Monday, July 22, 2019

5 Tips for Writing Jugglers

by Any Mulligan @AneMulligan

I can’t juggle. Oranges, lemons, it doesn’t matter. They all fall to the floor. I tried grapes, erroneously thinking since they are smaller, I could catch them easier. Wrong. Believe me, I’ve practiced, until the dog started chasing after the grapes. Those are bad for dogs, so I gave up my bid for a career in the circus to focus on something I can juggle.

Writing projects.

I discovered working one either one feeds my muse for the other. And all three are works of fiction—one is a script, one a novella project and the third, a full-length novel.

My “normal” is one writing project at a time. That doesn’t include blog articles. I can write blog posts or magazine articles in the midst of fiction. But when I first added a second fiction project to my already full schedule, I wondered if I could keep the characters straight and in their own world. 

Besides the writing, there is research, editing, plotting. And I had to keep them separated for each. But I did it! Even when I tossed a third project to the juggling act. 

Here are a few tips on how to keep them straight.
  • Keep simultaneous projects different if possible. I’m writing a script for an old-fashioned medicine show. It’s silly, funny, filled with alliteration and giggles. The novella is pure contemporary romance, and the novel is women’s fiction set in 1929-30. That gives me plenty of difference to keep them out of each other’s worlds.
  • Have character photos and a bullet list of personality traits handy. Using an actor’s resume as a pattern, I printed out a character’s photo with their main personality profile items on the back: past wound, the lie they believe, their GMCs and a few other defining facts about them. 
  • Assemble your cast before beginning that project. While I write in Scrivener and keep everything there, I have a physical story board for each project. I use small bulletin boards, and switch them for each project. Having their faces before me grounds me in their story.
  • Have some time of activity between projects. Fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, take a walk. Anything to close the door on the previous work before starting a new one. That allows your mind turn off one project and prepare to switch between the stories.
  • Set your hours so you have specific amounts of time to work on each project.

And always give yourself grace to change your schedule when life interrupts. That simple phrase, give yourself grace, I learned from my good friend Edie Melson. It changed my life. 


Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. Years later, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her websiteAmazon Author pageFacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestand The Write Conversation.  

1 comment:

  1. I love your statement, "And always give yourself grace to change your schedule when life interrupts." Sometimes, interruptions can be good and help with fueling creativity. :-)