I met Frederick some time before the Rule of Three Blogfest, and we’ve become good blog-friends ever since. Today, he talks about Muti-tasking as writer, so I’m going to hand over the post to him. Take it away, Fred!
If you’re a Mom, you probably thought you had a lock on the multitasking crown. Don’t even think about it. Independent authors have to multitask in a major way, too. Don’t get me wrong. As a Dad, I know very well that Moms are world-class multitaskers.
Recently I caught my wife scouring the bathtub with one hand while negotiating with the health insurance guy on the phone in her other hand. In the kitchen she had a cake in the oven. Because she was on hold, she was also arguing with one of our kids who was refusing to do his homework. All at the same time. That’s some pretty good multitasking, I admit.
Multitasking Tip 1: Use both hands.
Still, as an independent author, I can beat that. Today I’m puzzling over problems with my Main Character. She’s left-handed, and that’s important, but I still have to help the reader see how it’s important. I have to develop this quirk all through the book. This task tops my list of WIP to-dos.
Also on the list: I want to increase the fireworks in one or two scenes. I need to add more tension between my Main Character and the Antagonist in some scenes. I have to make the betrayal more real in two scenes. And I have to fix a scene left over from an earlier draft which needs an overhaul because of other changes I made. Writers multitask in high gear when it comes to the writing process alone.
Multitasking Tip 2: Make a list and check things off as you go.
But what about all the left-brain stuff we do to get our books into the marketplace and noticed by potential readers?
I take a break from writing and send a question to the my designer. Then I answer a mail from the editor who’s helping me with my WIP. On my next break I write the first draft for my next blog, due in two days. While working on the concept, I find something I don’t like on my website and change it. I say hi to a few friends on Twitter. I check Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble to see if anyone has written a new review of Doing Max Vinyl.
Multitasking Tip 3: Don’t try to use left-brain and right-brain at the same time.
I ambush the kids for a hug as they arrive home from school (not easy with teenaged boys). I listen to their stories, then I’m pushing them to do homework. Tonight it’s my turn to cook. While I chop onions and peppers, I’m thinking about my Main Character again. My MC is trying to lose 45 pounds. Part of my research is to lose a little weight myself to know how it feels. So I’m resisting the urge to nibble even while cooking dinner, with my stomach growling. Does this count as multitasking?
Multitasking Tip 4: Give full attention to loved ones. Turn off multitasking.
Multitasking Tip 5: Use down time (chopping onions, jogging, etc.) as thinking/reflection/creative time
Let’s face it, I may be cooking today, but my wife cooks most of the time. She does all the cleaning, all the laundry, most of the shopping. While she’s doing one thing, she’s always got three other things on her mind, just as I can cook and work on my MC at the same time. Moms have the lion’s share of the housework. My contributions help out, but they pale beside the long list of stuff my wife does every day.
Multitasking Tip 6: Give credit where credit is due
Hard to imagine doing all the stuff she does and also writing a book. Yet lots of great writers are Moms. The best multitaskers in the world would have to be Moms who are writers. Author Moms. Don’t you agree?
What was your greatest multitasking feat recently?
Multitasking Mom image credit to Meredith Garrett
Frederick Lee Brooke has been a teacher, a language school manager and a school owner. He lives with his family in Switzerland and makes frequent trips to the U.S.A. and other countries. He loves cooking, walking, reading, and learning languages and speaks English, German, French and Italian and is learning Turkish. “Doing Max Vinyl” is the first in the series of Annie Ogden mysteries. It can be purchased on Amazon or on Smashwords. The sequel to “Doing Max Vinyl” is due in April 2012.
Oooh, I love number 4. As a perpetual multi-tasker, this is the hardest and most important for me.
Shelly, yes it’s kind of paradoxical, but something tells me tip 4 might be the most important one of all. Maybe it helps create inner peace which in turn energizes?? Thanks for sharing …
Yay for all the writer Moms (and Dads for that matter). I’m like most with two little ones under my feet, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! My kids give me inspiration every single day (even when I’m trying my hardest not to kill them) ;-).
