Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Creativity: Multitasking the process

Multitask the process of writing
Let's face it, if you are working at a job that you enjoy and that also pays the bills and writing for publication in your free time, than multitasking is probably a necessary evil. I don't advocate the idea of using up every moment for productive result at all times: cleaning house, writing, food preparation, outdoor maintenance, etc., leaving yourself without a moment to sit and relax, read a book, talk silly with someone, enjoy the view, and so on. But if you are in the same situation I and many other writers are, you are squeezing time out of anything not related to work and family.

You are multitasking for your craft during the precious moments you have garnered.

I have my own approach to this process.  When the opportunity to write is present, I do the following:
  • When I am writing a first draft, I focus all my creative energies on that work. For the most part, I won't turn to any other writing until the draft is done.
  • If I am in redraft, everything changes.  (And you are going to see the paradox of this in relation to the first point.) That's when I move about from work to work.
    • I redraft two ways: clarifying what is already written and adding scenes that expand and develop.
    • I plan out my next novel first with Freemind, brainstorming simple hints and ideas I have about plot and character. 
    • Next I break down each scene and enter them into yWriter for later development.
    • I edit the current work that I am preparing for publication.
    • If I have sent out a draft to my beta readers, than I jump into writing my next novel, but...
    • If at any time an idea or needed expansion scene comes to mind for the work that is out for feedback, I'll drop what I am doing and return to that work.
    • I work on cover art, blurbs, make changes to social media backgrounds to reflect new or upcoming publications, and generally organize files.
    • I back up in two other drives (flash and external drives) everything I have going on.
    • If I am beta reading or editing for a writer friend, then I will give over a couple of weeks to that as they arrive.
 What does this look like in real time?  Let me show what last year looked like.
Real time (wish it had time travel button)
  1.  The book I was anticipating publishing had the working title Time 3. It was already drafted to the point that I needed my beta reader to look at it. She had sent me her newest work for beta read and I had just finished with that.  So I sent mine off to her in October.  (My year always starts in September, teacher and all that.)
  2. I then turned to the work that I had in first draft, Time 4, and began refining and adding scenes.  My beta reader anticipated getting her response back by November, but I had told her to take her time fitting it in to her drafting schedule and did not expect it back before December.
  3. Every now and then a flash of concern over a scene would come to mind for Time 3, and I would open it up, make some additions and then return to 4.
  4. December was just around the corner and my beta reader was expecting to get it to me by then. I asked her to delay as things were moving so well on Time 4 that I did not want the tug to redraft (damn near wrenching grasp) that would occur when her comments came back. So she held off sending while I wrote madly on Time 4. 
  5. January, I gave her the go ahead.  
  6. Worked with my beta buddy and husband to come up with a strong title for Time 3. (I now have titles for books I haven't even thought of!)
  7. My mind was beginning to wander onto Time 5, already mapped in Freemind. I started making scene notes in yWriter.
  8. Time 4 was reaching a state of full draft and then I realized where I was ending it was not really the end. Back into mapping, and scene notes to plan out the new ending: Characters! Sometimes they yell, "Hey, we're not done. What about...."  Mine were screaming and waving, and generally making irresistible sense.
  9. March, put Time 3 through another redraft per beta reader inspiration.
  10. April, working on the house and in strode contemporary novel idea.  Amazing what can come to you when you're digging foundation holes for concrete.  Stopped work on Time 3 & 4 to begin mapping, character design and scene planning.
  11. Returned to Time 4.
  12. Still April, sent Time 3 off to a second beta reader.
  13. Returned to Time 4 to develop new ending.
  14. May, received Time 3's new feedback.  And made adjustments to clear up issues.
  15. July put Time 3 through numerous edits: line, content, reverse, search and replace, formatting.
  16. Revised two book covers and updated various necessary sites. Designed cover art for Time 3 and Time 4. Prepared the blurb.
  17. Last day of July published Next Time We Meet (Time 3) on Smashwords and Amazon.
  18. In July, I received a novel to beta read.  I got to it in August. I took a couple weeks to read and draft comments on my friend's book.
  19. August, returned to work on Time 4.
  20. Designed cover art for omnibus three book box set for all books currently published for the Students of Jump series (In Times Passed, No-time like the Present, Next Time We Meet.)
  21. Returned to preparing for the new school year.  I haven't added to any of my ongoing projects since August 11.  Time 4 still has a patchwork ending.  My contemporary fiction idea is barely planned out, and Time 5 is looking a bit bleary eyed.
  22. So in the little bits of time that I have available, I am tweeting, reading, visiting Goodreads and Google+, and blogging.
  23. And since December 2013, my hubby, daughter and I have been building a house.  Roof is going on this month.
  24. But I managed to read three of the Divergent books, two YA books my daughter wanted me to read, all four of Jodi Taylor's St. Mary's books.  Another novel by Taylor.   Connie Willis's Passage, and three other time travel books, both Patterson's Heinlein biographies, and King's On Writing.  So I do relax now and then (hmm, or do research depending on how you look at it). And I tweeted, blogged, found pics for Pinterest, commented....
And how do you run your never-take-a-moment-to-sit-down-and-do-nothing writing?


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