Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Writing Multiple Novels at Once
I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer.
A ‘shoot for the stars’ type of person. Pointing this out does feel a little redundant nevertheless, I confess, I’m a tad ambitious. After making this confession, it may come as no surprise to you that I’m attempting to write multiple novels at the same time. I guess right now you’re wondering if it’s possible to write multiple books at once.
This blog post was never intended to be a how-to style article; but instead, a reflection of the failures and successes in my journey to writing multiple novels at once.
How do I define writing multiple books at once?
Firstly, it’s important to define what writing means for me. When I think about writing a book, I include the entire writing process from idea to launching a novel on an online retailer. For me, this is writing. The initial creation phase is as much writing as getting my butt in a chair and ‘writing the first draft.’
I want to be clear that I’m not superhuman writing several first drafts at once.
Now, that you understand how I define writing multiple novels, it’s time to discuss my five writing projects and where they are at in the writing process.
Press Night is a short story featuring Sophie Baker. It’s in the fleshing out the story idea into a synopsis phase of the writing process. I came up with the idea to create a series of short stories featuring the supporting cast of the thriller novels. The James Lalonde series has a strong cast of supporting characters and a rich world beyond James’ story line. I love writing these characters so much that I decided to create a mini series of short stories titled Byline.
Missing is a novella in the completed outline phase. It has a well-developed story idea and a smaller cast of characters. It’s a novella within the James Lalonde series. In terms of timeline, the events of this book trigger James’ resignation as editor of the Northampton Tribune and lead him along the path to New York. Before I start writing the first draft of this novella, I will revise the outline one more time. I want to make sure that I learn from my previous mistakes.
Silence is a shorter novel and the prequel to Immunity. The Novel is in the completed first draft phase, and I’ve just completed the first-ever read through. I’ve added room for extra scenes and noticed this novel has a few plot issues. I won’t go into too much detail here. If you’re curious, then check out this blog post, where I discuss why you might not want to write a book in thirty days. I attempted to do this with this novel and learned some interesting lessons in the process.
Immunity is a 100,000-word novel that is in the revision stage. I’ve almost finished writing the extra scenes for the book, and I’m about to perform another read-through. This process may sound a little exhausting but, I will probably go through several more read-throughs and drafts before passing the novel off to beta readers, and eventually an editor. As I’ve started multiple projects, it’s become clear that I want to create a quality product for my readers. I’m not interested in half-arsing or creating a minimum viable product. My name is going to be plastered across the front of this book, and I don’t want to give people another reason to think self-publishing means bad quality.
The next novel I started to write is titled Abscess. The novel is in the outline phase. This novel doesn’t have well-developed characters other than the series regulars. I had to stop working on this book after I changed the ending to Immunity. This new ending may mean this book might end up being the third or fourth book in the series. It depends on the timeline and whether my alpha readers believe the plot is plausible.
So those are the five writing projects I have spinning on my plate. I know it’s a lot. So, let’s get started and discuss my successes and failures; after all, this is why you’re reading this blog post.
The Mistakes I made
Mistake #1 – Not Setting a Time Frame
Mistake #2 – Not Doing the Most Important Things First
Mistake #3 – All Work and No Play
What I got right
Win #1 – Write One First Draft at a Time
Win #2 – Setting a Realistic Publishing Schedule
‘Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’ – Bill Gates
Win #3 – Thinking Long Term
Win #4 – Becoming More Self-Aware
My Biggest Takeaways
- Set a deadline (as if you didn’t see this one coming.)
- Manage multiple projects at different stages.
- Consider how writing multiple novels at once will affect your writing career long-term. Can you sustain this level of productivity? Or, are you putting yourself at risk of burn out?
- Schedule in life events and regular breaks not just work. I know this seems obvious but, if you’re over ambitious like I am, it can be easy to lose sight of these things.
As always, I have an important question to ask you. Are you considering writing multiple novels at once? Which one of these tips did you find most helpful? I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you for listening, reading, commenting and sharing with such enthusiasm.
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