When my whole life has revolved around one, ONE project for more than a month or two, I go into a type of cruise control. I zone out and just go through the same motions every day. What had once been a beneficial and productive process has become a crutch and nothing gets done anymore.
I would absolutely kill to write something else, but that little voice in my head reminds me, “You have to focus or it will never be perfect!” As a writer, I have always heard that if you stop at any point on the journey to publication that you can hang it up. Chances are you’ll never get back to working on your project because you’ll be too busy working on something else. They always start their claims with analogies about relationships and marriages…
Well, my question is: At what point does this type of discipline become unhealthy for the project and for you?
Discipline is important – no doubt, whatsoever and you want to always write and edit. Every day there should be a time where you dedicate every second to writing or editing, whether it is the entire day or 15 minutes. But why should I have to limit myself to just ONE project? Yes, it’s far from perfect, but the story is finished. It just needs editing. But with all of the monotony of editing and editing and editing, now I can’t even edit as properly as I should.
So, I have developed a completely separate project which is much less labor intensive and can be quick and painless, while also leaving me time to edit my main project. I have found that having a much more minor project alongside a large one is very beneficial to keeping your brain constantly thinking and able to handle the monotony without going into autopilot. Every day, I write at least 1/3 of a short story after editing 1/3 of my large project. I find the work-reward system works very well with my work ethic. I get to relax and still be productive which helps me to prepare for the next round of edits.
Like I said before, it’s great to have focus, dedication, and loyalty to one project, and if you can do it without burning yourself out, then all the power to you and I envy your drive.
For those of us who need a little refresher, but also need to at least do something writing-related then I’d suggest you try out my method or develop your own. Maybe switch around and write the short story first before going back to the project. Write a poem instead. You don’t have to stay completely married to one project. Unlike what most people believe, the relationship between an author and their work is not a marriage. It’s a parent and a child. You will always be dedicated to your first, even if you have another. Doesn’t mean you love it less and you’re not “cheating” like you would if it were your spouse.
At the same time, just because something is new doesn’t mean you should just abandon your first. The oldest ones need just as much attention as the newest creations.
I hope I helped to support someone and let them know they’re not alone. How do you break the monotony? Do you prefer to think of the work as a marriage or a parent-child relationship? Do you ever feel like you need to break out and start something fresh? Comment and let me know!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you’d like to see what project I’m talking about, then you can check out my “Current Projects” page at the top of the screen! Feel free to comment here or there! What projects are you working on?