Writing Projects : Working on multiple WIPs at the same time 🧐

I used to be the kind of writer that could only write one single thing at a time. I was convinced there was no other way for me to complete something, because I felt like I couldn’t focus for a long time on a story and thus, ended up with multiple unfinished works. 

[Don’t feel like reading ? There’s a video at the end of the article, so scroll down ;)]

At the beginning of the year 2021, I published a book for the first time, and this changed my vision of writing. I started with something “easy” if I may say, a collection of poems. Let’s be honest, it is easier to put together and quicker to edit than a novel, and as I was very insecure about what I was capable of, I thought it would be better to start easy. My journey back to writing had been tough too, so writing poetry allowed me to get back to writing, small step after small step. When I decided to publish this collection of poems, even before it was completed, it was the first time I allowed myself to take my writings seriously. It was the first time I deemed my words good enough to be published. And when I realized how self-publishing was a true option nowadays, a new hope was born. I decided I really wanted to do it. I’ve always been curious and liked to learn how to do things, so I didn’t have to think much before deciding that I was going to self-publish. I couldn’t wait to hold that book in my hands. So I did it. The first writing project I ever completed in years.

And suddenly, my vision of myself as a writer changed. My self-esteem got better, because I had finally done something concrete, tangible, I had this book in my hands and… That’s when it all became real to me. “You can do it.” became “You did it.” and so… I could finally believe in myself and the fact that I will be able to finish other writing projects as well. 

I had in mind that after this poetry book, I would work on a short stories collection. I already had some stuff I had written over the years, and I thought it would be easy to just develop them and re-write when necessary. Of course it didn’t work out like this (would be too easy). It just didn’t feel right. I write in English now, and my style has changed, and the old stories I had in stock were written in French and were at least a few years old. I couldn’t find the will to rewrite them, I didn’t know how, nothing came. Writer’s block, really. So I ended up putting everything aside, and starting a new short stories collection from scratch.

Apart from that, I started to write a new fanfiction. The last time I wrote fanfiction, I was in middle school. But then during lockdown I watched the animated series again (thanks Netflix), and… I was back into the fandom right away, but with a much more mature approach. Where I had seen a fun storyline when I was a teenager, as an adult I could see the complexity of the scenario, how character’s development could have been pushed one way or another, how well some relationships had been carefully and subtly built… The story touched me on a whole new level, and there was just so much potential to write about. And so I wrote a 35k fanfiction in about 2 months, no pressure, no worries, and it felt so great. I already had a sequel in mind, new ideas coming to mind easily… So I started posting this first part, wondering if people would like it. The fandow was still very active, so I was hoping for a bit of feedback even though I didn’t have many expectations. The reactions blowed my mind. I got amazing comments on the story, people telling me they laughed, giggled, cried… and loved the story. Some called it a masterpiece, and I was left blushing and giggling myself. It encouraged me to write this sequel/second part I had in mind. And I ended up thinking… well after all, many novels were initially fanfictions. Maybe I can do something with this story. Rewrite it so that it becomes an original novel.

So this is how I ended up working on 3 projects/WIP (work-in-progress) at the same time. The next volume in my poetry series, the short stories collection I had planned, and… the unexpected, the fanfiction that I now wanted to turn into a novel.

I have to be honest, it started to make me feel anxious, wondering if I would be able to work on different projects at the same time, and be able to finish them all. I know I’m determined to finish them all, because this time I’m serious about writing, this time I know I can do it because I did it in the past. But I need to be prepared. To have good organization and discipline. So I’m following my writing routine (check this video on how to create yours -> here), and I also made a new plan for my writing projects. It’s a yearly plan, with monthly goals. It’s my first time doing this, but I know it will help me to know where I’m going, and how much I must write per month to achieve my goals. I’m not talking about numbers, because the goal is not to just reach a number of words, the goal is to write the stories I have in mind in the best way possible. So I’m more talking about monthly goals such as “final version of 1 short story” or “final version of 25 poems” or “final version of the first chapter of the novel” (Yes, I prefer to edit as I go, since I tend to get lazy when I have to reread everything.)

I used to be very messy and not reliable at all with my writing. I used to think inspiration was what triggered writing, and nothing else. I thought I could not force myself to write, and thus I was only finding excuses for not writing, saying I was “not in the mood”. As I’m trying to become better, I will keep you updated from time to time, and we will see together if this kind of organization works or not. I’m no better than any other writer, so if I can do it, you can too. Keep in mind that baby steps (= consistency) go a long way.

So far I like to have several projects at the same time actually. It’s easier to feel inspired and/or get started for the day when you’re working on different projects rather than just one. At least one of them will attract you when you sit down to write. Brainstormings and clear outlines help with keeping in mind all the details and stuff you want to put in each project. It’s the first time I’m really trying to do detailed outlines, and I find it amazing. For the fanfiction for example I have notes and bullet points for each chapter I still have to write, and it feels comfortable. I know what I want to absolutely have in each chapter, and it also leaves me a part of freedom to improvise some scenes. And I like that, I feel more confident as a writer now, so fingers crossed that everything works out just fine.

What about you ? How many projects are you working on at the moment ? One, or several ? Feel free to tell me all about it, I’d be happy to chat with my fellow writers !

I wish you all a lovely week, and see you next Wednesday !

Marie.

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