‘Ping-Ponging’ between projects: Sunday ROW80 check-in

For me, this year is about creating a better writing routine and improving my craft. So I was disappointed that the last couple weeks have been rather slow in the writing department—especially since I was moving at a nice pace previously.

I realize that while I have a drafting routine that works, my revision process is still very much a work in progress. I’m toying with the idea of working on multiple projects at once, that way if I find myself stuck on one WIP, instead of sitting there spinning my wheels and going nowhere, I could spend that time on another project. Often, working on one project helps me solve problems that pop up in another manuscript, so this sounds like a possible solution for me.

In “Revision and Self-Editing,” James Scott Bell calls this “Ping-Ponging”:

Even when you’re working on one primary project, I advise that you have others in the works. When you’re hot and heavy in revision, you can still “ping-pong” between projects. This will spark a different part of your writer’s brain, and when you come back to revise you’ll have fresh insights.

I’m going to take Bell’s advice this week and try adding a new project into the mix.

ROW80LogocopyROW80 check-in

1.) Writing:

  • Goal: Finish the second draft of the novella I finished in Round 1, “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Not much progress to report. Did some planning and organizing and a little line editing on the first chapter. I don’t think I’ll have a completed second draft by the end of this round, but I’d like to be off to a good start.

2.) Read 4 books on the craft/business of writing.

  • 4 of 4 books read. Goal met, but I’m also rereading “Revision and Self-Editing” by James Scott Bell.

3.) Social media:

  • Check in on Twitter daily. Met for three out of five days. Took Monday off and missed Thursday.
  • Comment on 3-5 blogs per day, Monday-Thursday. Took Monday off; goal met for other three days.
  • Blog 2 times a week. Target met.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

What about you? Do you work on multiple projects at once, or do you prefer to work on one at a time?

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11 thoughts on “‘Ping-Ponging’ between projects: Sunday ROW80 check-in

  1. I’ve lived a life of swirling creation. I can’t have only one thing happening. My brain needs options, catalysts, disparate ingredients all simmering together into a rich stew.

    I need lots. And then more. Lots of input, and lots of outlets.

    Sometimes, lots of time to ponder and feel and noodle around and do not-visibly-creative things for a while, too..

    Oddly, I have been thinking about plotting, drafting, and revision myself, the past few days, and reaching a similar conclusion. I am newest to revision, and feel the least secure with it. I’ve just been thinking of ways to ease the loominess (yup, just invented that word!) of it.

    I may be checking out that book in Round 3!

    • “I’ve lived a life of swirling creation.” — What a beautiful way to put it. I think I’ll do better having a couple projects to go back and forth on; it creates a creative safety net in case I falter on one project.

      I definitely have some revision jitters that I’m trying to overcome, and I find arming myself with know-how helps! If you’re looking for books about revision, in addition to James Scott Bell’s book, you could also try “Rock Your Revisions” by Cathy Yardley. I’ve found both to be helpful.

  2. I don’t think I ever have just one thing going on. I’m actively working on GRANDMA (in edits), MEOW (rough draft in progress), and DREAM (rough draft in progress). I have 2 works in the chiller (set aside to decide their fates later).

    But, I can relate to your pace issue. I do edit a 100 times slower than I draft. It was just something that is and I can’t seem to change. It can get under my skin, but thanks to other projects, I can redirect my focus and keep from getting too angsty about it.

    Keep working hard at those goals!

    • I like your approach. It sounds like most people have more than one project going at a time. I’m going to try shifting away from a one-project focus to the “Ping-Ponging” method and see if that helps.

      It’s good to know I’m not the only one who revises more slowly than she writes. That makes me feel better. Thanks, Gloria!

  3. I’ve tried working on just one thing at a time, and just…can’t. I have 4 different projects I’m working on this month. 2 1st drafts, 1 in revisions, and 1 in the plotting stages.

    Good luck with your goals.

  4. Because of all the other things on the go, my primary writing project is “the other one.” 😀
    I love your goal of reading skills development books. I have lots. I just have to commit more time to digging in. Plus, I’m going to a writers’ conference next week, so I’m thinking I just may come home with more – not to mention the three that should be arriving from Amazon any day. 🙂
    All the best as you make the final push for Round 2.

    • I feel like I learn so much from the writing books I read. The trick is finding time to digest all of that information and to do the writing exercises each author suggests. I don’t do every exercise from every book, but it helps to find exercises that focus on areas that need improving so I can grow as a writer.

      Thanks, Steph! Enjoy your conference!

  5. I used to focus strictly on one project at a time, but earlier this year, I got blocked on one and discovered that the way to beat the block was to switch to something else. I’m still working out the details of the first project in my head, but I expect to be ready to go back to it when the current project is done.

    I haven’t tried that with revision, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work as well. One resource you might want to check into is Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course. It’s not cheap, but sooooo worth it–it took my writing to the next level. Good luck!

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