How Many Books Should I Write At Once?

I’m sure that in the old days it was possible to focus all of your efforts on just one book. Charles Dickens, a man that has penned some of my favourite books, would have been able to spend a couple of years on solely crafting a masterpiece like David Copperfield. However, in the old days they used to believe that the world was flat, and that witches would float, so it’s not too surprising that times have changed, right?

I have followed for a couple of years, and I regard Joanna Penn as one of my main influences in the process I follow when writing. She is a couple of years ahead of me, with two novels already out there, and I admire the commitment she has made to share every step of the journey with her readers.

Joanna has posted an article today about the challenge that she has found in writing more than one book at a time. At first I wondered why she had to do this at all but I then realised that this was a necessary evil of this modern age.

Good Business

If writers are now meant to be part creative and part entrepreneur, then surely concentrating on your product pipeline is good business. In order to grow your sales you need more products, and as a writer the only way you can do this is to write more books. In fact you actually need to write as many books as you can, as soon as possible.

If you aim to achieve this, then you have to be writing various books simultaneously so that you can switch between them when one of them is experiencing a period of dead time. A book may be getting edited, or you need a break between the first draft and the second draft, or you have simply run out of ideas temporarily; all of these periods are examples of dead time.

But you have your own company. Do factories stop working when a raw material runs out? No, they begin working on another product that doesn’t use that raw material. As a writer you have to think like this. You need something else to make progress on, so that there is a constant stream of books getting published.

Joanna was asking her readers for ideas on how to better manage the writing of multiple books at once, and although there were some great suggestions, in reality she will find her own way to navigate through it. It is not going to be easy to have to split your creativity in to many ways but you have to do it and because of this you will find a way. It’s not perfect but we’re not all in the same position as Charles Dickens.

Have any of you found this to be a problem, and if so, what have you done about it?


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