I cannot imagine having to multitask while parenting multiple kids. My greatest multitasking feat today was typing up a long, handwritten letter that was about one dozen pages and reading the first few chapters of a non-fiction book and participating in a social networking conversation, while also bouncing back and forth on watching some YouTube videos. Did I get any writing done today? Nope, but the night is still young. I have two items to complete for a client before like 5am tomorrow and I will get them done, come hell or high water!
Nicole, sounds like you did a lot of writing in the last 24 hours even if it was not your personal project. Some days are like that …
What an awesome post on a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately! I have been seriously behind on my current WIP because it expanded way beyond what it was originally intended to be (a novella) into what it’s becoming (the first in a trilogy… um, yeah). I have two toddlers and while I’ve been writing this past hour, I have negotiated about four fights, shared some dinner, helped with potty issues (don’t ask), and let the dog out. Without my husband I’d be a total goner. Authors absolutely have to be multitaskers!
Adriana, hats off to you! You bring up an important point: depending on others and empowering them to help you rather than trying to do it all yourself. All the best!
Vanessa, what a wonderful compliment to her, to aspire be as great a Mom as your Mom is! And yet life probably has changed in ways that make it both easier and harder to multitask. But you’re right, healthy cooking is a big part of my own recipe for success. It brings the family together and gives us opportunities to explore and be creative, in addition to being healthy. In my new book, there is a lot of good cooking, too!
Thanks Fred for realizing how hard us ladies work. I am not a mom just yet, but planning to be one. I hope I can be as good as my own mama!! Have fun cooking healthy!
Graceful, you sound like just the person described in my guest post!
Not only am I a writer mum, I’m also in charge of all the paperwork for my husband’s business. At one time I can be doing pay for our workers, while also checking Facebook, Twitter, email and working on a scene for my current WIP. And on top of that be putting a princess dress on my daughter, telling my son not to forget his hat as he flies out the door and having a load of washing going in the washing machine. Plus growing another little being inside me. At least I’m on a break from teaching at the moment.
Third one is easy – men can’t use both sides of our brain at once!
Alex, you’re so right (speaking for myself, anyway).
I would tell you what my greatest mult-tasking feat was if only I knew. It always takes me aback when people applaud me for all the things I do. I guess my life is naturally crammed so chock-full that I don’t notice anymore.
OK, so I’m a full-time lawyer (who travels 2.5 hours a day) and a part-time writer. I am a wife and a mother. I have one completed MS which still needs some editing and a sequel about to start. I have three short stories in the process of editing. Last week I was doing 6 online writing workshops. This week it dropped to 3, next week I think it’s back up to 5. I participate in two crit groups with a third offering. I write two blogs (about three blog entries a week). I’m on Twitter, facebook and Google+, not to mention all the ancillary Triberr, Stumble Upon, Twylah, Tweriod, Twenty Feet and buffer app crap that goes with it. I have a website that I partially manage. I recently created a book trailer but haven’t yet loaded it to the website. I had to quit horse riding, but I’m considering taking it back up. Oh yeah, and I’m building a house.
Multi-tasking is my natural state!
Ciara, gosh, you’re definitely in contention! I’ll bet you don’t sleep eight hours … ?
Just wanna say well done for having a leftie main character (I assume she’s not going to turn out to be a bad guy).
Oh no, Carrie, she’s gonna be a star for sure. Heart of gold …
As an author mom I must say YES! I can only imagine adding indie author to that. I’m not ready to take that leap just yet because my brain might explode. I think in today’s world we are all so incredibly busy and multi-tasking has become something we all struggle with as a mom/dad/author/person of the world. It is important to do all the things you said, making a list being very important. If I’ve learned anything as a master multi-tasker, it’s to give yourself credit for every little thing that you were able to accomplish in a day. It feels good! Even if nobody else can see those things.
Thank you for your comment, Corinne! The more cherubs you have, the more you have to multitask then too. Happy Thanksgiving!
Why thank you! It’s from the heart!
Great post Frederick!