Switching from the Pressure Cooker to the Crock-Pot: A (much needed) break

Whew!

At this point last week, I had three looming deadlines ahead: a short story each for Binyan and for Binah BeTween, and my next batch of episodes for Glixman in a Fix, the serial currently running in Binah BeTween. I was feeling stressed out not just because these items needed to be in by this week, but by a whole string of deadlines, pretty much constant ones for months on end.

The Pressure Cooker

I had first drafts for both stories already written, and an outline to base the serial chapters on, but it was a lot of writing to complete in a single week. The previous few stand-alone pieces I did for the tween/teen magazines had not come as smoothly as usual, so I was feeling anxious. Trying to think of multiple fictional plots, spoken in the voices of multiple narrators, overlapping one another for months on end was wearing my creativity a little thin. The quality of my work had dropped, and it weighed on my mind.

In fact, I’d already told my editors that I wanted to put all standalone short fiction on hold until after I completed the serial. Except that I made this decision with three outstanding stories on my calendar that would have to be completed before I could actually go on hiatus.

Despite some serious buckling down, I still didn’t think I could get everything done on-time at this point last week. But I did. It feels like a miracle. I can only think that G-d sent me a helping hand. Relieved, I pulled out my calendar today, after hitting “send” on the email containing the three episodes of Glixman (the two standalone stories went out last Friday). Not one deadline remains on my calendar, with the exception of my serial.

The Crock-Pot

It doesn’t mean I won’t be writing. Hopefully, the clear calendar will allow me to finish the serial at an accelerated pace, I’ve got a few unsolicited stories I’d like to complete at my own speed, and I’ve got a novel I’ve been wanting to rewrite for ages. I’m also hoping to finally score some non-fiction, non-essay gigs.

Moreover, I’m hoping that mixing up the types of things I’m writing (not all fiction, not all for the same audience) — without the pressure of deadlines — will stimulate improved output, both in quality and quantity.

Have you ever written multiple pieces of fiction at once? How did you keep the stories straight, find sources of inspiration, etc. Please leave a comment.

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