Can you write two books at once?

Can you write more than one book at a time? I asked myself this recently.

I have a bundle of outlines for books that I want to write, and not surprisingly when writing on my current book slows down, I start dreaming about the neat ideas I have for my next one. Oooh, I want to write that! Years ago, I learned the discipline of completing a project, whereas I had spent most of my youth stuffing filing cabinets with half-finished novels, always lusting over my next “awesome” idea. Heh. So awesome that I didn’t finish it, ay?

What if I didn’t abandon my current book, but worked on two at once? Can you do this? I tried, and found that I couldn’t. Like most writers, I get absorbed in my characters, but just couldn’t hold two sets of unique characters in my head, and feel like I could do them all justice. Even with totally different genres.

I know of authors that very successfully work on multiple books with incredible results. Obviously, their brain is wired differently. I’ve heard them say that it is helpful to flip to another book when ideas dry up on the first, or they need a change of pace, or that what they write depends on their mood each day.

Another of my concerns was would I end up slowing both books down. If I could write a book a year (I can’t… yet) and if I wrote two simultaneously, would I have them both done after two years or longer? Does time-to-market matter if I could have fun and be more creative?

Let’s say I had two books completed after two years. Is it an advantage to unleash two books on the world? Two books spaced a couple of months apart would maximize my marketing efforts. A kind of two-fer. But would two years between releases, rather one year, allow my audience to forget about me? Oh, the dilemma.

Less than a month from NaNoWriMo, I find myself wondering if I should start a new project while continuing on my current. Ironically, I asked the same question last year. The answer was No. NaNoWriMo sounds like a ton of fun, but I believe that my inner voice knows best.

Like many things in life: know thy self. No matter what others do, or I would wish to do, I can only do justice to one book at a time. So be it.

What about you? Can you multitask more than one book? How do you do that? Do you write a bit to both books each day, or alternate, or…?


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