Friday, July 13, 2012

Doublefisting Your Writing - Good, Bad, or Just Plain Necessary?

So you're at a wedding reception, and you've waited in line for twenty minutes to get a drink (totally missing out on the platters of stuffed mushrooms and cocktail shrimp that swing through the rest of the room).  When you finally place you order, you decide to be strategic and order two drinks, thereby avoiding the hell of standing in line again.  Smart, huh?  But then all your friends make fun of you for 'doublefisting' it as you are stuck carrying two wineglasses (and thereby still can't snag a stuffed mushroom).

Well, I think the term is apropos in the writing world as well.  Right now I am dutifully writing the next contracted book in my trilogy.  But.....(drum roll, please) I am also writing a category novel.  This is a challenge and a stretch to my time, my creativity, and my exasperation levels as I keep flipping between a book set in the dead of a Chicago winter, and a beach fling book highlighting sun, sand, sex and suspense.

Why would anyone do that to themselves?  Because the pace of the publishing world has changed.  Significantly.  The days of putting out one book a year - at least in the romance genre - are gone.  Some brave authors even do back to back releases, with three books coming out in three consecutive months.  I can't begin to imagine how hard core their writing schedules must be.

Churning out a full length trilogy is a big undertaking.  So much backstory, interwoven plots and massive character arcs to pull together.  So for my simultaneous writing project, I chose to go with something shorter - as in half the length.  This winter I managed to churn out a 28,000 word novella while concurrently writing book two in my trilogy.  At least I've overcome the hump of not even thinking it is possible to write more than one book at a time.  Right now I'm on Chapter Five of both books.  In other words, I've just crossed the 23,000 and 12,000 word mark.  So good, so far!

Readers clamor for back list.  I'm a reader too, so I completely understand their desire.  Selling more books brings a bigger following and (hopefully) a much bigger paycheck.  So I think the only downside to doublefisting your writing is the strain on your sanity.  How many of you do it?  Want to but are scared to try?  Or perhaps even write three at a time?


  1. I double fist non-fiction with fiction. I get to run away from one into the other when I get stuck in either world. :)Actually, it keeps me saner. Sort of.


  2. I do it. I don't like it, but I do it ;)

  3. I love writing more than one story at once. Keeps both stories fresh. When one starts to lag, I hop to the other. Keep up the great work!

  4. Here I thought I was near the cutting edge by being able to spit out a novel a I've been one upped by someone who writes two at once. I tip my hat to you!

  5. Over here from @AmyDenim's tweet.

    I write at a glacial pace, but I keep thinking that once I get the first novel done, it will break open some sort of dam and I'll be able to write faster after that. Probably not true, but I can hope.

    I do double(or more)fist, which is partially why nothing's getting finished, BUT it's my way of making my short attention span work for me.

  6. I read an article not too long ago about the very big name authors putting out more than one book a year - and that was something new for them. Writing two at once I think will be more the norm in the next 10 years or so as writers are pushed to be more prolific by themselves and by publishers.

    I like the term doublefisting too :)