“Being stuck on one [project] is an opportunity to work on something else.”
Recently, this Ted Talk gave a name to something I’ve been thinking about for months: slow motion multi-tasking.
It’s the reason why my upload speed on my major projects has slowed. It’s the reason why I trashed or logged out of my social media accounts. It’s why I can’t respond to comments for days, weeks, months.
I am working on three major bodies of written work: each fiction, each varying styles, and each developing at different rates.
To be a better writer, we are told to write in any way, shape, or form but also to read. Everything and anything. Consume the written word and it will flow through us.
So when I am stuck, I work on expanding my library of knowledge by reading collections of short stories, my favorite novels, modern classics, Oscar Wilde …
The inspiration comes easier now as I spread my attention between these things, not at the same time, but giving each one my fullest attention in turn.
No Tumblr notifications, no AO3 hit counts to see, no Twitter twitting in the background. Just me and Scrivener, or my headphones and Kindle, and a hot cup of tea.
Yesterday I wrote 3000 words for Charm City. Today, I opened my Unhitched file for the first time in months and edited it. Last week I finished two books, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman. Next week, I will begin two more, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the new edition of American Gods when they are both released as audiobooks on Scribd.
When I cannot do any of that – listen to a droning narrator, or write for one of my many versions of the same men in hostile, bloody, or psychologically strained environments – I work on my new novel in the style of J.M. Barrie. It is light. It’s refreshing. It’s resetting to me and I listen to classical music while I do it.
This blog is my collection of cardboard boxes, keeping my inspiration organized and my tasks filed away.
So, thank you, Tim Harford, for helping me justify bouncing between pages and books without publishing my work in a timely manner. It’s opened my eyes to what I have already accomplished and how my process of creativity is not scattering my brain or being used as some sort of avoidance tactic, but rather allowing me to slow down and move past blocks while still maintaining creative productivity.