I like to have it as an official rule that I only work on one novel at a time, but it doesn’t seem to be working for me. I’m revising Don’t Tell Your Mother with some success, but … but … but … !

So, of course, when I’m trying to focus on one, ideas start pouring out of my head. What’s the deal? Why can’t they just wait until I get to that lull where the current project made it through the big rewrite and needs less attention?

It seems to happen each time I get to about this point. I don’t want to abandon the current project and leave it in a randomly drafted state. It’s less random than most of my rough drafts, but it still leaves a lot that needs to be fixed, tweaked, whatever you want to call it.

Instead of completing denying the other one, I’ve begun plotting it. I am trying to hold it off so I can focus on it. I’m not one of those people who gets enough writing time to write until I’m blocked, which means I don’t need four works-in-progress at any given time.

Not that I don’t have those, but most of them are short stories that need revision, rather than novels that are begging me to write them.

I wish I knew a faster way to revise, but my rough drafts come out fast because of my focus. I think rewriting takes more of my thoughts to get the manuscript where I want it, and that makes it slow.

Any other thoughts on that? Do you work on one major project at a time, or dabble in several at once? At what point is it okay to start on that new project? How do you know you’re done with the last one?

Are you ever done with the last one?