August 27th, 2005
Loose Tooth

I swear some projects that I’ve left dangling are worse than loose teeth. They constantly irritate me no matter how hard I try to ignore them. Obviously, the simple answer would be to finish them and then forget them. Trouble is there are too many of them aching for my attention.

I find myself building lists to manage them all. I have my ‘current project’ list, my ‘submission list’, and finally my mammoth ‘someday maybe’ list. You’d think since I put most of the loose teeth on the ‘someday maybe’ list they’d stop wiggling, but they don’t. I might as well have them on my ‘current project’ list, since they’re occupying so much of my time.

How do you get your projects organized? How do you ignore the projects you aren’t working on? If you don’t, how do you deal with all the mental clutter? I would REALLY like to know. My head hurts just thinking about it.

28 comments to “Loose Tooth”

  1. I currently work on three projects, plus my first attempt in Dire Need of a Thorough Revision. I have four more in my backlog files where I only add research snippets I come across and dabble a bit with the very basic first outlines. Projects that never went anywhere (I can’t write Fantasy and SciFi as I found out after several fruitless months of playing around) I one day deleted in order to get them out of my brain. All other plotbunnies are kept in a cage and are forbidden to complain. 🙂

  2. I don’t know, but if you ever figure out the answer please do let me in on it!

  3. Gabriele, It sounds like you juggle several projects at once. Good for you! I tried doing that, but I never got anything finished. :-/

  4. Jaid, Will do. 😀

  5. I have this trunk, see, and I lock my not-your-turn characters in it…; ) I mostly keep my brain organized by writing everything down. If I get a brilliant idea, I create a folder for it in the proper spot and put in research notes, scenes, whatever. Then I know I’m not going to lose anything by leaving it until I can work on it. By the time I go to work on a project it’s had time to marinate and I’ve got all the background I need to get started.

  6. I have no problem ignoring everything but the story I’m working on. I have a bigger problem trying to do two things at once, or even trying to think about two things at once. My brain just isn’t wired that way.

  7. Charlene, I think I need your trunk. I do create file folders for the other story ideas and will write down any scenes that come to mind, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to please ‘them’. (wg)

  8. Amy, I’m a pretty decent ‘multitasker’, but I don’t like how SLOW everything goes when I do that.

  9. Organized? We’re supposed to be organize? ::blink::

  10. LOL@plotbunnies! I love it Gabriele!

    I have No CLUE! Right now I have a novella nearly done, with two more to go with it, a chick lit I’m 100 pages into with 5 pages on the sequel that I wasn’t supposed to start until next year, another novella started for LSB and and and and and…..I can’t work on more than one thing at a time. At. All. I get less than nothign done.

    I think my real life is so chaotic that that’s why I can’t work on more than one WIP at a time (more chaos).

  11. Cece, plotbunnies are evil creatures. They look all cute and fluffy, but they have teeth. 🙂

    Jordan, my three projects are somewhat connected. Storm over Hadrian’s Wall takes place in Roman Britain (mostly in the north) around 122 AD, The Charioteer takes place in Roman Britian (north and south) and Rome in 408-10 AD, and the culture on both sides of the Wall has not significantly changed during time. Endangered Frontiers is about the Visigoths in Italy 408-10 AD and shares the historical background as well as some minor characters with The Charioteer. So it’s about the same research for all three which makes things easier.

    And I have the attention span of a gnat; I like to switch between projects. *grin*

  12. Jaq, I’m not sure about you, but I have to get organized. 😉

  13. Cece, I can’t work on more than one thing at a time because I can’t stand only getting a few pages done on each project. I know Paperback Writer talks about doing double duty with research. (ie using the same research for more than one book) Unfortunately, right now, that won’t work for me either.

  14. Gabriele, That’s cool that you can tie them together that way. I tend to write such varying things that there’s no way I can do that.

  15. I’m not in the least organized. Being an official Panic Writer, I wait until I’m desperate about being late, and then I…well, panic. Yeah, so that’s helpful.

  16. Oy! I think Larissa did something a bit similar a while back…it was about partial projects. I was shocked when I listed how many I had started (books that are still waiting to be finished). Somehow writing them all down in a row made it sound SO much worse. LOL! Basically, for me, until I really get into a groove on a book, I might go back and forth between a couple of stories. But once I really get going on a story, I CAN’T work on anything else until I finish it! 🙂

  17. I’m having trouble deciding HOW to do the next project – adult book or young adult book. I’d REALLY love to try a young adult book. Just not sure if it’ll work out. But I try to work on only one thing at a time. But since you’re a writer whose editors are tapping their foot and waiting, I don’t know how you do it! Major pat on the back for you!

  18. So far, I’m doing good with this. I’ve created a little sheet of projects that first lists what I’ve completed, then what I want to do next and in what order. The only problem is, I have two different lists because I didn’t have the first one at my fingertips, so I started the second one before I lost ideas. Now, I just need to incorporate the two. Hope I can keep up this system and go through and complete projects in their entirity one at a time. But for some reason, I don’t think this is going to be the case.

  19. Lists are a PITA. I make ’em and lose ’em. So I got the not-so-bright idea to buy the stackable trays which I then labeled with the ms titles so I could keep track of crits, submissions, yada-yada. I started with four. What was I thinking??? I’ve doubled the number and I hope the shelf they’re hulking on doesn’t fall off the wall and clunk me. SO, if you find a way to keep the teeth tight, lemme know!

  20. Jo, Yes, quite helpful. 😉

  21. Patrice, That’s pretty much what’s happened to me. I looked at my list and froze like a deer in headlights.

  22. Trace, I say you go for the YA. As for my editors, LOL, no one is waiting for me to do ANYTHING.

  23. Cherlyn, I tried doing that. It worked okay for awhile, until I had edits turn up. I’ve discovered, much to my disdain, that I cannot switch gears smoothly. It takes me about two weeks to get back into writing after I do edits on a different book. My head goes ‘wait a minute, I thought we were working on this story’ followed closely by ‘I’m out of here’. LOL!

  24. Jan, I have an office stackable slot file system in the closet next to my desk, which holds 24 slots. I’ve labeled every slot. It doesn’t matter how many slots you have it always continues to grow. Of course, we’re not even talking about my filing cabinets. :-/

  25. Hmm… I don’t organize them. I just keep all my work in separate diskettes. One diskette per story. If I start one and don’t finish it, well, that’s that. If I happen to come up with something for that story, then I insert the diskette, open the file and write. *lol*

  26. Stackable slot file system?? Jordan, you make me feel so unorganized. I’m lucky if I write an idea down lol. I think I need to tighten up and you need to loosen up…and let’s meet in the happy (or less insane) middle. I have one story that’s been floating in my head for about a decade…still haven’t written a word of it 😛

  27. Silma, I wish I could look at my files of work that way.

  28. Jaid, LOL! You’re probably right about the loosening up. Point me in the direction of the middle. 😉 As for keeping stories in my head, I’d forget everything if I didn’t write it down. (And no, I’m not kidding.) I don’t remember crap anymore.