A Serious Case of Writer’s Flow

We have all heard of writer’s block. He is that little demon that swoops in and flirts with your muse for a bit. While he is keeping her distracted you grow increasingly worried that she will turn her back on your long established friendship for good. That worry eventually is unfounded because writer’s block decides to leave your muse for someone else’s. Then you can welcome the muse back into your life with open arms and pick up where you left off.

At the moment I have the opposite issue. I am experiencing writer’s flow. You might ask, what is the problem with that?

The problem is, it is making me unproductive, or at least in my mind, I think it is. I was writing a YA novel got about 35,000 words into it. Then got a fabulous idea for another YA novel which I have been writing as part of my summer YA novel writing challenge. I have completed the first three chapters of that novel. During all this I have been editing/reworking my completed YA novel. Then at about 3 am Saturday morning my muse woke me with a brilliant idea for a MG series. I have completed the first chapter of the first book in that series.

This week I was looking at the word count on my current work in progress and was feeling as though I was truly behind on my goals. That I realised it is because I am dabbling in four novels all at once. When I add this week’s word counts, from each of those novels, together, I have actually reached and exceeded my set weekly word count goals. I am not sure this makes me feel any better though.

I suppose I have two choices:

1) Focus on my summer writing challenge novel and put the others on the back burner for now to meet the word count goals I have set for that novel and hopefully finish it by September as planned.


2) Lighten up a bit and accept that as long as I am meeting my word count goals it does not matter which project I am working on, they all will eventually get finished, just maybe not in the time frame I have set out.

How many manuscripts are you working on at the moment? How do you balance your time between them?


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a primary and middle school teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three and a wannabe author.
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14 Responses to A Serious Case of Writer’s Flow

  1. Oh, I’m a total nutter. I have 3 on the go, one in French. Too many ideas bursting out. No idea what this writer’s block is about, LOL.
    I do try and concentrate on one project but what do you do when inspiration strikes, I go with the flow. That’s one thing I can be organised with. All my neat and not so neat little files. I bounce from one to the other.
    Last December I wrote the entire draft for my next novel in a week. When it flows, it flows!
    Just frustrating when you can’t get on with it. About to launch one novel, which means less writing time. Aargh!
    I wouldn’t focus too much on word count, go with the flow.
    Best wishes, Elle

    • Thanks Elle! I used to just go with the flow. Then I found myself a bit too laid back with the novels and trying my hand at loads of short but fun flash pieces. I decided to set a word count goal as a way to get me back on track. In the end I will probably just pop from one to the other every few days.

      Good luck with the novel launch. That sounds very exciting!

  2. I only work on one at a time…cause that’s all I can handle. Each story completely takes over my thoughts. (And my job is 40+ hours a week.) But if you’re in the flow and you can do more…then go with it. Good for you, Billie Jo!

    • I am mostly into the one I have decided to complete this summer but I think the others will provide a good creative distraction. As long as I don’t mix up characters or settings it should be okay. I have just never worked on so many at once before. Thanks for the support!

  3. Gene Lempp says:

    Quite the conundrum Billie Jo.

    I’ve had the same issue (not necessarily four novels at once but a sudden burst of great ideas). First off, I only fully work on one WIP at a time. I keep a file called the Brewing Pot for all incoming ideas. Whenever a new interesting or intriguing thought comes to mind I type out everything that is in my head for it and drop it in the Brewing Pot. Then I immediately go back to the WIP. Over time more bursts come for other story line, new and ones that are brewing. I add each new insight into the existing file. By doing this, when I am free to engage on a “new project”, I am already ahead of the game because I can draw one from my Brewing Pot, adapt it and start fleshing it out.

    Just as a disclaimer: I am a plotter type, but I would wager that this would work for a pantser as well. Just write fast and get everything out of your head, then put it aside until another burst comes to you.

    Hope this helps and that you find your solution 🙂

    • I do have a collection of ideas in notebooks, on little scraps of paper and now that I am getting a little more organised in outline form on the computer. For me sometimes ideas come. I let the idea flow and it is fine but other times the idea nags me. Those nagging ones are usually the ones I have to write straight away or they continue to nag me in odd places like meetings at work, in the shower or at 3 am. In my case, usually I only have one nagging idea at a time but at the moment I seem to have three. Thanks for sharing your brewing pot idea.

  4. Selena says:

    Gene’s idea sounds good to me. I work on one at a time, as well, and keep rough notes when ideas pop up!

    And Writer’s Flow sounds like so much more fun than Writer’s Block!

  5. Kaitee says:

    I’m quite similar, I usually end up flitting between a few WIPs. I was really trying to concentrate on the one, but I find my enthusiasm usually wanes after a few pages and I want to go back to a different one.
    I sort of justify it as as long as I’m meeting my goals overall, it doesn’t matter because I’m still moving forward – even if it is really slowly!

    • In this case, I may need to adopt that line of thought. I usually only have one on the go at a time but these three are quite strong. They are also very different too. Editing my completed novel is something I am forcing myself to do because I know it needs it.

  6. amber says:

    I’m a big backer of writing whatever is flowing, since you never know when that inspiration might pull back. If one novel is hitting you harder than the other, work on that one. If the other one still wants attention, maybe outline, or map out a few scenes to keep it alive? I’m not sure.

    I have a vague idea for a another story that I’ve just decided to ignore until I get closer to November, and then I’ll pound the heck out of it for NaNoWriMo.

    • Thanks Amber! I suppose one is hitting me slightly harder than the others at the moment and i will admit that is the one that I am focusing the bulk of my time on. I suppose i may need to hop between them for a week or so and then maybe one will fade to the background a bit more.

  7. As long as they’re all flowing and none of them are distracting from the others, it’s all good! Right now, I’m only working on my MIP. I’ve worked on more than one thing with success but lately it’s just been too easy to get distracted from that MIP (darn it!). So, I’m just hanging out with the one. 😀

  8. Pingback: Musical Muse: tunes to get the words flowing « Romancing for Thrills

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