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October 24, 2012


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I think that it may be a mistake to ignore the siren calls of the WIP on the side, and chain yourself to the main WIP. Struggling to complete one manuscript before starting another sounds sensible and praiseworthy, but creativity is a fragile flower, requiring to be nurtured and wooed ...... its a dilemma!

Donna,I think that your method of appeasing the siren with notes is good, but I would try to structure the writing time, allowing a period each week for brain storming where anything is allowed, including the WIP on the side. After a while your mind will become trained to concentrate on the main task most of the time, knowing that a time for letting off creative steam is only a short wait away.

It worked for me when I was an industrial scientist. I was paid to work on various projects and structured my time accordingly. Usually the change of topic was refreshing and allowed the creative juices of the 'passive projects' to continue fermenting in the subconscious, maturing into wine to be tasted when the appropriate time returned!

Remember the old phrase 'All work on the WIP with no play on the side makes Donna a dull girl' ..... not that you could ever be dull! *smile*

Mae Clair

You've definitely hit on something that most writers go through, Donna. Repeatedly, LOL!

I think it comes down to the method that works best for the individual. I used to hop around when the siren WIP came calling but now, like you, I jot notes and tell myself it will be a reward/treat when I'm through. I've learned discipline over the last several years as a writer, working on a single project at a time. It's taught me to work through the tough spots when a story stalls.

On the other hand, I have friends who juggle multiple WIPs at once and love writing that way.

As always, great post! :)

Donna Cummings

Q, completely agree with "all work on the WIP" makes Donna dull girl. Not to mention a cranky one. LOL Whenever a story becomes "work", it's natural that our creative muse is going to want to play. That's why I can usually appease it with the promise of getting to do something fun later--taking notes or letting my brain drift off during breaks--all of that helps, as you said.

And creativity can be a bit fragile! Or at least it seems that way since it comes and goes, without a real link to effort or determination sometimes. It's no wonder writers are an odd bunch. LOL Now give me some of that wine you mentioned. :)

Donna Cummings

Mae, you're so right -- we all have methods that work best for us. And then when we have it all figured out, it changes up again. LOL I also think the temptation of the new WIP strikes when the story stalls -- as you mentioned -- and that's when tough love is called for, so we don't run away.

I tend to have another story always brewing in the background while I'm working on the WIP. That's why I like to take notes, so I don't miss any good stuff. :)


Great post! In fact, after writing a very lengthy comment, I decided you've inspired a blog post for my own blog. LOL! I think the pros and cons of each method (one story start to finish or multiple stories written simultaneously) are very interesting. I'm just glad we don't HAVE to choose one way or we can change (and change back again) as we see we need to down the road.

Donna Cummings

Melissa, I can't wait to read your blog post! I love that I inspired it. :) There are definite pros and cons to each method -- and I'm with you, I'm glad we can choose the one that works for us each time. Because I know for me it's never the same thing each time. LOL


Great post - I usually make a few notes in a new Word document and add to it if the new WIP is really persistent. It's so tempting to abandon the old one...

Donna Cummings

Linda, thanks for stopping by! It IS tempting to abandon the old WIP, especially if it is being cantankerous. But then I can end up with so many half-finished projects. I like to put the notes in a new Word doc too, and then come back and see what I wrote. It's usually a huge surprise. LOL

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