When a List is the Solution

It’s no secret that I have a lot of WIPs. So many that at times it makes my head spin. Sometimes I’ll write a few pages of a story and realize that it’s not going anywhere, and I’m okay with setting those stories aside indefinitely. But I have a number of projects begging for revision, or stories with a lot of potential that I’m determined to finish.

That’s where the almighty list comes in. I’ve created a list with four categories: stories that are finished (only one in that column so far, soon to be two), stories to be revised, stories with uncompleted first drafts, and stories that may or may not be completed.

My goal, then, is to go from one category to another. So first, I’ll revise a story from the “stories to be revised” list, and then finish an uncompleted tale. And, of course, along the way new stories will pop up, and I’ll try to make room for those, too.

A midweek ROW80 check-in…

Writing: Honestly, there’s not much to report so far. I finished a read-through of The Faerie Key. I don’t want to make major changes to it at this stage, but there’s one scene that needs a little bit of work before it’s ready. I’ve uploaded a number of my WIPs to my Kindle for read-throughs. I’m not sure I’ll finish everything I set out to do this week, but hopefully I can at least finish a draft of Autumn Ember.

Reading: I’m currently reading Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn. She writes these wonderful, fast-paced stories featuring kick-butt heroines, and I’m enjoying the story so far.

Click here to check in with fellow ROW80 participants.

What about you? Do you work on multiple projects at once? If so, how do you balance them?

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18 thoughts on “When a List is the Solution

  1. I don’t work on lots of projects; I play with them! It makes a huge diference in my mindset, I have a list in the form of a bulletin board – which I’ve mostly been ignoring. Maybe one of next monh’s goals will be to update that, and get in the habit of using it.

    Best of luck with your new plan!

    • I tried using a white board, but I ended up posting inspirational quotes, poems, articles, etc. on it instead of using it to keep track of my goals. But hey, that works too.

      Thanks, Shan Jeniah!

      • That does work! I have a smaller ribbon memo board I found at a thrift store that I do the same thing with.

        The bulletin board is full sized, canvas covered, and comes from the day care where I used to teach. I covered it with turquoise wrapping paper, and categories for the status of projects….when I do update it, I’ll share current pictures.

      • I’d love to see photos. I think having a visual like that can be very encouraging. For me, moving stories from to the “finished” column is motivating, but I have a hard time letting go of stories because, as any writer knows, they’re never really “finished.” There’s always something else we can change.

  2. I thought I was the only one with a stack of WIPs that needed attention. I like the idea of a list. At the moment I have a pile of paper I just push around. Good luck this week.

    • I tend to find stacks of paper overwhelming, but a list I can handle. Or a spreadsheet. For some reason, I’m good with spreadsheets. Glad to hear I’m not the only one with a bunch of WIPs. Good luck, Caren!

  3. It’s hard for me to work on multiple projects. I’ll want to skip around, write what’s more interesting to me. But sometimes, I’ll forget what I worked on before and brush it by the wayside. I have so many WIPs that are unfinished that I decided to start fresh, take on one project at a time.

    • Yeah, I feel a little scattered at times, and I frequently have to reread stories that are half-finished to get back into the plot and characters. I do try to focus on one story at a time, but I have so many in different stages that I tend to jump around anyway. I think ultimately one project at a time is a good way to go. Good luck!

      • Thank you. I think what gets me off tangent is reading other writers’ works. And I get inspired to write something different. Example, I read this short story someone posted on her blog. I liked the story a lot and I complemented her on it. I thought about something similar. So, as I’m working on this one story, I’m thinking about how to set up this new story.

        You get how maddening it is, I’m sure.

      • I go through the same thing. I just read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and my first thought was, “Hey, I could write a play.” We read new books and get inspired, and that’s a good thing. For me, I just have to take it one project at a time. Good luck!

  4. I do try to focus on ONE at a time, but those other WIP’s keep talking . . . so maybe I too need that list, nice and visible. Though my cork board has my current quilt-in-progress (no pattern at all, just lovely bears in batiks and vibrant colors). What a neat idea to keep that list on a cork board. And I love your idea of doing a read through on the nicely portable Kindle. OK you said you didn’t have much to report BUT you inspired me!

    • Read-throughs on my Kindle really help. I highly recommend it! I like the cork board idea, too. I tried a whiteboard for a while but abandoned it. Basically any kind of visual seems to work well.

  5. The “almighty list.” I would say you certainly need one Denise with all those projects you have going. I couldn’t keep that many balls up in the air. But you seem to thrive on it. I am in awe, truly. And you’re making progress. You can’t stay stuck when you always have something to work on. Thanks for sharing your process. 🙂

    • Yeah, maybe it’s too many projects. I am trying to focus and get a few finished and out into the world so they’re off my plate. And I want to hunker down and write a few in one series so that I can spend some time in one story world. But it’s true that with so many ideas I can never stay stuck for long. There’s always something to work on. Thanks, Karen!

    • Lists help keep me sane. I have so many projects that I’ve started and that I want to work on, so I need some way to organize them. Like you I have a lot of story beginnings just begging to be finished!

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