I was chatting with some peeps on Twitter about personal projects, and they asked me, “What’s your personal project?”
And I said, “I don’t have just one. I have several in various stages of completion.”
When I thought about it, it made sense to me, but it may make some people go, “Jeez, why do you work so hard on so much stuff ON TOP OF a day job?”
Here’s the thing about my brain – I used to be able to focus on things for a long, long, long, long time. If I got into a good drawing groove, I could draw for five hours straight, without breaks.
Of course, this isn’t healthy for me physically – sitting for more than an hour can lead to long-term health risks I’m not a fan of, plus all of my muscles will scream at me to move around and stretch, including my drawing wrist (I broke it back in 2013, so I have to take good care of it now or else it’ll get sore very quickly).
It’s also not really healthy for me mentally – by focusing for more than an hour, my brain gets super tired and demands I exercise a different part of it. I can’t draw for five hours straight anymore because by the one hour mark my brain is like “Set your pencil down. It’s time to color.”
I work best on multiple projects because these projects give my brain lots of variety in exercises, so to speak. I can pencil Validation strips until my brain goes, “Ok, time to color Seeing Him.” Then I work on that until my brain goes, “Ok, time to edit the script of Thoughtful Dinosaur.”
Even in writing, I do best with different scripts in various stages of being done.
My roots are in improv (I did improv comedy for two years). I can improvise and create a story fairly well, but after a while my brain just says, “I can’t improvise anymore! Let me do something else. That way I can improv better tomorrow. Or next week.”
So maybe one day I’ll creatively free-write to develop a script. Then the next day I’ll do the first rounds of edits on another script.
Lately, my writing schedule has been looking like, “Ok, edit the first draft of Thoughtful Dinosaur. Good. Now write the final draft of The Legend of Jamie Roberts. Good. Now edit Charlie & Clow: The Case of the Wendigo. Good. Now free-write Traveler’s Road.”
(If you don’t know what half of those titles are, check out a previous SuperMegaUltraMaxi Update that goes into more detail.)
I like this work process, though – if I get tired of one story, I can move to a separate one and work on that. I think it’s super helpful to take a break from a story to work on something else. It prevents me from getting stuck, and sometimes working on one project can illuminate the answer for another one.
It was only in working on the plots of Thoughtful Dinosaur and The Uthers that I had a major breakthrough in writing The Legend of Jamie Roberts.
So what kinds of projects are you working on? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Thank you for reading.
You. Are. Awesome.