I honestly prefer to have various projects all going at the same time. It is a bit like having many pots bubbling on a stove at once. It sparks me on a creative level. I enjoy juggling writing projects.
Most ghostwriters don’t agree. They just don’t enjoy this style of operation. It is important that you as a writer find the client load that works for you. Some writers like to work steadily on one project until it is done, before picking up the next project. That’s totally fine! There is no “right” answer here.
Personally, I can’t stand downtime. Waiting has never been a strong suit of mine. Most projects have periods where you are waiting for something from the client (feedback, raw data, etc.). It can take weeks or months if the client is busy. When that happens, it’s wonderful to have another project to work on in the meantime.
So, how do I handle juggling writing projects?
I keep extensive notes on all my projects, so that I can easily refer back to them. Actually, I recommend being organized no matter how many projects you have.
On my computer, I have a folder for each project. Then I have multiple sub-folders to keep everything straight. It’s very detailed. One must select a filing system early on and compartmentalize everything. As an example, I often have a folder for each of these categories for every project:
- Admin: contracts, agreements, etc.
- Interviews: raw recordings
- Chapters: my ongoing work on a book
- Completed drafts: I keep all versions of the book for future reference
- Research information: websites, client information, emails with data pertaining to the project
- Client’s draft: the client’s notes (sometimes they have done a rough draft on their own before hiring me)
- Pictures: photos or logos that might be used for marketing or publishing
The point is that I can grab anything I want for a project easily and quickly! This is vital when working on several projects at the same time.
I keep things balanced
I am selective about the clients and books that I take on, so I am passionate about each and every one of them. There are none that I dislike, so I never have to “force” myself to write. That’s one of the great advantages of working for myself!
I divide up my time and work on each project for a given time period (which might span two or three days). I don’t write by the clock, but more judge when I’m finished by the work I have completed. Of course, that will vary depending on the stage I am on with a project. For one I might only be happy with 3000 words, while another I’d stop at 500 words, because of all the research involved. I know when I’ve accomplished what I want for that time period and can move on to the next project.
Sometimes, I get very engrossed in one project and in that case, I’ll allow myself to continue until I get to a natural stopping point. It’s all very organic, actually.
I keep in constant communication with the client
It is vital to stay in constant communication with clients. I let them know what I’m doing and ask for feedback on a regular basis. At the beginning, there is a “fine-tuning” stage where I need to make sure that we are on the same page. This takes time. My job is to breathe life into my clients’ books and I want to make sure it is 100% what they want.
I have a policy of answering emails within 24 hours. Typically, I answer communications within a few hours. I want to stay on top of things and make sure I am there for my clients for the duration of the project and beyond.
It takes time to keep this sort of communication line going, but in the end it actually saves time. If you avoid talking to your client, it is very likely that they will not be happy with the final book. However if you stay on top of their emails and phone calls, you will have a very happy client who will hire you again and again and refer their friends to you!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you prefer to work juggling writing projects? If so, what techniques do you use? If not, please tell us why!
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