Monday, November 21, 2011

The Challenge: Multi-Task

The process of re-learning writing is teaching me I have a lot more to work out than just softening my grammar and forgetting about word counts. Apparently the faux-multi-tasking habits I’ve been working with for years may not be cut out for the amount of material and type of work I’m hoping to get through.

I’m not a great multi-tasker, though I know enough tricks to fool people. Really, I’m good at focusing in on one thing and getting it done quickly and efficiently, then moving on to the next. I can get a lot of things done in a short time, hence the illusion of multi-tasking. If I have to focus on multiple things my brain tends to go a bit haywire.

Right now I’m reading two books at once - something I have never done outside of school. One is about style (Strunk and White’s Elements of Style) and the other about using close reading (Reading Like a Writer: A guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them by Francine Prose). I’m managing to keep those two juggled, along with the blog writing and kids, yet I’m having difficulty figuring out how to add more to the mix. And I do have more.

I have one more paper book and seven ebooks on various writing subjects also in the queue. I’ve also picked out a book I wouldn’t normally read due to lack of interest that I would love to get started on (partly so I can be done with it and partly because I might actually enjoy it). I have a shelf of other books I do plan on enjoying. I really want to work on reorganizing my story so I can get down to the business of writing it.

I want to do them all right now but I’m afraid of getting everything tangled up. Of course, I’m not about to start eight more books about writing while reading these other two. Still, I should be able to do more than just one from each of the categories. At least, I think I should.

I refuse to be stuck just because I have a lot of different things in front of me. I have to figure out how to get my brain around taking on one thing at a time without short circuiting when I have three (or more) going at once. I also need to figure out how to manage my time with each of them so I can get to the others without totally invading my time with my husband and son.

I knew this process would be a learning one. I just didn’t realize by how much it would take me beyond the writing aspect of things. This may take me a while to figure out, particularly since the Holiday season starts this week. As I do find ways to make it all work, and assuming I realize what I’m doing, I’ll try to document here. I’m open to suggestions, so please comment at will. Other than a bit of brain re-wiring, I can’t really say I know where to start.

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