How many projects are too many?

I recently started in on a new project, all for the standard and good and decent reasons.

I’ve decided to write a memoir (ugh, I hate the word!) of sorts on the experience of living with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. One, it’s been eating at me for some time, and I most likely won’t publish it, but I want to externalize the experience, and as a writer, this is how I process. Two, even among individuals with epilepsy, this is a rare form of epilepsy, and in addition my late diagnosis it makes the story even more compelling, and therefore, potentially marketable. So, yes, this is a personal project, and perhaps it’s indulgent, but it simply feels good to do it.

My other projects are more straightforward.

I have The Depths of Memory three book series. The first book, The Dream Sifter, is written and out for query, the second, to be named is halfway done, and the third is outlined roughly. I count this as two open WIP’s. (That’s ‘works in progress to you non-industry folks.)

Then there’s The Chosen Few series. The first book, The Daemon Whisperer is about twenty percent done in rough draft, and the second book, The Madness Path, has a few scenes written. There’s a third book I have rough outlined, but let’s not count it as firm as of yet. So for now, two open WIP’s in this series.

And I had this recent amazing dream which lead to a fully-fledged book idea. A ghost seeking revenge, creepy as all get out. I need to write it as a novella, and then rewrite it as screenplay and see if I can option it. No, seriously. 😉

And when I’m not busy, I’d like to screenplay Ripples. Ohhh, yeah baby.

So yeah, if I can do the maths, I think that’s about seven WIP’s I’m got backlogged. However, there’s only three I’m actively writing on and touching on a weekly basis, and all at different times. I work on the Daemon Whisperer while I’m commuting, and the Depths of Memory sequel in the evenings while I’m home drinking a favorite wine. My thoughts on epilepsy I record on free time over the weekends.

Frankly, sometimes if I get stuck with one story, it’s nice to have another to go flex my muscles on, so I don’t get to feeling stuck in a rut. But, like many writers, I don’t have a problem coming up with ideas, so it’s more an issue of coming up with the time to juggle life and all the writing I’d like to put out there.

What are your thoughts? Are there limits on how many projects a person can reasonably take on? Do you have difficulty jumping from one set of characters or universe to the next? Do you prefer to stick with a series through to the bitter end before starting the next one?

Oh, and most importantly, am I insane for considering sharing my personal insight on epilepsy with the world? Mind you, it won’t be a doctor’s view, just this humans. And bizarre insights, no less.

So, hit me. With your thoughts, comments, etc. Do you keep too many projects on your plate, or just enough?

  6Comments

  1. Hayden   •  

    I’m one who *can’t* have more than one project going at the same time, though when I’m hopelessly stuck, I need to turn my attention elsewhere and not stop writing at all. And when I do, I have to stick to *that* WIP till I’m done.

    Yeah, unfortunately, I don’t do well multi-tasking. XD Two concurrent projects are my ultimate max, though only one is ideal.

    • Candice Bundy   •     Author

      When you turn your attention elsewhere, to get unstuck, how do you do it?

      • Hayden   •  

        I really don’t do much but force myself to face up to certain facts, i.e., that things aren’t working out with one WIP, regardless of all attempts at working it out. I think I normally fight with the project for another week or so before throwing in the towel.

        Then I go through my folder of old short stories or partially written first chapters of potential novels and find something that appeals to me and start tweaking with it.

        Mind you, the guilt of giving up on the first WIP is very strong, and it never goes away. :S

        • Candice Bundy   •     Author

          Oh the upside, it doesn’t have to be forever. I set Depths of Memory aside for about 18 months at one point, and then came back to it fresh, with whole new perspectives, and it definitely improved from the process. I think that’s also why I have multiple WIP’s. Non-linear. 😉 Time away can make the heart grow fonder.

  2. Jesse Walter   •  

    I have at any given time about a dozen projects that are active. I have three times that many sitting unfinished. I believe that when ever I start a project it deserves the passion of the moment to be strong. I also believe that you need to try something to see if it will work, and if it doesn’t there is no need to continue to waste energy on it.

    I think the hardest thing for people to do to get over that is to no get butt hurt if they do not finish something. However we are a culture of plate cleaning, scrap it all up, do it even if you don’t like, miserable, loathsome, repressed people. Happiness is doing what makes you happy.

    • Candice Bundy   •     Author

      Nicely said, Jesse. Sometimes you just have to travel down the road to see if the journey is worthwhile. Sometimes it’s not, and you have to give it up, and sometimes you can come back to it a while later with a fresh perspective too. Either way, the time isn’t wasted, because you’re learning and growing and honing skills.

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