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« The Beta Club: The Face of a Lion (Middle Grade) - Come Critique! | Main | Face Off Friday: Should You Query a First Novel?* »

Are You a Monogamous Writer or Do You Cheat?


I'm typically a one-WIP girl.  My mind gets completely immersed in one story, and I don't have reserves to concentrate on anything else at the same time.  But recently, I've found myself hopping back and forth between two.  My erotic romance is on the front burner and is the one I'm actively writing.  However, my crit group is critting my first few chapters of my second book in the Wanderlust series (Constant Craving) right now, so I'm having to pay attention to that one as well.  And eventually, they are going to hit my chapter five, which is the point I've written to, and will be encouraging me to get to writing the rest of the book.


So I'm kind of maintaining a primary relationship with my WIP, while having a bit of action on the side with the other manuscript.  :)  And that's hard for me.  I know a lot of you can regularly juggle a number of different stories, but I'm not sure how you do it.

So I'm curious to hear how (and if) you balance that.

Do you work on one until you get stuck, then jump to the other?  Do you allot a certain amount of time for each one?  Do you just work on the one that is inspiring you the most that day?  Or, are you like me and try to completely finish one before starting another?

Oh, and speaking of cheating (at least fictionally), I went to the 30 Seconds to Mars concert this weekend and got this close to Jared Leto *swoon*.  A man has to be seriously hot to be able to pull off a pink mohawk, but he does it.  Just thought I'd share because I know I'm not the only one who shares the crush.  (For the record, the concert was really great, too.)




**Today's Theme Song**
"Your Cheatin' Heart" - Patsy Cline
(player in sidebar, take a listen)


Reader Comments (36)

I usually try and finish one before starting another. Recently I was working on one while doing agent revisions on another and even that almost broke my brain. I'm def a monogomous type of writer.:)

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Walkup

I stay the course with one at a time. does going back to a "finished" WIP count as cheating? I let mine sit while I start the other, and then re-visit.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJm Diaz

I am a one WIP girl all the way!

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I'm a "cheater." I get so excited about so many different projects that I work on them all at once. Unfortunately, this makes for slow going. But my writing process typically goes this way:

- Get pumped about multiple projects.
- Outline and start multiple projects.
- Get tired of all of them, except one.
- Finish the lone survivor.

At this point, I'm writing one and occassionally editing another. So does that really count as "cheating"? It's like I'm trying to be friends with my ex, and my new interest doesn't get jealous of the ties I still have to the original. :)

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKM

i'm pretty monogamous - otherwise i wouldn't get anywhere and nothing would get done.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFalen

I find that if I don't make myself concentrate on one, I will leave it when the going gets tough.

That being said, I always am wary when I start hearing the siren call of a new story...and I just heard it this weekend. In these cases, I start sneaking a page here and there, a few hundred words. Before I know it, I've drafted half a story. This works out well because I won't let myself work on it until I'm done with the current one.

I talk as if this happens all the time when in fact it's only happened twice.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSierra Godfrey

At first I worked exclusively on my first novel, but then I heard about all these great short story contests and online lit mags that I could submit work to. So I've decided to have an "open" relationship with my first manuscript so that I can send some short stories out too.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeurotic Workaholic

I was totally exclusive with my first ms, but now I'm working on my second, I'm rewriting my first at the same time.

Plus I get scenes from future books popping into my head, so I tend to write them out as they come to me. Hopefully by the time I officially start my next ms, I'll already have 50,000 words of it written.

Or maybe not.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

I used to be a cheater, but then I realized that I was blurring the lines too much between projects (protagonist from X project acting and reacting like protagonist in Y project would)....

So now I'm monogamous.


I do make exceptions for projects I'm writing for fun and don't necessarily expect to publish any time soon. :)

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine Kariaxi

I love cheating. In fact, I think it's healthy. If I work on one story for too long, I become too attached and my perspective gets all muddled. Basically, my storytelling skills get shot. Recently, for example, I stopped writing all together because I was getting tired of my main WIP (after only a month, mind you). A few days later, I figured out that what I needed to do was to start writing something different.

It's important to keep up that daily writing momentum because, at least for me, once it's gone, it takes forever to get back. In order to maintain my writing muscles, I exercise every day. And if I can't continue working on a single story, that's fine. As long as I'm writing something.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdooblabox

I have only written one novel so I'm not sure. But so far I can definitely only concentrate on one at a time.

