really tired of running, and I'll think, "Oh, thank god, I get to stop and do squats now." And then, by the time I'm finished with squats/lunges/etc, and my muscles are burning, running will feel like a break. I'll think, "Oh, thank god, I get to go back to running now."
So when I get stuck on my YA, I'll think--"Just a few more words, then I'll get to jump to the middle-grade!" And vice versa when I hit a roadblock in the middle-grade book.
Part of it, too, is that I've always been a very handy multi-tasker. I mean, I can talk, text, apply mascara, brew coffee, and cook an egg at the same time, people.
What kind of tasks do YOU like to multi-task? And what are your writing-block-busters?