I don’t know about you, but there was a time when, if asked, I would have said that I’d rather work on a project at a time, thank you very much.
And it would have been true, I think: start something, work on it, bring the first draft to completion, then revise as much as it takes – and only when that is done, start on something else. Or, if not quite done, at least set aside for the foreseeable future… because, well, through the years I’ve grown a good deal better at finishing what I start – but I won’t pretend my hard-disk isn’t littered with provisional drafts, half-shaped attempts, and unfinished things in general. Isn’t yours?
Still, that was once. Now… now things have changed a good deal. Projects have acquired a way of coming fast, and not even on each other’s tail – no: they come in twos, threes, and any combination one can imagine. The first draft of something and the revision of something else; a Nth draft together with a challenge like Story-a-Day, two first drafts together, yet another reworking of an old play with a short story, some copy, and something new entirely – just for the fun of it…
Sometimes it just happens like that, sometimes you just can’t say “no”, sometimes you go looking for it.
I’ve spent the whole of August working on The Sound of Wings, my new one-act play, in the mornings, and on Road to Murder in the afternoons and evenings, with a few small things thrown in now and then, and a certain amount of minor research on the go… Now the play has been accepted, and we’ll start rehearsals on Friday – so add that to the mix, together with the school starting again, with its classes, meetings and whatnot, and someone else’s book launch, and a stint as a tour guide in a local country house… And I know, it may not look like a break-neck rhythm exactly – but it is something that, only a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I could do.
And the best part is, I not only can, but this way, but I love it, and I get a good deal more done and finished. So it would seem that this many-faced apparent chaos suits me quite well: productive, highly satisfying, and a bane to my old friend, procrastination. You could say that I deal better with a flock of geese rather than a single bird.
I suppose that, just as the saying goes for tastes, there is no accounting for where one finds efficiency…
But what about you, o Readers? How do you like your geese? Do you like to focus on one project at a time? If so, are you able to do so? Or do you prefer to work on several projects at once? If so, how did you found out?