Writers: Do you have multiple projects on your plate at one time? You should!

I’m one of those people with a messy desk.

I clean it a couple times a year to make it clean and pristine, but within a matter of days, it’s back to messy. It’s just the way my brain works. (For reference, I was just cleaning out my in-box and it had over 900 emails.)

Maybe you are one of those other kind of people who need everything organized and neat, and that’s fine. But if you’re a writer, I suggest having a metaphorical writing table that is plastered with various projects and ideas. Why? For me, at least, it creates a way for the synergy of creativity to rejuvenate itself through cross writing-pollination. (Don’t worry, I don’t understand that sentence either.)

Here’s an example for what works for me. I currently have a 75% finished novel that I have been working on over the last 6 months or so. Last month I started a play which I intend to produce sometime in 2016. I have to write 10 different dramatic sketches, and I’ve been brainstorming ideas, jotting down all kinds of things which may be helpful.

Lately, my focus has been on my new play. It’s moving along quite well. I’m about 5000+ words into it and I have a general idea of where its headed. But soon I’ll be putting it aside to get back to my novel, and here’s why that’s a great thing to do: pausing on a project allows your mind to subconsciously work on its content and characters. Now I have absolutely no scientific data to back this up, but I believe the mind doesn’t stop working on your ideas even if you do.

Here’s what happens: something completely unrelated will jog your memory, creating a new cognitive hook that wasn’t there before, a new relationship between words, ideas, or characters that wouldn’t have been obvious if you weren’t working on something different.

This is why I always take a break from everything that I’m writing. Even if I think a piece is finished, I let it sit while I start on something else. Invariably when I return to the first piece, my ideas change, and it’s almost always for the better.

Allow your ideas to feed into each other. You’ll be amazed at how much that will help.

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