Multi-project Meltdowwwwwwn

You know how it goes. You have this excellent idea and you go with it, until you hit a roadblock and it is easier for another idea to take precedence over the first one. You do this enough times and suddenly you have twenty great ideas out there but none of them are even close to completion.

(I get all my great analogies from talking to Charles.) So there you are, standing in a wading pool with a ski on one foot and a roller skate on the other, wearing a pair of boxer shorts and a parka. What is the answer to this great conundrum?

1. Remember to breathe.

2. Decide which project is the most important.

3. Decide which project fits into your schedule and your lifestyle.

This is not to say that you cannot be a successful multi-tasker. Many authors have the ability to write multiple things at the same time, whilst still marketing and managing life, but even then, how much time do you devote to writing vs. marketing? Do  you edit one book whilst writing the next or do you keep those projects separate?

Answer: (Not helpful at all)

It depends on the person. There is no simple end-all-be-all answer for the above questions. Each person deals with stress differently and handles multiple projects in their own way. The thing to remember, in my opinion, the thing that is the most important, is that you do not overextend yourself to the point where the quality of your work suffers on all accounts.

Great ideas do not usually have time limits. (I was going to invent the wheel but some other person did that first.)

Has this happened to you? Have you gotten involved in so many things that you can’t decide which of them are important to your original cause and which of them are just distraction? Comment box below.

* Additional note, I had a point to this post but somewhere along the way I lost what it was, likely because I am trying to write a review, answer emails, send out an author interview, write my shopping list, talk on the phone, quiet a dog barking, keep four kids entertained, figure out what’s for dinner tonight, feed  fish, fix a broken watch, read wordpress posts and write my next novel.

Thankfully i don’t distract easily…Hey look! A squirrel!

Case and point.

 

** Additional note, I blame you English Muffin.

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54 thoughts on “Multi-project Meltdowwwwwwn

  1. I will accept that blame, but also offer my apologies for the distraction. I love this post. I often find myself in a similar situation. So many things to do that I rarely get the satisfaction of completing anything to the standard that I really want. I am not sure of the solution, but am interested in seeing other peoples opinions.

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  2. If only you could find a picture to go with that analogy, but that would be another task on that epically long list. I love how you mention that a great idea doesn’t have a time limit. A lot of people have to realize this. If the idea doesn’t stick around until you have the time then it was ephemeral and might never have taken a true form.

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  3. This is me! I have so many things going round that I have no idea which to do first. Trouble is, I KNOW that I should sit down and work out which is important as per your excellent advice.. however I just end up faffing and procrastinating and getting to the end of the day without having achieved much of anything. I think I even have a list of lists! Great post Ionia, good luck with all your multi tasking projects! 🙂

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  4. Well given that it is Sunday, which is my silly day, my only comment on the wading pool is that “it deep ends”!

    Seriously though, you struck a nerve by combining the creative aspect with the marketing one. So many experts will tell you that you will need to spend 80% of your time on the marketing. As an independent talent, I’d say double that.

    I’m one of those that can’t just turn a switch and move from the business stuff to the creative, though I always have so much swirling around, creatively. Undoubtedly every writer’s circumstances are unique, so there really is no cookbook solution to this conundrum. Yes, “balance” is important, but also very elusive.

    I suppose the one thing all writers need, except for a handful, is awareness that each of us exists, and more importantly that our books exist. That is an enormous task for someone like me, who relies entirely on the internet to gain awareness. If I wrote non-fiction there is certainly a book in that, though there are already tons of them out there, and it is no surprise that many of them seem to be doing very well.

    Now it’s time to check my G+ and emails and Twitter…by the way, is your squirrel any good for tweeting? If not, then nuts to her! 🙂

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      • You silly lady. I see you know nothing about what lady squirrels like – she’s probably waiting for to switch channels and put on their lost hero. You can find him here, on this now-old western!

        Back to the pool now!

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  5. HaHa! Like everyone else at this time of year my ski is caught in the rim of the wading pool! “Remember to breathe”
    is the the best thing I have read this morning while I was impersonating a tasmanian devil. You also reminded me to laugh.:)

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  6. It is quite obvious that an English Muffin is your cryptonite. This is what you must do – put your cape on, fly to your fortress of solitude and meditate!!! Avoid any and all muffins and you should be good!!

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  7. I’ve been thinking of this very issue lately. For the past two years I’ve been really strict about only working on one first draft at a time but I’ve set some really lofty goals for 2014 and have decided to try working on more than one first draft at once. Just the thought alone gives me terrible anxiety but I won’t know if I could potentially increase my output if I never try anything new. If it starts to effect my sanity and overall health though I’ll definitely go back to only biting off as much as I can chew but I’m excited to test how good of a multi-tasker I can potentially be.

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  8. The holiday season contributes to all of the chaos in living life these days. Letting the great ideas simmer and seeing what rises to the top over the long haul seems to help. If it was not important enough to command my undivided attention from the start, it may not have been an idea worthy of pursuit after all.
    Squirrel eating muffin! Kill two distraction birds with one stone.

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  9. (You don’t mean the MacGuffin?) I’d be a millionaire with my square tire company, if not for that dratted wheel. I’ll have to settle for squirrel power. 🙂 I sure am glad that I don’t have to remember to breathe, or my dilemma about what to do would have ended long ago. Just do everything and do it well, and everything that you don’t get done can wait until later. This saves you the time of deciding. Ha ha, but that’s kind of how it works out when you have tons of ideas and love to write and market.

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  10. Have I told you how much I admire you? You work so hard and at the end of the day you do accomplish what you set out (maybe not in the order). Wish I could be more like you. Hope you’re doing well.

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  11. Yes, I’m so in touch with this feeling at the moment – balancing a busy day job with writing, blogging and trying to get enough sleep, LOL! For me it seems to lead to depression, and ennui, and then to laziness…and as I can’t be lazy at my work I tend to be extra lazy at everything else! I have no answers to the conundrum, but I have fellow feeling for you in this at least!! 🙂 🙂

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  12. Like you, I’m usually juggling a jillion things at once. That’s just how we roll, right? My downfall is I sit down to write in the middle of all this and get so caught up in it I tend to forget everything else. That’s why I often burn dinner. I’ll be writing away and then…“Do I smell something? Ah, yes, I need to add the sense of smell into this scene. Oh wait, I do smell something! Ah hell! There goes dinner…”

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