Sometimes, I worry that I am writing too many things at once. I wonder if I would write better books if I stuck to one project at a time. The problem is, I’m not sure I know how to do that.
Currently, I am working on a craft book, a novel for adults, a YA coming of age story and a MG ghost story. I have always done this. I think it may be due to the way I started out as a writer – fitting it in around other things. Back in 1997 when I was first published, I was teaching full time and had young children. Writing was something I did after the marking and lesson planning was done; after dinner was eaten; everyone was bathed and in bed.
Eventually, writing took over as a job. I was earning enough money to pay my bills and so I wrote full time. Instead of doing one project at a time, I wrote strands of things – educational series, non-fiction books and picture books at the same time. It wasn’t confusing, because each project was different. Having different things to write at the same time meant I never got bored; I have never suffered from ‘writer’s block,’ and I think this is partly due to all the ‘changing gear’ that goes on in my head with the variety of projects that I do.
If I grind to a halt on one project, I slip into another. I think this helps me not to ‘over-think’ and force writing, and when I return to the first project I am usually refreshed and can start anew. I know that the ideas keep sifting and composting for each project and not looking at them directly – seeing them in my ‘peripheral writing vision’, if you like – helps problems evaporate. Sometimes one project is dominant in my head and I work furiously on that one for a while and the others fade into the background. It does make me fumble a little when people ask me what I am currently writing though!
Anyway – off to get writing. I have a needle felting craft book about woodland creatures, dryads and faeries to write. Oh – and a story about a Rom girl who is finding it hard to accept her heritage…and a funny book about a woman who accidentally falls in love with a much younger man…and a story about ghosts on the tube…which will bubble up to the surface first?