Multi-tasking. The word has been bandied about for years. Most women love being identified as one. Most men would die to become one – secretly or not.
By definition, multitasking is the performance of a number of tasks at the same time. And we do it all the time. Chat on the phone while making a sandwich or cooking. On Facebook while watching TV. Parents require the ability to multitask more than other mere humans.
Like parents, writers thrive on the ability to multitask. And that is where the problem often lies. It sometimes rears its head as an insidious form of unconscious procrastination. Haven’t we all run foul of the charms of Facebook, Skype and Internet before when our current WIP is yelling at us that he/she/it needs attention, editing, polishing?
Sure we can Skype while we edit. Or check Facebook while we write the next scene. We writers are lonely, solitary types that crave social interaction. So it should be okay. And certainly, it may be okay too. It just depends on your goals.
Are you writing to finish this WIP? Or are you writing for the sake of writing itself? Getting down to actually performing the one task of writing a novel is often the most difficult task of all. To write, we need to turn the Multitask function off. We need to channel our muse and listen. Then write.
You’ve written the first book haven’t you? No more creative excitement left – just editing and polishing. It’s not new and exciting anymore. So its easy to move on. Or to say sure, I can do both. But it is unfair.
It gets worse. Some writers try to do too many projects at the same time, Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just that each if your WIP’s are like your children. They need singular attention. It’s easy to forget the first draft of your first WIP when you are in the bliss of churning out chapters for your second MS.
And while there are dozens of other ideas zooming around your head like persistent hummingbirds, demanding to be written, turning your attention away from them is worse than telling the hummingbirds to wait. Their time will come.
But for now focus on your baby to whom you have devoted months of hard word, give it the attention it deserves. Because all it takes is a second to miss that special moment when your draft blossoms into a completed MS. A second and it’s gone forever.