I've written a first page or two of a couple of other half-baked ideas ... but nothing as cool as the ONE.

Besides revising and blogging take up too much time.

Oh and Roni, I saw your comment about my comment, and I will let you know if I want to change the piece for Beta Club, thanks!

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Rush

Jared Leto, wow. Loved him in My So Called Life. I'm all about monogamy, but I definitely make notes on other maybe I'm a flirt? ;)

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Ah, see, this question implies that I have more than one idea at a time.

I don't.

I have one idea and I'm milking it for all it's worth, because I might never have another one.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine H

I generally have more than one going, but I focus on one at a time. Like, for example, I will finish the first draft of one and set is aside to write another one. When that first draft is done, I'll return to the first to edit it. But bouncing back and forth while the story is incomplete is really hard for me to do, I think.

I don't know who that guy is (never heard of this band), but he looks totally hot in that pink mohawk.

I can only have one work in progress on the go at a time, but I will often be rewriting a completed MS at the same time. The first requires most of my creativity, while the second is more clean up work, which is why that works for me.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawnB

Carolina, he's an actor and lead singer for the band. Most people know him from the tv show My So-Called Life back in the 90s. He's also been in a good number of movies: Requiem for a Dream, Panic Room, etc.

Interesting way to look at it. I'd say I'm monogamous but that's only with dating people. I don't use the same analogy for my books cause I can rarely focus on just one. If I did use a similar analogy, I'd say I'm polyamorous with my novels. It's not cheating because they all know and accept it. lol

The longest I can focus on a single book is one month when doing nanowrimo and similar activities. I have too many ideas that want to be written to work on just one book at a time. Right now I've got one in rewrite, one finished but hasn't been re-read, and about 3 or more in the first draft stage(not even same genres).

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Embers

I have a cheating heart but I make myself focus on one at a time. I feel my writing is stronger this way. However, I do go back and forth. If I hit a low point or I'm done with a draft, I set it aside for a while. Revisions are better with fresh eyes in my opinion.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz H. Allen

Although other ideas may pester me, I have found I can only work on one thing at a time, long or short. So...I've very monogamous.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBish Denham

I stay on one until I hit revisions; then I cheat.

I've put all three novels on the back burner while I've been working on some short stories, but I can only do one of those at a time too.

At first I thought that was because I was afraid of getting the voices mixed; but now I'm thinking its just laziness on my part. Once I'm in a work, I'm totally focused on it, and know what needs done, and who's story I'm writing.

That surprised me. I only found out I could do that by writing 2 shorts at the same time, and beta reading. The problem isn't keeping all the stories straight, its taking the energy to refocus; to dive deeply into whatever world and characters I feel like working on at the time.

I'm envious of people who can flit back and forth at will though. Those who can keep up a constant word count on several projects. I get so overwhelmed with the decision of which to immerse myself into I end up doing nothing at all.


May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Hole

I used to be monogamous, but now I find my brain going in many different directions, so any time I get an idea for something not on the WIP, I file it in my personal wiki for later.

I have been tempted to cheat lately, though, so I guess we'll see. The current WIP is first-person, present tense, and the narrator has a specific style of speech, so she currently has my full attention.

If I do cheat, it'll be with a completely different project that stretches my muscles.


May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMoira Young

Oh man, Roni, I'm totally in your boat. When I'm on a WIP I am immersed, and whenever I have thoughts about another story idea I just jot down a few paragraphs and force myself back to the story at hand. If I let my mind move into another story I feel like I lose all of my momentum on the primary WIP. My hat is off to you (I'm not actually wearing a hat, but I wish I were).

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJEM

I'm definately a one WiP girl. I'm too involved with my characters to cheat. I have wandered my eye to some of the other ideas that are brewing (I've given them a peck on the cheek) but I couldn't commit to them until I'm finished with my current baby.
Cute post!

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Danek

So far monogamous. Might have to cheat, though, if one gets published while I'm working on another.

I cheat with my reading. I'll read four or five books at a time, depending on which one is closest, or the one in the car, or grab the one by the couch.

- Eric

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEric W. Trant

I'm monogamous until I get stuck. Then I jump to something else until I get unstuck.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPiedmont Writer

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