I’m definitely a multitasker.
I have no problem reading more than one book at a time and keeping track of the characters and plots in each book. It’s entertaining to compare and contrast how the two different books by two different authors. It’s especially fun when both books are from the same genre.
Being a mom to three sons and a wife most likely has a lot to do with me having to accomplish multiple activities at once. My oldest son is an honor’s student and participates in track, volleyball, violin lessons. My toddlers are busy with weekend sports, building Mega Block Worlds with mommy and getting into all kinds of adorable adventures as I wear them out during the day. 🙂 Because when they’re sleeping, I’ve got lots more to do!
Even as a sixth grade reading teacher, I often use the phrase, “Let’s kill two birds with one stone” when teaching my students how to prepare their essays, even before they have finished reading the anchor text. Basically, the process goes like this. During the initial read, students use special text marking (such as check marking, underlining, and writing comments in the margins) to keep track of important ideas and facts. They’ve done this several times throughout the year and then they realized that a lot of the sentences, paragraphs, or sections they’ve underlined, starred, wrote comments about can be used towards the evidence that will appear in their essay or paragraph. Students who don’t mark the text, during the initial reading, are left at a disadvantage because they didn’t use their time wisely. So, yes killing two birds with one stone works! Why?
Because it’s working smarter — not harder!
Lately, I’ve adopted the same practice with my writing.
I know what some of you may be thinking.
Skeptical Reader: “Is she crazy? Multitasking doesn’t work when it comes to writing! Heck, she shouldn’t even be doing that when she’s reading. It’s a possible way to get the characters and the plot mixed up! Poor, deluded soul.”
Moi: Crazy? Uh, maybe. But at least I’m not straitjacket insane. 🙂
Skeptical Reader: “She’s doing it all wrong! She should focus on one story at a time. Polish it until it figuratively blinds the readers with its brilliance! Not literally, because that would definitely suck lemons! And then, only then should she move onto another story.”
Moi: Perhaps. But that hasn’t worked for me. I need to break free, breathe fresh air, cook dinner, fold laundry, do some Zumba before getting back into the literary groove.
So, here are 3 easy ways that you too can multitask as a writer and get more words on the page!
- Edit and Revise – If you struggle with what to write next, reread what you’ve already written. Look for weak words, potential plot problems, and inconsistencies with your characters in order to make that story shine like the fabulous diamond it is! If the words are flowing like there’s no tomorrow, keep at it!
- Start a New Story – Say you’ve finished a draft of a novel or short story. It’s good practice to let it sit for a few days before delving into it again. Separating from the text for a period of time, gives your mind time to prepare for the arduous task of self-editing. And while you step away from the story for a week or so (in order to return with fresh eyes to it for the editing process) you can begin another story. Perhaps, even a shorter one in order to keep your writer’s eye and mind sharp. After all, the creating process is always more fun. The possibilities seem endless and the characters are like precious, new friends you simply have to know everything about!
- Write a blog post or create a YouTube post – In between editing and revising a completed work, you can take the time to step outside of your characters’ minds and just be you. Sharing advice or sharing something new that you tried is a fabulous way to keep the creative juices flowing. Even though I don’t consider myself a poet (often, they’re such a noble breed) I occasionally write a poem or two. It’s a different kind of writing and helps me to get out of a writing jam. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that there’s a fourth step:
- REPEAT the process!
Are you also a multitasker and if so, what works for you? If not, how do you fit it all in? Please share! I love learning new things.