When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. — John Steinbeck
Most writers are intimidated by a blank piece of paper and even more intimidated by having devised a giant outline of a book and not having the confidence to pull it off. I’m not sure that there is any cure for this other than to do as Steinbeck says—just “… write a page and then another.”
It works. I’ve done it. I have a few friends who are much more prolific than I will ever be, and I notice that they usually have more than one outline and more than one book going. I’m not saying it’s good to write a dozen or so books at one time, but I do think that it helps to have more than one project. Here are a couple of reasons I suggest this:
1. Putting all your eggs in one basket. If you are working on just one project, you might feel too much pressure to make it perfect. And what about something to work on when you need a break.
2. Working on more than one project at a time naturally builds in down time for each project. When I leave a project alone for a day or more, I find my mind continues to work on it in subtle ways. By the time I pick the project up again, ideas are usually surfacing that I might not have thought of without the break.
3. Some parts of writing are fun and some aren’t such a great time. When I have more than one piece going at a time, I can often talk myself into sticking with a difficult portion of one, knowing that I can switch to another that’s at a more pleasant point later.
I guess you can see that I’m an advocate of more than one project. How do you work and specifically, how do you keep yourself moving forward in a large piece of work?
Have a great weekend…..