this would probably be a bad idea

June 4, 2012

I spent last week at a writing workshop in New Mexico, reading, writing, critiquing, eating, talking deep into the night, and drinking.  Oh, the drinking.  The thing about hanging out with other writers and basically living writing for a week, my brain gets absolutely supercharged with ideas.  It’s about a seven hour drive home, and I was thinking about stuff the whole time.  The novels I want to write, the stories I want to revise and how to do them, the screenplay I think I’m finally going to tackle.  The problem is, of course, I can’t work on them all at once.  So at about hour five of the drive, I started thinking about how I could work them all at once.  Like, you know, on Monday I work on the Cormac novel, on Tuesday I work on the subversive epic fantasy I want to write, on Wednesday I work on the sequel to After the Golden Age, on Thursday I work on the sequel to Voice of Dragons, and on Friday I work on the space opera.  Saturday’s for the screenplay, Sunday’s for short stories.  I’d have to do more than a thousand words a day.  Like, fifteen hundred or two thousand words a day, times fifty-two weeks, would give me roughly 80,000 to 104,000 words on each project by the end of the year.  So, theoretically, I could write five novels, a screenplay, and a dozen short stories every year.  Then I might possibly get to every idea I want to write, eventually.

However, I think that ultimately this would probably be a very bad plan to actually try to do.

(On the other hand, as I understand it, this is roughly the schedule that Daniel Abraham, who’s working on an epic fantasy series, an urban fantasy series, half of a space opera series, the script for the Game of Thrones graphic novel, and various side projects, follows.  However, he’s also a demi-god of productivity.)

18 Responses to “this would probably be a bad idea”

  1. Leta Blake Says:

    I dream of being able to give up my day job to be a full-time writer. Sometimes I think my life is an endless loop of so-many-stories-so-little-time. Good luck to you! I hope you succeed in your word count goals for the year!

  2. Doruk Says:

    Combine them into one epic space fantasy screenplay starring Cormac, taking place after After the Golden Age, with dragons. I am not sure how to work the short stories in, maybe an episodic format?😛

  3. Jim Van Pelt Says:

    That sounds amazingly and undoably fractured, but it’s no different from what we ask high school students who take six to eight different classes a day to do. So maybe you could pull it off. Good luck.

  4. WanabePBWriter Says:

    Does learning to say no apply to yourself as well as editors? Here’s a thought, lock yourself in a tower pound out four Kitty novels and free up your schedule for the next four years. Hope you get your horse ride in.

    I wanta ride, I wanta ride, I wanta ride.

  5. carriev Says:

    Learning to say no to yourself absolutely applies. This is part of the problem, that I actually *want* to do it all, and it just isn’t physically or mentally possible.

  6. Beth Says:

    I have had that very same fever dream. It is indeed usually the aftermath of a very productive and very drunken conference/retreat/workshop/event. I feel for you.


  7. I’m sorry, I stopped paying attention after you mentioned a subversive epic fantasy. My drooling was distracting. #FanTMI

  8. Joe Says:

    try it…

  9. @SlaterTheHater Says:

    I hate to say it, since it goes against your artistic blah, blah, blah, but I think you need to prioritize based on the money. What is going to get you paid? Once you have plenty of money and don’t need to write the productive stuff, then you can start on the fun stuff (I know, to you it’s all fun).

  10. Mackenzie Says:

    yay a sequel to “voices of dragons”

  11. Claire Says:

    I find it challenging enough to work on projects that are at different stages (proposal stage, draft stages, play-test, post play-test revisions and final edits) having everything at the same stage is scary. Though I guess if they were in different settings that might help to keep them straight.

    Good Luck!

  12. James Says:

    I did three books simultaneously two years ago. Editing one and writing two as well as working full time. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. My partner was most unhappy…😛

  13. Mom Says:

    Trust yourself! You are capable of doing much.

  14. carriev Says:

    I’m encouraged that people at least think these are good ideas…

    The real problem with trying to maintain a schedule like this is it allows no time for editing, copyediting, outlining, brainstorming, etc. All of which are very necessary.

  15. David Bowles Says:

    Good point. How many Hollywood movies are ruined by bad editing? I can only imagine what it’s like with novels.

  16. bberie Says:

    Well, If you need help prioritizing, I vote for writing a Cormac book at the top of the list.

  17. Carrie V. Says:

    Well, the Golden Age sequel will come first because I’ve already got 20,000 words written, but the Cormac novel will probably be next.


  18. […] brain is full all the time.  It’s both a good thing and a bad thing.  Remember all that stuff I talked about wanting to write?  It’s all in my head pretty much all the time.  The ideas […]


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