When I was writing fanfiction, it would not have been unusual for me to have about 10 works in progress. People would ask me, how do you manage to keep it straight? And honestly, it does feel like I’m juggling several things at once.
I like to think it’s my training as a journalist. I’m not talking about the degree. Although where that’s concerned, you are juggling many things at once. For instance, when studying, having essays due in the same week.
As a journalist, you’re often writing many different stories at the same time. You’re either waiting for a source to get back to you, or for something else to break in the story. So you have to keep straight what you’re working on.
Sometimes it helps to create lists of what you’re working on. Having a to-do list often helps to keep yourself up-to-date on where you are in each project.
These days it’s a different kind of juggling. I still have the projects I’m working on. But I’m also working full-time. So it’s more a matter of juggling time. And often I’m too tired from a full day of work to focus. Weekends are good for that, though. It’s then deciding which project is your priority.
But what about rest and relaxation, you say?
It’s true that we also need to recharge. But for me, working on my projects is my way of relaxing. It’s my fun. As odd as that sounds.
As for keeping things straight, I often create a plan. In my head, at least. So, I know where I want to go with a story. Just not necessarily how I’m going to get there. That also helps me keep straight what plot I’m working on.
Sometimes it’s just something that comes with practice. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. So that’s over 30 years of practice.
As the old joke goes: How do I get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.