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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Writing: The Cross-Training Approach

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."

Nifty, huh?

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?


salarsenッ said...

You have official just inspired me again. I have half an MG manuscript completed and I'm editing my YA now. Why not do them simultaneously? What a plan. Oh weee...I'm excited.

Kathryn said...

I find that watching fantasy films helps, oddly enough. I throw on a Harry Potter film whenever I need a break from writing or if I'm blocked. Or music. Coldplay, The Beatles... something like that.

Keri said...

I have two novels I'm meant to be working on at the moment, one a first draft and the other a re-write. So I understand your strategy, I'm just not as good at disciplining myself, unfortunately. I really need to get my own butt parked in the chair in front of my computer every morning...and not the one with internet that I'm sitting in front of now...the one downstairs where I would have no distractions if I could actually bring myself to sit still down there. Woe is me. Anyway, best of luck on both your WIPs! I desperately need to follow your example.

llt806 said...

Thank goodness there are others who write simultaneously. Some of my in-person crit partners think I'm crazy for working on my two YA WIPs at the same time. It's difficult to juggle the demands of writing when a scene pops in my head and I have to drop one of my kids off somewhere or pick em up. I guess we do what we have to do!
Loved "Delirium" by the way. It has stuck with me after finishing it yesterday. Thank you for that!

Daisy Whitney said...

I can drink a glass of wine, toss my dog popcorn and watch Glee at the same time.

Melissa said...

I flip between graduate school work and grading papers. Not quite as exciting as two novels, but functional nonetheless. =)
Daisy, your multitasking cracked me up!

Randi said...

I multi-task just about anything. I listen to audio books and do my job (sometimes facebooking too). I catch up on my blogs, and watch movies, and for the most part, I also do my writing at night while my two year old climbs all over me while a movie is playing, and while I am cooking dinner.

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